Auto Par Brings Automatic Benefits
At Definite Food Services Limited in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia some things are automatic. For the full-service vending company, choosing the MEI® CASHFLOW® Series 7000 Coin Manager is one such automatic. With it, Definite Food has experienced immense operational and financial benefit. How impactful these benefits were to the business and for its owners was only really illuminated after the company acquired a local vending operation.
Nearly 20 years ago, Jody Fraser and his father, Darrell, opened the doors to Definite Food Services. The two decided to capitalize on their industry experiences and start a new business venture on their own. Jody spent years working at a well known vending organization and his father, Darrell, had already acquired 25 years of industry tenure. This risk proved successful, as Jody and Darrell began to significantly grow their vending account base over the next two decades. Today, the company now services over 300 machines in a variety of locations which include schools, hospitals, factories and public recreation centers.
As business expanded over the years, the pair tweaked their operational strategies but specifying the CASHFLOW Series 7000 to manage machine change seemed to remain a consistant choice for Definite Food.
“When my father and I started Definite Food Services, specifying a coin mech didn't seem like a critical asset decision for us. Eventually, I learned that it was and choosing the Series 7000 is choosing success for us.”
The MEI CASHFLOW Series 7000 has been a long time constant in Jody Fraser’s vending business. More than a decade of industry experience in both the field and back office meant Fraser had the proficiency to easily master the CF7000 coin manger’s programming and diagnostic features himself. As the business grew and Definite Food began hiring more drivers, the Fraser's quickly found that these new employees also had the ability to operate the coin manager without much training, - a pleasant surprise to the owners. A self-explanatory menu walked drivers through all the necessary tools to operate it, becoming a key feature that saved the company valuable time and resources training new employees.
“We were and always are prepared to do formal training with our drivers on how to use the MEI coin mech. The tools are there; the how-to videos, user guides, on-site training, but we continually find that the Series 7000 trains the drivers for us.”
While operating the CF7000 in nearly all of his accounts, Fraser discovered another feature that provided great value to the business, Auto Par or "Par to Auto.” The Par to Auto setting monitors the machine’s sales throughput and recommends the amount and mix of coins for the changer to fill to based on its own activity. Through this unique feature, Definite Food doesn't need to guess or spend time trying to calculate the right amount of change to carry in its vending machines. Additionally, they do not need to max fill the coin tubes with change. Instead, Par to Auto keeps the tubes filled at an optimal level and minimizes a machine’s chance of going out of service because it ran out of change.
Because of these benefits, Jody standardized with CASHFLOW Series 7000. However, it wasn't until 2011 that the Fraser's realized positive financial impact Auto Par had heen delivering to their business all these years.
In March of 2011, Definite Food Services purchased Bluenose Vending Services. With the acquisition of this new company came new accounts and new machines with unfamiliar coin changer technology installed inside.
“I knew the MEI coin mechs worked great for us. After acquiring the new business, I figured I would just keep what I inherited and continue to use these competitive units. The units worked fine enough, although were a bit finicky when it came to upgrading the software.”
This perspective changed after the company spent some time operating both changers in the field and decided to perform a direct side-by-side comparison of the two different devices.
To perform a comparison, the company analyzed two large accounts, a stone's throw from one another. These two accounts enjoyed identical machine sales and had the same product inventory. One machine operated with a MEI CASHFLOW Series 7000 set on Auto Par and the other machine, acquired in the Bluenose acquisition, operated with another industry changer that lacked this functionality.
After some time monitoring both devices, Jody found the difference between the MEI changer and the other industry changer wasn't just marginally different; it was drastically different— to the tune of $220! To his surprise, the "other" industry changer required $296 worth of change to support its machine's change payback. Alternatively, the Series 7000 recommended and configured itself to hold a mere $76 to support its machine’s weekly sales!
Because the Series 7000 automatically managed the ebb and flow of coin inventory for the business for years without issue, Definite trusted the MEI changer’s recommendation. When faced with manually calculating a par level for their newly inherited competitive changers, the company found it easier to max fill its coin tubes to avoid changer starvation. The $220 of excess coin in the competitive changer was reason enough to commit even further to the MEI Series 7000.
For Definite Food, specifying the MEI CF7000 Coin Manager has always been an automatic choice for its ease of use and ability to manage the change payback for the business. Experience with a competitive device showed the company, in real dollars and cents, the capital they could take out of the field and to the bank to grow into greater things, like new business acquisitions.
“I’d tell any operator, when looking for a coin mech, to choose MEI for the Auto Par feature alone. No question about it. It really starts and ends with that”- Jody Fraser, Owner of Definite Food Services Limited