They tell a rather unkind story about John Broderick Senior at Manchester Vending. Apparently, when the company was relocating to its smart Head Office near Manchester airport, the top logistical priority was to position the ‘The Old Man’ so that he could have a clear view of the aircraft. This, the story goes, was to give Mr. B. Senior ‘something to do…’
Put this to him and his wry smile betrays the possibility that there may be more than just a crumb of truth in the story. These days, though, John has more than enough to keep him busy.
He calls it ‘The Control Room’. On one wall, two giant HD screens, sixty inches apiece dominate. With so much information at his fingertips, there’s no time left to gaze at the aeroplanes. Manchester Vending uses Vendman technology to control every element of its business. He’s not alone: three others, Kelly, Donna and Danny monitor every facet of the operation, picking up trends, anomalies; route management data and all manner of other statistical information that allows the business to run as ‘lean and mean’ as it can, constantly improving the high levels of service that Manchester Vending’s customers have come to expect.
Manchester Vending, with its award winning ‘Broderick’s’ coffee shop brand that has proved such a hit at the airport’s Terminal 2, has a unique relationship with Vendman, inasmuch as John Broderick’s company was the first to place an order with Vendman, then a fledgling business with big ideas, but no track record.
Since Day One, the two Greater Manchester companies have worked very closely together. Indeed, many of the developments introduced by Vendman over the years have emerged as the direct result of John Broderick’s professional input. Daniel Hamby, Vendman’s Sales Director, is keen to acknowledge the contribution of his longest standing customer. ‘John grasped the concept immediately and he recognised the potential. For instance, in the very early days he told us ‘the system is great but it’d be even better if it also covered cash handling’, so that’s the way we went. Our relationship with Manchester Vending has enabled us to get a ‘view from the coal face’ that has enabled us to make continual improvements to our systems and software’, he said.
Asked to rank the benefits incumbent in Vendman vending controls, John’s reply is something of a surprise. ‘It’s like the Old Days again’, he says enigmatically, before explaining: ‘this company was built on customer service. By that I mean that the MD, me in those days, would be in contact with customers on a day-to-day basis. The thing is, as the company got bigger, especially when we passed the £2m turnover mark, I was spending so much time chasing round fighting fires that I could go weeks without spending time with the most important people in this business – the customers.
‘The best thing about our Vendman management system is that it gives us back the time that we’d lost to administrative issues and the mechanics of managing the business. Tasks that might have taken days can now be accomplished with a click of the mouse and that lets us spend more time in customers facing roles, and that, I reckon, is the secret of our success.’
There are tangible benefits too. John reels off a salvo of impressive statistics, but one in particular sticks in the mind: ‘the data allows us to eliminate unnecessary journeys. We’ve been able to ‘lose’ 600 visits to vending machines every week. I think the industry accepts that each visit costs the operator £10, so do the sums.’
Now established as one of Vendman’s proposed ‘Centres of Excellence’, – ‘we’re really proud that our first customer is one of our first Centres Of Excellence, said Daniel – the relationship between two of vending most innovative players continues to deepen and the signs are that the benefits generated by their co-operation will continue to have an impact throughout the entire industry.
(And John Broderick will never have time to spend plane spotting).