“In the last several years, Maas International has grown significantly, particularly in the UK and Ireland,” states Nigel Scarfe, managing director of Maas International. “The company has continued to grow as a national service provider and, since 2009, has gained a number of significant contracts with the likes of BMW, Sainsburys, Rolls Royce and Intel. Consequently Maas International’s annual turnover has increased from an average of £5 million to nearly £18 million.”
Founded in 1890 as a tobacco producer, the company has evolved over the subsequent 121 year period to become a leading manufacturer and supplier of food and beverage vending machines. The range of units the company offers vary from small tabletop coffee machines to large food and refrigerated drink dispensers and with its activities spread all over the world, there are more than 600,000 Maas machines currently operating across the globe.
A constant trait of the company is that it has always strived to be the leader in its field of business by utilising the latest technology: “Maas International, as an organisation, is a continuous innovator,” Nigel explains. “From a technical standpoint it is the first UK vending company to install bespoke telemetry software into its units. This software allows the company to receive a constant stream of information from the machines about what is being sold and when and whether there are any faults or issues present. These issues can in turn be corrected remotely, for example by changing the prices of certain products or conducting a machine reset, or the problem can be diagnosed quickly to facilitate a rapid on-site response. This is an incredibly unique functionality within the industry that will be rolled out across the rest of Maas International’s machine base over the next 24 months.
“This software was first installed in November 2010, marking the culmination of a two and a half year programme. Due to the complexity of the software the whole programme has been designed by Maas International from the ground up and has undergone a lengthy process of testing and de-bugging to get to the point where it is today.”
Understandably this new technology brings with it significant advantages that the company are looking to capitalise on: “What this software provides is the ability to control the machine functionality and maintain the quality of the unit without having to wait for the customer to report a problem,” Nigel highlights. “At a time of ever-rising costs it also allows Maas International to carefully plan its visiting patterns, thus optimising transportation, fuel and personnel costs through the use of real-time information. The software also enables the company to intricately diagnose buying patterns, to correctly pin-point when refills or product switches should be made.”
2011 has also seen the launch of a new range of snack and bottle machines that incorporate the same features as the company’s 2010 line of coffee machines: “These new machines all have a very impressive touch screen that allows the user to buy the product at the press of a single button. The screen also provides space to detail full product and nutritional information, again a unique functionality possessed by Maas International,” Nigel says.
At the core of all of Maas International’s operations is its commitment to energy efficiency and its impact on the environment: “The company has a long and distinguished history of providing fair-trade and sustainable products, something that continues today,” Nigel emphasises. “The company has taken this philosophy one step further with the release of a product range called ‘The One Brand’. These zero carbon products are organic and are packaged in environmentally friendly materials. In terms of energy efficiency the company recently conducted tests on its equipment that showed a 60 per cent energy saving compared to its competitors, which also provides significant cost savings.”
Further developments in this area of the business are planned over the next 12 months, one of which Nigel is particularly keen to draw attention too: “At present Maas International, like most vending companies, utilises plastic cups that are derived from petrochemicals. This obviously goes against the very principles of the company, as they are both relatively harmful to the environment and made from expensive materials. In response to this, the company has been working diligently with a number of Asian suppliers to launch a range of recyclable paper cups as an alternative. These cost effective cups are currently used in the company’s Dutch and Belgian markets and should appear in the UK over the next 12 months.”
Being a key supplier of vending applications to many big names in various industries, Maas International has certainly noticed a changing mentality from its key clients: “The most interesting trend seen in the past 18 months is that customers are now actively looking for better value in all areas of their business, something that Maas International prides itself on providing,” Nigel continues.
Moving forward, Nigel concludes that Maas International’s prosperity will be directed by a business plan based on organic growth: “Maas International is a family-owned organisation that has been built very successfully in this manner over many generations. Everyone associated with the company today wants it to continue to grow in the future by winning new clients and retaining those that already exist. Through this simple, but effective methodology it would not be unrealistic to expect the company to double its size within the next three years.”
Services Operation, manufacture and supply of vending machines