Beverage Picking

LightSpeed visited Cromer Foods to see their new
beverage warehouse and discusses prekitting drinks.

How should you pick beverages – bulk or by the machine?

Picking drinks in bulk or by the machine. Which method do you prefer?

That is one of, if not the most often asked question we get here at LightSpeed. For the past couple of years, we’ve had customers on both sides of the argument who were passionate about the method they supported and could make a strong case for why they were right. It seemed that smaller operators preferred the control of prekitting by machine and the larger operators liked the efficiency of bulk picking. But in the last 6 months, we’ve seen a major shift toward prekitting by machine by operators of all sizes.

During the LightSpeed User Group at the NAMA OneShow in 2016, Steve Crosby with Company Kitchen and Craig Hunt with Imperial got into a discussion about this very topic. Imperial was bulk picking and Company Kitchen was prekitting by the machine. The question was asked of Steve why he thought that method of picking was more efficient. He shared the following benefits:

    • You control what goes into the machine. If a client wants a specific flavor, it gets prekitted and the driver puts it in the machine. You no longer must depend on the driver to remember to add it.
    • Trucks come back empty, which is the foundation of the concept of prekitting. You no longer handle product twice.
    • Drivers can service more machines. Again, the core of prekitting is making one trip into the building. The additional revenue gained per route more than covers the incremental labor in the warehouse to prekit.
    • Route average increase. Steve shared with the audience that they added one full-time person to the warehouse crew to cover the prekitting of the drinks and they saw an increase of $5000 per route.

Every operator needs to make decisions based on what is best for their business. Windshield time, available labor, number of glass front machines, traffic issues, etc. all play a role in making the decision on how to deliver beverages. At LightSpeed, as we see trends develop in the industry, it is our duty to share them with not just our customers but all vending operators. And this is a trend that we see moving in a strong direction.

When we saw Craig at the Warehouse U Live! event in Las Vegas for the 2017 NAMA OneShow, he was asked if they had changed to prekitting by machine from the bulk picking they were doing in 2016. He quickly said yes and that it was one of the best decisions they had ever made. Route average and customer satisfaction were up. Not a bad combination of items to be on the rise.