As micro markets continue their reign as the fastest growing segment in unattended retail, operators are hustling to find new ways to manage their growing markets business to keep up with this expansion. With hundreds of SKUs and unique inventory challenges, operators are seeing an increasing need for a specialized solution created specifically for micro markets.
At K&R Services, Operations Manager Bradlee Whitson has found the solution to this problem in Seed Markets. With Seed Markets, Bradlee found a way to bring the well-established best practices from his vending business to his micro markets.
In our conversation with Bradlee, he shared his top 3 improvements to managing his micro market business with Seed Markets.
#1: Pre-kitting totes to individual sections of a market greatly reduced service time.
BW: “Before Seed Markets, we would have our drivers load all the snacks and drinks into one tote for the whole market. The problem with that was the driver would have to bounce between different sections of the market carrying product to stock them.”
“With Seed Markets, each section or cooler is managed separately, so we were able to pre-kit each section of the market individually. It not only saved the driver’s time in servicing a market, but it was one of the positive feedbacks our drivers shared from implementing Seed Markets.”
#2: Staying on top of shrinkage through more frequent inventorying kept the honest people honest.
BW: “We see at locations that a portion of customers are always honest, and some customers will always be thieves. But there is also a large portion of customers that are influenced by circumstance… If [these] people see no consequences from stealing, they will do it more frequently than if there are consequences.”
Before implementing Seed Markets, K&R Service’s process for monitoring shrinkage mainly involved reviewing video footage. However, they knew that this process would not scale to a large number of micro markets. Seed Markets enables drivers to inventory markets more frequently, by making each trip easier to complete and take less time. The more frequent the inventory checks, the quicker operators can catch increases in shrinkage.
“If you can’t identify that shrinkage is happening in a fast and easy way, you will not be able to take actions to reduce it before it becomes a large problem and HR needs to get involved.”
#3: Faster inventory times meant no need for managers to make special trips to ensure inventory is done.
BW: “The thing most operators agree upon being the biggest challenge with micro markets is the longer inventory time compared to vending machines. Our solution to this before Seed Markets was scheduling special inventory visits at each market. This meant sending a manager or driver out to inventory the entire market, which often took over an hour.”
“Now with Seed Markets we are up to doing a full inventory every 4th visit. Inventorying an individual market section was faster, so we could do them during normal routes, and we were able to eliminate our special inventory visits.”
Today, K&R Services has been able to re-focus it’s micro market managers on what is important to their role, ensure drivers are efficient in servicing markets, and establish better internal processes for managing their micro market business with the use of Seed Markets.
Looking into the future, Bradlee fully expects the micro market segment at K&R Services to continue to increase in size. Fortunately, with Seed Markets they have all the tools and operational efficiencies to accomplish this growth quickly and profitably.
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