Ask those companies for whom supplying vending machines is a business priority and they’ll all agree: Associated Vending Services – or the AVS, for short – represents twenty-nine of the most influential, forward thinking vending operators in the UK.
The AVS was established in 1979, when a small group of independent, privately owned vending companies created a member’s consortium. The idea was to purchase as a group to achieve economies of scale and to share best practice on a wide range of business related topics.
One of the secrets of the group’s longevity is that it doesn’t accept any old Tom, Dick or Harry into its midst. On the contrary, AVS members are, without exception, companies with the scale and ambition to raise consumers’ perceptions and expectations of vending. ‘All our members are carefully selected’, AVS General Manager Louise Cummings told us. ‘AVS member companies are experienced, professional vending specialists, whose services are closely vetted and quality assured to ensure that only the best and the most committed are invited to join.’
It’s no wonder, then, that the AVS Awards, presented annually, are amongst the most coveted in the business: if you’re a supplier and the AVS members vote for you as the best in your category, well: that’s worth popping a cork or two of a decent vintage.
But what if, like us, you win the award for thirteen consecutive years?
‘You run out of ways to celebrate’, John Crichton admitted when he returned from the AVS Awards ceremony in Vilamoura with the ‘gong’, once again, in his suitcase. ‘It’s a fantastic compliment to Automatic Retailing as a company that the best in the business have voted for us as ‘the best in the business’ for thirteen years on the spin. Everybody should take great pride in this achievement, from the warehouse lads to the office staff; to the sales people out on the road to senior management and, in my case, very senior management. To have been singled out year after year as we have been is a humbling experience, but rest assured, we’ll all be doing everything we can in the next twelve months to make it fourteen.’
‘The partnership of AR with the AVS is such a strong one’, Louise said, ‘because AR understand the needs of our group. They understand the importance of quality and they understand the importance of service, so it’s a perfect fit. The awards are made on the basis of ‘one member one vote’ and they have a completely free hand, so when you think how many suppliers they could vote for, you could end up with twenty-nine different nominations. To my mind, that makes it all the more special that AR have won it for so many years running.’
That’s very kind of Louise to say and we thank her for it; but do you know what? That’s what makes it all the more special for all of us at AR, too.