Dinamalar has installed 25 newspaper vending kit in Coimbatore and plans to reach 150 installations in next one year, informs R Subramanian.

10 Oct 2013 | By PrintWeek India

Describe your company?
Established in 1951 by the late T V Ramasubbaiyer, a self made journalist, Dinamalar, today has 10 editions across Tamil Nadu. Dinamalar has kept itself up-to-date with the changing trends in this category to remain the leading Tamil daily in the world of discerning Tamil readers. Dinamalar has 10 production sites across Tamil Nadu. The daily circulation of Dinamalar is 1,63,947 copies for weekdays and 2,02,767 copies for its Sunday editions. Dinamalar’s Coimbatore edition is the first to bring glaze newsprint in the main issue across the country. 
What does the machine do?
Chennai-based Shakti Udyog’s Dial-A-Vend is a newspaper vending machine, which can be installed at public places. It dispenses newspaper copies and the user is allowed to make payment with cash or e-pin cards. The machine is networked using a cloud-based server and GPRS for generating real time reports on the sale, stock quantity, alerts for refilling, etc.
Why did you make the purchase?
This is an innovative product which can be looked at as an assistant to distributors. The objective of the purchase is to make the newspaper more accessible to the public.
How fast is it?
It is pretty fast. As soon as the coins are inserted or e-pin card is swiped, the newspaper is delivered in a matter of seconds. 
What features do you particularly like?
It identifies and accepts coins of all the denominations accurately without any errors. It also has the e-pin card facility, which is beneficial for regular users. In addition, it notifies the distributor when the stock needs to be refilled.
How many units have you installed?
We have already installed 25 machines at different sites in Coimbatore, which include hospitals, corporate towers, railway stations and other public places. Our plan is to complete 150 installations in the next one year for Dinamalar’s Coimbatore edition alone.
How easy is it to use?
The operation is simple and instructions on the machine makes it user friendly. We have plans to offer city maps, important phone numbers, gift vouchers, exchange coupons and free samples very shortly.
How much time or money has it saved?
As it is a self service concept, the whole idea is to be independent of the use of manpower and further cut down administrative costs. The project will not only be lucrative on long term basis but also offer convenience to Dinamalar readers. In addition, the signage on the machine is used to generate additional revenue and it enhances brand image. Daily sale is approximately 25 to 30 copies per machine, however at some places it reaches 50.
Were there any difficulties experienced during installations or after?
In the initial stages of the installation, we faced a few errors such as missing supplements or dispensing of multiple copies etc. However, with the extensive support offered by Shakti Udyog, we have eliminated all the glitches. 
What about the pre and after-sales service?
The pre and after-sales service has been very good. We have been working in close contact with Shakti Udyog. The service support team has always been available whenever we faced any problems.
Who do you think the machine is right for?
The machine is well suited for all the newspaper producers and distributors. Also, Shakti Udyog has solutions for vending magazines.
Under what circumstances would you invest in another?
Once we successfully implement this project for Coimbatore edition of Dinamalar, we will undertake similar project for other editions such as Madurai.


User’s verdict
Speed  4/5
Quality  3/5
Reliability 4/5
Value for money 4/5

Supplier’s Response
S Vijay, managing director, Shakti Udyog, said, “The reason for the vending machine being a success on its launch with Dinamalar is rather simple. This is because of the clear priorities and objectives the company had set for itself. The newspaper wanted to increase its circulation figures by just a few percentage marks, knowing fully well that they were on the top of the current subscription model. The vending machine helped them place unmanned sales personnel at places where previously there were none. The customer on the move was being neglected, the impulsive reader was not being pampered and the late evening readers were missed. The vending machine could cater to all the above categories by the strength of its strategic location and predictable positioning.”

S Vijay
Shakti Udyog
+91 9840099963