December 2021 - 34

insights and internal controls, drawing
on a central database that collects
inputs from accounting, supply chain,
sales, marketing and human resources,
among other company departments.
Hessling also noted that 365
devices are web-enabled, compared
with most VMS designs that use
Vending Data Interchange (VDI)
protocols to read DEX. " The 365 management
system gets a lot more information
and it enables the execution of
modern needs, in contrast to moving
DEX files back and forth, " he said.
Founded by former vending operator
Randy Smith, LightSpeed Automation
has become the
gold standard
in the vending
When it
arrived on the
scene 13 years
ago, Lightspeed
proved that it
could automate
the processes
LightSpeed founder
Randy Smith is now
part of 365 team.
that used to be done by an Excel worksheet
or with pencil and paper.
LightSpeed is a system for picking
merchandise in a warehouse, using
either of two options to guide the
stock-pickers to the precise shelf location
of each item in a route order. The
original implementation used a light
at each shelf location to speed the
stock picker to the next item on the
list, thus, at " LightSpeed, " metaphorically.
The other option is to equip the
stock pickers with wireless tablets that
display the items required and shows
their shelf locations. Employing either
option, the system leads a picker to
the product and indicates how many
are needed.
Today, LightSpeed has 48 integrations
with technology partners, oper34
Automatic Merchandiser * December 2021
ates in nine countries and picks over
two billion items a year.
" In the past, LightSpeed was simply
a layer that received information
from different data sources, " Hessling
said. " To make it better, we intend to
remove some of the friction between
the LightSpeed system and the Avanti,
365 and Company Kitchen systems -
to make a single product, something
even more than integration. And we'll
still be able to improve support for
third-party POS systems and other
data sources. But when it's all under
one roof, you can take out unnecessary
steps. "
Amid a major labor shortage
that's expected to last another two
years, LightSpeed Automation will
play an increasingly important role
for vending operators. LightSpeed
was designed to improve warehouse
employee output and drive efficiency.
Hessling believes there are currently
not enough workers to support the
needs of the industry, which he
predicts is going to grow significantly
beyond its pre-pandemic performance
peak reached in 2019.
" There's more opportunity for this
industry on the horizon, " he said. " If
I'm an operator I look at this and say,
'I got more opportunity in the future
than I can service. Now what?' "
The answer is automation. " You
must automate nearly everything
you do, " Hessling advised, " and you
have to focus your resources on
product, customer service, IT and
delivery. There's just no other way
operators will be able to manage
it all. And this is what excites me
about the combination of LightSpeed
and our self-service micro market
systems. We are going to add time to
the operator's day by removing time
from their processes. "
" The biggest change COVID
brought out was not in the convenience
services industry. It was in
every other industry that realized
If I'm an operator I look at
this and say, 'I got more
opportunity in the future
than I can service.
Now what?' "
Joe Hessling, 365 Retail Markets
founder and CEO
unattended and self-service is what
they need to help recover and grow
their businesses " - Joe Hessling
For its part, 365's merger with
Avanti is not going to result in staff
reductions. In fact, the combined
company will leverage its newly
enlarged technical team to bring new
products to the marketplace faster.
And the company is looking to add
people, quickly. It now has 50 open
positions listed and that number is
likely to grow to 100 in the months to
come. " We could take all the help we
can get, " Hessling said.
So, what can operators expect from
this merger? Hessling offered:
* Improvement in engineering and
customer service;
* Incremental improvements to
technology and automation;
* More product variety and investment;
Avanti, 365 and Company Kitchen
market brands to remain intact;
* Avanti to focus on SMB operations
- allowing more opportunities for
pilot projects;
* 365 to focus on enterprise-level
businesses - " What will work for a
thousand units? " ;
* Fewer individual products doing
the thing - a 365 Pico device, for
instance, will at some point also be
branded for Avanti and Company
Kitchen; and
* Continued emphasis on meeting
the operator's needs. ■

December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2021

Editor's Note
Industry News
A True Story
The 2021 Pros to Know Awards
They'll Take it to Go!
Two is Better Than One
K&R Market Fresh
Social Hubs
December 2021 - PCOV1
December 2021 - PCOV2
December 2021 - 1
December 2021 - 2
December 2021 - 3
December 2021 - 4
December 2021 - 5
December 2021 - Editor's Note
December 2021 - 7
December 2021 - Industry News
December 2021 - 9
December 2021 - A True Story
December 2021 - 11
December 2021 - The 2021 Pros to Know Awards
December 2021 - 13
December 2021 - 14
December 2021 - 15
December 2021 - 16
December 2021 - 17
December 2021 - 18
December 2021 - 19
December 2021 - 20
December 2021 - 21
December 2021 - 22
December 2021 - 23
December 2021 - They'll Take it to Go!
December 2021 - 25
December 2021 - 26
December 2021 - 27
December 2021 - 28
December 2021 - 29
December 2021 - Two is Better Than One
December 2021 - 31
December 2021 - 32
December 2021 - 33
December 2021 - 34
December 2021 - 35
December 2021 - K&R Market Fresh
December 2021 - 37
December 2021 - 38
December 2021 - 39
December 2021 - 40
December 2021 - Classifieds
December 2021 - Social Hubs
December 2021 - 43
December 2021 - 44