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It's 4:00 p.m. and the ATM is still not up and running. In a frantic attempt to get it back online, you order three parts you "think" could fix the problem. All are overnighted and you cross your fingers that one of the three will do the job.

Now, once the ATM is repaired what do you do? What processes do you put in place to become more efficient? What have you learned to save money the next time? If your answers are "I have no plan," you likely have many areas where you can get lean, mean and more profitable.

  1. Repair flow — Out of the three parts, it turns out the card reader is the one that failed. What happens to the card reader the tech replaced? Do you have someone to fix the bearings that are worn out? Do you have a process to send it to be repaired so you have stock ready on the shelf next time at a fraction of the cost? These questions are critical to ask (and answer) if you want to stay a lean as possible.
  2. Price matching — Time is money and when it's getting late in the day, it's worth even more. Do you have a process for clutch and critical orders that need to be placed or do you spend time looking for the least expensive price that it took you two hours to find? Imagine this scenario for a $5 part! When you develop great relationships with vendors, many times the power of the purchase order with a price to match quickly gets what's needed on its way without haggling for hours to get to an agreement.
  3. Online ordering — It is now 2013; if you don't order online or have vendors that don't offer online ordering, you are wasting valuable time. It might not hold true for every situation, but ease, convenience, speed and accuracy should be heavily weighted in assessing how your service company is handing parts and machine orders. Remember the days (not too long ago) when you called for an invoice, got transferred, had someone print and fax the invoice, which you received and printed along with 20 others, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera? What used to take half a day's work can now be completed in 15 minutes 24 hours a day.
  4. LCD pricing — As with other technology advances effected by ADA, LCDs are now replacing outdated CRTs. But are you aware that some LCDs come with a 3-year warranty compared with 30 days? Have you noticed that some of the newer sunlight-viewable LCDs are not only hard to come by, but are also expensive? LCDs are an area where much can be saved or much can be spent … it's well worth looking into to find the best value for the fleet you service.
  5. Photo referencing — I can't tell you how much time is spent emailing, calling and texting when a part number is unavailable, incorrect or just unknown. Service companies I've worked with whose techs regularly take mobile phone pics of problem parts or areas save the most time — and money! If you don't have a system like this in place now, it would be a great way to start 2013!

Without maintaining a focus on key areas, it's hard to become as streamlined as you'd like to be. So, there's no better time than the present to review, revise and improve procedures. And if you come up with additional ideas, let me know! 

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Corey King
Corey King works with American Bank Equipment "supporting companies that have boots on the ground." He has extensive experience working with and for ATM sales and service organizations and writes from a parts, machine, compliance and upgrade perspective.
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