The European Vending Association was pleased to have successfully delivered, what it considers the most influential event for the vending industry in 2009. The AGM and the round-table discussions that ensued, brought together top managers from the main companies and National Associations, representing the vending industry in Europe and abroad. The workshop gave much needed impetus to a dynamic industry ready to re-look and re-position itself in the world of automated trade.
The event opened with the EVA’s Annual General Assembly on the 2nd of December. The European Vending Association is happy to confirm the reelection of Arnaud van Amerongen as its President, for the second consecutive term. Concerning the election of members of the Executive Committee, only minor changes were made. Augusto Garulli was replaced by Luca Adriani, representing Confida, the Italian National Association. Furthermore, following the departure of Jeff Allsop, Paul Theobald, also from MEI, was elected to represent payment systems. The rest of the Executive remains unchanged: Michael Maurer, Hubert Boyer, Ute Bremm, Brian Tustain, Jan Marck Vrijlandt, Fioravante Allegrino, Hugh Hose and Michal Piotrowiak.
During the AGM, Dr Aris Kaschefi, Deputy Manager of the BDV (German National Association) gave an insightful presentation on an initiative from the German Association whereby a ratings system could be established for the “ideal vending machine”.
After the AGM, participants were invited to a gala dinner to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the European Vending Association. The venue chosen was a fabulous castle “Château de la Hulpe” on the outskirts of Brussels. The participants thoroughly enjoyed the evening. During the gala dinner, the EVA awarded its founding members with a certificate in recognition of their ongoing support and contribution to the Association. The National Associations awarded were: AVA, BDV, CONFIDA, MIASZ, NAVSA, VVS, ANEDA, APVA, ASF, DAFA, GDA and VIDA; and the contributive companies were: Azkoyen, Sara Lee, Mars Drinks, Huhtamaki, MEI, Microtronic, N&W, Nestlé, RPC Tedeco-Gizeh, Selecta, Autobar, Barry Callebaut, Brita, Coin Acceptors, Crane, Deutsche Würlitzer, Kraft, NRI, Rheavendors and Sielaff.
The EVA also presented crystal awards to some of the professionals, who have worked closely with the Association. Catherine Piana, the EVA’s Director General, presented these awards with her usual panache. The awardees were likened to famous movie characters, much to the amusement of all present. Crystal Awards were presented to the following members: Roger Williams, Augusto Garulli, Robert Monssen, Hugh Hose, Ute Bremm, Silke Ruschke, Gillian White, Bernard Wahli, Johan Wieland, Brian Tustain and Jan Marck Vrijlandt. The European Vending Association also awarded Pierre Pernet, David Hoskin and Boy van Droffelaar for their inestimable work as founding fathers of the Association, and who, unfortunately, were not present at the ceremony to receive their Crystal Awards.
Finally, on the 3rd of December, the round-table discussions commenced. Participants gathered in the coffee break room, where the sponsors were presenting their products. The European Vending Association would like to thank the following sponsors for their contribution to the various events: Hypercom (payment systems) for the AGM, and Flo (cup manufacturer), N&W (machine manufacturer) and UTZ certified (certification of coffee, tea and cocoa for sustainable agriculture) as sponsors of the global event.
After some opening words given by the newly, re-elected EVA President, Arnaud van Amerongen, Rich Geerdes, President and CEO of NAMA (American National Association) presented the “NAMA Image Campaign”. It was the perfect introduction to the day’s main topic, and added momentum to initiate the round-table discussions.
Throughout the day, the participants could take part in three different workshops of their choice. The eight tables came under the following headings: “Lack of (Academic) Training” chaired by Catherine Piana, the EVA’s Director General; “Tailoring the Offer” chaired by Jan Marck Vrijlandt, Business Development Director of Selecta; “Knowledge Management” chaired by Jeff Allsop, Executive Vice President of MEI Group; “Environment” chaired by Ute Bremm, General Manager CE Food Service of Huhtamaki; “Change Management” chaired by Arnaud van Amerongen, Managing Director of Aequator; “Positioning Vending” chaired by Michal Piotrowiak, General Manager of Mastercup; “Selling Vending” chaired by Brian Tustain, Chief Executive of the Associated Vending Services; and “The Vending Experience” chaired by Gillian White, Business Development Director of 24vend.
The discussions were lively and professionals from the European vending industry and abroad – United States of America and Brazil – shared their best practices and exchanged their views on how to improve the image of vending. The main conclusion reached at the end of the day was that the vending industry should think more like a retailer. Vending machines should be able to create an experience, just like when a customer enters a coffee shop (such as in the case of coffee vending machines).
Marketing resources should be used to attract customers, and therefore focus on the attractiveness of the machine, of the cups, of the environment created around the machine and so forth. Customers lack a story when they purchase and consume a product from a vending machine and this usually means that their perception of the product could be viewed as negative compared to the actual quality of the product.
Another central conclusion of the day was that all segments of the vending industry need to be involved in the improvement process of its image. Otherwise, there may not be any substantial success in the results.
The European Vending Association will release the conclusions from each round-table in its next newsletter, which will be published in January 2010.