Coffee Nation supplies and maintains branded, self-service coffee stations, serving coffee 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
When Scott Martin and his co-founders set up Coffee Nation in 2000, developing the best self-serve coffee station was not their only investment priority: they also wanted to link these machines with a central system that would coordinate all actions needed to maintain product quality and availability, including fault fixing, replenishment of ingredients, automatic stock reordering and control of machine settings.
"We knew that this was a make-or-break aspect of our business plan," said Vivien Hale, Coffee Nation’s Financial Director. "The economies of centralised management were key to our financial model, and a reliable system was essential if we were to convince the world that our coffee stations represent a genuine quality revolution."
Well before the first prototypes arrived, Coffee Nation was talking to application developers about building and integrating the central management system. The company that responded in a way most attuned to Coffee Nation's business objectives was ICS Solutions.
"ICS understood our management information needs and proposed a fast, robust solution," said Vivien. "Their approach also convinced us they could deliver everything they said they would."
ICS Solutions designed a database to store data about every coffee station – including type, location and installation date, with status and sales information continuously collected from the machines. A key feature was the inclusion of trigger actions when reported values for milk, coffee or cash box content passed pre-set limits.