When you walk up to a traditional vending machine, you expect to drop in a few coins and receive a snack, a cup of coffee, or even a cold soda. How about a pen? A notebook? A computer keyboard? Or even a new set of scrubs?
Vending machines are moving far beyond the traditional snack foods and drinks. The Penn State library recently installed two vending machines that dispense necessary items for their student population including blue books, writing utensils, headphones and calculators. Students do not need to have cash on hand to use the machines; they simply swipe their university card and the purchase is deducted from their balance.
When it comes to this new generation of vending machines, the sky’s the limit. Conventional office vending machines provide that 3 PM snack, but instead of chocolate, chips, and mints, IDS machines can replace the standard office supply cabinet. Inventory control is provided by having employees scan their ID or entering their employee number to receive necessary supplies.
The most interesting aspect of an office supply vending machine is that they can vend almost any type of supply your employees or customers require. Custom vending machines allow businesses to sell their product automatically at any time of day or night by automating the transaction. Any type of medical supply that is subject to inventory control, from pharmaceuticals to equipment, can be easily tracked. Even IT equipment like a keyboard or a mouse, that would have been a hassle to replace in a corporate environment requiring tracking paperwork, can be dispensed via vending machine automatically.
With web-based iQ technology, inventory managers can easily track the machine’s inventory. By simply logging in to a web based device from anywhere, supervisors can track the machine’s records and track sales or employee use. No longer will that supervisor need to check each machine individually to inventory its remaining products. With iQ technology, businesses can increase employee accountability with detailed records of materials or products requested by each person which leads to a decrease in theft and shrinkage.
The automatic vending feature appeals to any business that is working toward increasing employee autonomy and efficiency. For example, rather than having employees fill out requisition forms and wait for necessary replacements like a computer power cord, Facebook CIO Tim Campos created a series of custom vending machines to automate this process, reduce expense, and increase efficiency.
No longer just for snacks, vending machine manufacturer Intelligent Dispensing Systems creates custom machines to dispense office, medical, and IT supplies.