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nzvendor
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I'm wondering how you experienced bulk vendors go about stocking your machines?

If you check them only once a month...how are you going to know whether to order/buy more stock? Do you always have stock on hand? Or do you order in when needed?...

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I keep lots of stock on hand. I currently have 30 cases of toys in my basement, when I will only use 10 this month.

We have a service truck that I keep everything in. When I service an account, I carry in the 1" toy products fill them. I look at the 2" toys, see what I need, and bring the boxes in.

Kyle 

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     Candy wise:  I check my accounts once a month.  I have few machines, so I keep very little stock in my house.  One mistake I made is buying too much stock.  I was a little excited and was thinking I was going to have lines at my machines, lol.  You'll get a feel for how much stock to keep "on the ready" when you start servicing machines. 

     Unless you're in a very busy location, you'll probably only need to refill once a month.  Keep this in mind, there is nothing wrong with checking on accounts throughout the month.  When I placed my 1st 2 machines I checked them twice a month.

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I keep good records of my business.  I can tell you, based on historical data, how much money my fleet is taking in per day.  Since I run a 1-product operation, I don't have to deal with keeping stockpiles of various products. 

I know that on any given service route, I can expect to see about $xxx worth of collection.  That $xxx translates into knowing exactly how much product I need to buy per month.  For instance, if i know that my route for the day is going to take in $400, then I know I only need to carry 2 cases of gum.  Each case comes with 850 gumballs (for 850ct gum), so at $0.25 each, that's $212.50 or just over $200 per case.  So when I'm expecting $400 of business, then I know I will need 2 cases.  But I know to bring extra in case of spoilage or some other unforeseen circumstances.

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I use 8 select machines, so I tend to keep extra stock around...many times too much...As I have different locations(ie; hair salons..to bars...to auto repair...etc) ..different items tend to sell at different speeds.

I have started to keep a rudimentary list per location as I fill them to see what sells where...It takes a couple extra minutes per stop..but I can keep a better track and likely save money on wasted product...

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I use Vendtrak to help keep track of inventory. I had 32 different products, now down to 22. I order what I will use in a month, if I have extra product from one month to the next I change my order accordingly. It also helps that my bulk supplier only keeps enough stock for one month. There is a down fault of using box stores, most of the time you have no idea how old stock is when you buy it.

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I keep an eye on my route like dperry does. When I service my machines I recored a dollar ammount for each slot on my triples. You will learn to spot trends and how to guess the amount you will need over time. Lets say you have plain M&M's in one of your machines and you buy those bags at Sam's. You see from your route sheets the it has been trending about $15 a month. That is about 1/2 a bag a month. I would keep a full bag in the machine as a general rule for that account. So you would figure 3/4 bag to be safe and figure for your other stops the same way. If you only had 3 machines doing this then you will need to buy 2 or 3 bags of M&M's to service depending on the trend. I always have some stock but I try to limit that ammount.

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Another question.  For those of you that keep track of which candy sells the most and the locations how do you do the money at the machine.  Do you empty each candies change into something different or do you count it right there or what?  Money bags or plastic containers? 

I would like to keep each candy seperate at first for sure so I can learn what is selling best.

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When I setup a new account I know how many vends I get per bad of candy and keep track of it on my sheets. So if I have 150 vends and have been vending 40 a month I know I need more candy in three months in order not to run out. This helps me project when I need candy on all my locations and pervents me from getting to excited and spending a lot of my money on inventory that is not used.

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I am still learning how to do this with my 40 locations.  I use a storage facility with heat and air conditioning for my product and machines also.  I have put lots of input into VenTrak in terms of how much product I put back into the machines monthly.  I need to start using that info every month as a guide for me.  I basically run short of PMMs and M&Is at times the most.  I only use about 6 different candies and gum.
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naraol

I just keep my spare candy in those large plastic storage containers with the lid on and in the closet in a spare room. Now for the money at the machine there are many different ways that people do it. Most of mine are triple so I label the inside of the machine A B C for each slot. On my route sheets I have what candy is in each slot fore each machine, these I keep in a 3 ring binder notebook. I also keep the stop contact info business hours and date I placed the machine on the top of each sheet. Now I use 1 gallon zipper ziplock bags marked with the stop marked on it with a sharpie. Inside I have 3 zipper ziplock bags with A B C on each one. I open the back and dump each into the corosponding bag and put all 3 in the main machine bag. Those go into my backpack I take in with the candy/supplies to service the machines. When you get home you can then count and enter the ammount for each head on each machine sheet in the comport of your home. Then you go to the revenuse section of the board and fill out the monthly poll with your average results. Rinse and repete,YMMV.

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I have my route set up to service on my way to work. On service days, I collect the money only and record which product needs restocking on my route sheet. After work, I stop at Sam's and purchase the candy, which is also on my way home from work. The following day, I stop at the locations that need restocking on my way to work. There's no extra gas involved and I'm not zig zagging all over the city. Plus, I virtually have no inventory in my house and the customer gets fresh candy with each service.

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I would really try not to have to much candy in stock. It really doesn't last that long before it starts to lose it's flavor. If you are buying via the internet and have to buy large quantities it is going to be difficult. If you buy from Sam's or BJ's or Costco's it will be much easier to control your inventory and buy in small quantities. There are some items like gum balls that will last for a long time. Peanut M&M's do not last long. M&I & non-chocolate items last much longer. In the beginning it will be hard to judge what to buy but after a couple of months you will be able to tell what sells fast and doesn't. Only stock the items you know you will sell in a couple of weeks.

If you are selling toy capsules you can buy larger quantities to get better prices but even they will lose popularity after a period of time so be careful with them also.

Gary

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