Mark Parry

Mark Parry of Vianet: ‘My name’s above the door, it’s down to me.’

‘Rob Little was always going to hang up his hat at some point after 25 years in the industry’, says Commercial Director, Mark Parry, who is pleased to find himself in the Vianet hot seat rather sooner than he anticipated.

‘I began my journey with Vianet in May 2020 as Sales Director, reporting directly to Rob, and my initial remit was to build a sales team that would grow Vianet Smart Machines UK and European footprint. We knew that Rob would leave us at some point and he ultimately landed on that decision towards the back end of the year. This initiated a handover process that incorporated all of Rob’s business activities and his responsibilities as part of the Vianet Executive team.

Vianet’s industry leading SmartVend portal was launched in November 2020 and represented a key milestone in the development of Vianet’s product portfolio. ‘SmartVend is our new contactless payment and real-time telemetry insight and analytics portal. It also provides the platform for our new end-to-end ‘Enterprise Resource Planning’ system (ERP) which will be launched in the market later this year’ Mark said.

Greater Efficiency

‘Our focus is on enabling customers to drive greater business operating efficiency and sales revenue growth’, Mark said. Customers will see the benefits of SmartVend whether its utilising real-time dynamic route planning, stock and warehouse control, machine alarms and alerts and of course financials. Telemetry has been around for a long time but we are now better placed than ever to deliver brand new features and functionality that the industry has been anticipating for a long time.

‘We are so looking forward to launching this new product to our customers and the market’, Mark added, and we will major on the business benefits to customers, some of which are positively ground breaking. There’s no longer a need for customer to be operating separate portals for contactless, telemetry and ERP.’

MarkJust as Smartvend brings an entire suite of functionality into one application, so Vianet’s structure will evolve to provide greater value to customers. ‘Previously, we had Client Managers who were dedicated to the ERP side of the business. Then in May last year, we created a new Business Development team by bringing in four specialists solely focused on driving contactless and telemetry sales. These two ‘divisions’ work very closely together to expedite the sales process for contactless, telemetry and the new ERP so that customer needs can be delivered’ Mark said. ‘Our customer service team, together with our first-class developers will enhance the experience we provide to our customers whilst delivering continuous improvement’.

‘The plan is to encourage our customers to adopt Smartvend now.’

The process has already begun: ‘At the moment we have some clients on the Vendman ERP system’ Mark said. ‘SmartVend ERP will be completed by year end, and our intention is to migrate all customers onto this platform from early next year’. Having said that, the SmartVend cashless and telemetry portal is already fully enabled so the plan is to encourage our customers to adopt it now. That way, transitioning to the new complete system will be so much simpler down the line.’

Vianet’s roadmap encompasses four distinct stages. ‘We delivered phase one with contactless and telemetry back in November 2020. In March/April this year the stock reconciliation and the mobile application will be launched followed in June/July by the stock control and warehouse element. The final stage of development will encompass financial control and management which will happen towards the end of the year’, Mark said.

The company growth strategy will also require Mark and the team to deliver some demanding sales objectives over the next 3 years, particularly for contactless and telemetry capability. ‘It’s demanding but achievable’, Mark said. ‘It will be delivered by the new Business Development team we created last year, under the management of our new Head of Business Development – Paul Land who joins us in March.’

Mark‘My name’s above the door, it’s down to me.’

Investment in people and technology, all achieved during the pandemic? ‘Yes, it has been incredibly tough but we stuck to our business plan despite COVID, by both engaging and developing our people and growing the team, and continued investment in research and development of new products’, Mark agreed. ‘We made up our minds that we were not going to allow the pandemic to block our expansion plans’.

‘Vianet is in a very exciting period of development and growth. We have demanding growth targets to hit and no shortage of ambition’, Mark said, ‘but we have the right team and the right product to take the market by storm. I took this appointment because I knew with Vianet’s continuous investment into innovation and technology, it was an opportunity that couldn’t be missed.

‘My name is now above the door, so it’s down to me.’

For more Vianet stories on Planet Vending, click HERE.





About the author

The Editor

Planet Vending’s Editor is Ian Reynolds-Young and it’s Ian’s unique writing talent that has made PV what it is today – the best read (red) vending blog in the world, and vending’s best read (reed). Ian ‘tripped and fell into vending’, in the capacity of PR executive, before launching a specialist agency, ‘reynoldscopy’, dedicated to the UK Vending business. The company continues to represent the interests of many of the sector’s leading brands.

‘It’s all about telling stories’, he says. ‘We want to make every visit to PV a rewarding experience. By celebrating the achievements of the UK’s operating companies, we’re on a mission to debunk the idea that vending is retailing’s poor relation.’

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