Expanding the boundaries

A good deal has been said about NIVEX, the new breed of UK vending exhibition, while far less is heard about the organisation behind it, NIVO – which, incidentally, comes of age this year.

So VI met recently with the organisation’s recently-appointed Managing Director, Graham Kingaby (pictured) who, while being no new­comer to vending, is already introducing something of a fresh look.

Graham has been given carte blanche to move the organisation ahead to offer an even better and more all-encompassing service for members. “My target”, he explains, “is to ‘energise’ what was already a good business. I believe that NIVO members are seeking to grow their businesses and increase revenue, and that’s what we are here to help them achieve, in parallel with providing good business for our supplier partners. In many respects, I think it is a case of doing what we have been doing, but even better!”

The National Independent Vending Operators Group was created in 1988 as a buying group, which today boasts 240 operator members and a stable of some 50 supplier partners, covering just about everything that an operator needs to run the business from companies including Crane Merchandising Systems, RPC Tedeco-Gizeh, Nestle Vending, Siemens, BNP Paribas, Blakemore and United Biscuits.

Originally an EastEnder, Graham moved north and became a York­shireman some 35 years ago, and swears he has never looked back. Before joining NIVO he had spent the previous 25 years working within the Bunzl Group and certainly knows what the inside of a vending machine looks like. He is adamant that he is not in vending for the short-term, and has already spent a spell as Chairman of the AVA Midland Region.

Since joining NIVO, Graham has been busy. Immediately obvious is a redesigned website – work on which is still in progress, a new monthly newsletter to members, and the appointment of Michelle Darker, who handles customer service and telesales, as well as being responsible for contacting members to find out ways of working together better and sharing ideas for new buying opportunities or services. Katie Davidson, meanwhile, oversees the administration of it all. 

Some new supplier partners are in the wings, too. “In some cases”, explains Graham, “and subject to a certain amount of consultation, I am looking at appointing more than one supplier partner for a particular commodity. The aim here is to increase the choice of products available to member operators, while maintaining good business propositions for our suppliers”.

In addition, he is planning to introduce supplier partners for products that are not necessarily core to vending – for example, workwear and support services – to offer more of a total service, still maintaining the objectives of increasing the business and revenue of members, while helping suppliers to increase theirs’, too.

New alliance

Probably the biggest new development at NIVO, though, is the birth of a sister organisation, NIVA – the National Independent Vending Alliance. This is described as ‘a national alliance of like-minded, professional, independent vending operators which, together, constitute a nationwide network’.

In addition to being members of NIVO, operators wishing to join NIVA need also to achieve agreed standards and, as such, are audited, monitored and reported on their service levels. So, in a nutshell, NIVA amounts to a national service from local operating companies and, as such, is good news for specifiers with premises in different parts of the country and who wish to offer the same level of dependable service at each.

“The launch of NIVA”, says Graham, “opens a whole new window of opportunity for NIVO members who participate, and is a major step forward for the organisation as a whole, as well as its supplier partners.”