Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX), is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defense industry.
Created in 2018 by bringing together UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins, Collins Aerospace has the capabilities, comprehensive portfolio, and expertise to solve customers’ toughest challenges and to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global market.
Edward Close, the business’ Facilities Manager, explains why Express Vending is the perfect partner for its in-house catering solutions.
Talking about how the relationship with Express Vending began, Edward described how Collins Aerospace began looking for a new supplier in 2016, as it felt a need to replace its old coffee and vending machines. Several were beginning to have operational issues and starting to show signs of wear and tear:
“Our main priority was to find a supplier with a good product range that suited the different budgets of our employees.”
The facilities team researched several solutions, including vending and traditional catering. However, the Express HUB was the only option which ticked all the boxes. It not only gave staff a broad range of fresh foods, healthy snacks, and drinks but also accommodated for varying shift patterns and limited break-out space.
“When the time came to replace the old machines, we realised our current supplier didn’t rotate its product options very often and it was important to us we improved upon provisions for our staff. The previous coffee machines also still used plastic cups and we wanted to look at how the business could reduce its environmental impact.”
Pre-packaged food and drink on site gives staff flexibility to enjoy meals and snacks without the need to go off-site and heighten the risk of infection.
Express Vending helped make sure Collins Aerospace staff felt comfortable and safe on site, with social distancing markers and sanitisation stations.
Collins Aerospace HUB is the first in the UK to be touch-free with contactless payment and scanning facilities, alongside Distance Selection coffee machines.
The Express HUB offers a wider range of products at a well-suited price point, for the various budgets of Collins Aerospace employees.
“We were not just impressed with Express Vending’s product offerings, but also its background support desks. We liked the way its teams monitored the machines and its response times to ensure all customers received excellent customer service, particularly if there were any issues.”
As part of the initial investigation and research process, Collins Aerospace went to various vending companies to see what their set-ups were.
Express Vending approached Collins Aerospace when it launched the HUB, to see if it would be interested in the offering. The business already used MicroMarkets in the US, so there was evidence, if managed properly, they could work for its UK staff too.
After four years of working together, a HUB was installed in one of the UK Collins Aerospace buildings. The site has now been using the HUB as a new grab-and-go catering alternative with staff believing it to be a better solution containing a wider variety of products and better aesthetics than a traditional vending offering.
Across the HUB and coffee machines, employees have reported being happy with the selection of products on offer and the quality of the drinks.
The installation of the HUB happened as COVID-19 restrictions were starting to be put in place.
However, Express Vending had taken the steps to ensure all the necessary measures and precautions were in place. It sent out relevant COVID-19 marketing information and pre-delivery inspection installation information before the team visited sites and all Express Vending employees who visited wore masks, gloves, and full PPE equipment.
Express Vending made sure the HUB came with hand sanitising stations for both entry and exit points and put down two-metre stickers to make the area COVID-19 compliant. It also recently upgraded Collins Aerospace’s coffee machines, which use new Distance Selection technology to reduce touch points across sites.
“There are some other good health and safety features of the HUB too. For example, if food is out of date the fridge automatically locks, so you do not have the risk of staff eating out of date food.”
Collins Aerospace had temporarily stopped its shift patterns during COVID-19 and put its night shift workers on a day shift, so the HUB turned out to be a much-needed solution in providing staff with sustenance during the pandemic and beyond.
Edward has noticed how the HUB has made purchasing lunch and snacks more convenient, as staff do not need to leave site to go and buy food. There is a broader selection of food and drink options in the HUB too, so staff have more choice than if they left to go to the local shops, which would, of course, heighten the risk of infection.
“The impact of COVID-19 on the UK workplace has made Collins Aerospace a lot more aware of social distancing measures and the need for pre-packaged food and drink for staff, so they know anything they buy will not be contaminated.”
Talking about the future of the workplace, Edward mentioned how some of the changes made due to COVID-19 restrictions may be more long-term.
One of the priorities for the business is ensuring as many touch points are removed from site as possible. It is for this reason, Collins Aerospace is considering adding the HUB’s new Beacon App, to its staff catering facilities, which makes scanning and transactions completely contact-free.