EurOps© 2009 took place at the Concorde Hotel in Berlin on the 26th and 27th March. In spite of tough economic times, the European Vending Association, organiser of the event, was pleased with the turnout, which gathered more than 150 participants. The participants, representing the whole industry, included ingredient suppliers, machine manufacturers and, of course, operators. Participants were also very satisfied with the conference, which has enabled them to meet and discuss with fellow colleagues about the vending industry in these particular times.
The Conference, which was divided into three sessions under the slogan “better, smarter and greener vending”, will be earmarked as the networking edition. This year’s edition was once again moderated by the well-known journalist, Alex Puissant, who successfully initiated the lively debates that ensued about the vending industry. After the launch of the conference and presentation of the EVA’s 15th Anniversary logo by Mr. Arnaud van Amerongen, president of the European Vending Association, Ms Catherine Piana, Director General of the EVA, gave an exclusive preview of the data collected from the recent market and consumer survey, which was carried out by the renowned research company, Datamonitor, in collaboration with the EVA. The study is the first of its kind, as it uses the same comparable data in all the European countries, which creates a very good basis to finally have reliable figures about the industry. The study will be available as from the month of May 2009.
Mr. Michal Piotrowiak from Mastercup presented ideas on how to be proactive and no longer merely reactive vis à vis the vending consumer in the current economic crisis. Mr. Hubert Boyer followed suit with a similar concept and explained how his company, Lyovel, now offers the consumer different and innovative product choices in their machines. He believes that it is important to be able to adapt your company to the new needs of your customer, and start, for instance, offering fruit or vegetables to consumers concerned about their diet. The session of “better vending” was closed by the presentation of Lucio Pinetti from Liomatic, who talked about the importance of communicating and taking every opportunity to do, so with each product vended by the company, such as the cup used in the machine.
After lunch, participants returned to the Conference for the second session of “smarter vending”, with a presentation made by Guido Panigada from the company Digisoft, who explained the importance of knowing and analysing your own business in order to make new decisions and to succeed. He presented a case study of the company CoffeeSI Srl. The following speaker, Brian Tustain, who represents the British company AVS, gave an “eye-opening” presentation by suggesting to his audience that between 8% and 12% of company turnover is affected by theft and fraud. Consequently, he gave a few examples on how to be aware of what is happening in your company, as well as some helpful advice on how to prevent these occurrences from taking place. Finally, Mr. Csaba Szalai from Microtronics talked about the rapidly increased use of contactless payments, and presented some examples like the technology NFC for mobile phones. The main question mark during the debate that followed was how to get a return on the investment that your company makes by investing in a contactless system.
After a deserved coffee break, the last session on “greener vending” started with an outstanding theoretic presentation from Mrs. Esther Hoffman of the Institute for Ecological Economy Research of Berlin, which brought on a lively reaction from the audience. Then Mr. Paolo Ghidotti from N&W gave his input on how a company can be both green and able to have good economic performance. In his opinion, environmentalism is less and less considered as a limit or a threat, but, on the contrary, is a new opportunity to make profit and to be innovative. Mr. Karl Heinz Blum from Blum Betriebsverpflegung and Mr. David Hoskin from Save-a-cup, both gave very specific and illustrative examples on how their companies have adapted themselves to what consumers’ request, in the case of Blum Betriebsverpflegung, or how sometimes initiatives start a step ahead of the market, in the case of the creation of the company Save-a-cup.
The conclusions and closing remarks from Mr. van Amerongen and Mrs. Piana showed satisfaction about the course of the Conference and the strong participation of the audience, and also optimism shown for the future of the vending industry. Moreover it was mentioned that the presence of the sponsors, Hypercom, Sielaff, N&W, Rheavendors Group, Coges and Eu’Vend has significantly contributed to the success of the Conference. The EVA President could not avoid mentioning the fact that this edition had a reduced presence of operators, and that they missed out on a very good opportunity, as the conference was actually programmed for them.
For further information on the programme and speakers, please follow this link http://www.vending-europe.eu/en/eva/eva-conferences/europs-2009.html. If you couldn’t attend the Conference but you are interested in acquiring the presentations, please visit the EVA web site where they are on sale.