The FSV head office in San Miguel de Abona near the airport Tenerife Sur resembles a command centre. Here, it’s like being at a stock exchange or traffic management centre or in a flight control tower. There are big monitors everywhere, showing video images, maps and lists in real time. With a workforce of 125 employees, FSV currently operates 3500 vending machines on the Canary Islands. The price of one machine has a value of between 3,000 and 4,500 euros. The machines produced by the Italian manufacturer Necta are deployed at airports and hotels, in companies and hospitals, and in other public places. For very little money, a coffee, for example, only costs 50 cents or a Cola 1.10 euros, tourists, business travellers or company staff can conveniently buy beverages and various treats: water, soft drinks, snacks, sweets, coffee, tea, cocoa, sandwiches, crisps, nuts, chewing gum – the vending machines stock almost everything the heart desires.
Once or twice a day the service staffs check and re-stock the vending machines. The customers can count on the offers. On their rounds, the FSV employees check and clean the machines. They collect the money and report the latest data of the machines, such as the product inventory, the cash change and the technical condition, to the head office. The most important working tools of the service staff are their vans. They are on the move in the vehicles eight hours a day on Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife. FSV mainly operates the New Vito 111 CDI panel vans in the long wheelbase version. They are fitted with a Tecnove insulated body, which ensures that the products are not exposed to any extreme temperatures.
In terms of size, the Vito is exactly the vehicle we need. It is reliable, has numerous safety systems on board and is extremely fuel-efficient. Our service staff simply love it.
32 Vito vans operate in the 70 vehicle fleet line-up – and their number is steadily increasing. “I like the New Vito with its vigorous front design more than any other van of its class,” Norling emphasises. “Our state-of-the-art IT is the decisive factor for success, but our fleet of vans is also very important, as the vehicles are valuable image carriers. Vito, Citan and Sprinter are our flagships for the customers. They operate every day with our blue-and-yellow logo and our advertising on the sides directly to the hotels, to the airports and to the companies. They are symbols of the modernity, reliability and efficiency of our company.” The maps on the large monitors in the head office show the whereabouts of each service employee at any particular time. “This means that we always know who is nearest to any specific location if a problem has to be sorted out there,” Norling explains.
FSV was recently awarded a contract to service the 25,000 dispensing units of a major American lemonade manufacturer on the Canaries. In order to meet the contract’s requirements Norling is investing in a fleet of over 40 Sprinter vans. For him, any other large van was out of the question. “I like Mercedes and also drive one personally. What is more, my service employees have gained very positive experience with the Vito and our supervisors with the Citan.” The new Sprinters will operate as mobile workshops. To ensure that the technicians can work while standing, Norling has opted for the Sprinter that had previously hardly played a role in the FSV fleet.
If a dispensing unit is faulty, my people can completely dismantle the machine in just a few steps and repair it in the Sprinter, without, for example, disrupting day-to-day business in a restaurant.
Norling sees extreme growth prospects in this segment. Breweries and coffee roasters may also show an interest in outsourcing the maintenance and repair of their vending machines in order to be able to focus more strongly on their core business. Norling has defined his own core business very clearly: he intends resolutely moving into the servicing business if the opportunities arise here, but will remain true to his vending machines. He came up with the idea for the practical machines in the Eighties after seeing what a friend was doing. “He had ten machines back then and was able to live off the earnings. In the morning, he re stocked and checked them and collected the money, and in the afternoon he relaxed down on the beach.” Norling, who was 18 at that time, was inspired by this and set up his own business within a few years. A proper self-made man, who had neither served an apprenticeship nor gone to university, but who was strongly spurred on by his motto in life: ‘Learn something every day!’