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Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers

Part I – Why Vending is the Ultimate Controlled Dispensing Solution for the Convenience Services Industry

As organizations modify their operations and procedures to best keep employees and customers safe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping across our nation and the world, the need to safely provide food and beverage options remains critical.  

Federal and State governments, along with the CDC, are encouraging social distancing, including reducing or eliminating face-to-face encounters with alternative options such as contactless delivery and self-serve options.  In workplaces, this includes re-evaluating how food and beverages are offered to employees. For example, in the past weeks, many organizations have shuttered cafeterias to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 Recently the NIH and CDC released information on the Coronavirus’ lifespan on surfaces.

  • Airborne: 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Cardboard: 24 hours
  • Stainless Steel: 2 days
  • Plastic: 3 days

These guidelines have prompted many organizations to further re-evaluate self-serve convenience service options deployed in their organizations such as unattended retail markets.  The risks in these applications is that the food and beverage products are not controlled in such that consumers can pick-up products and return them to the shelves for the next consumer to handle.  With COVID-19 having up to a three-day lifespan on items such as bottled beverages and clamshell salad containers, unattended retail applications may pose a risk of being a spreading point within organizations.

Unlike unattended retail markets where consumers can access and return the food and beverage products, vending requires consumers to purchase the product(s) before the consumer is able to touch the product(s).  Just think in a micro market setting how many people before you may have picked up that plastic bottled beverage or salad in a plastic clamshell before you and put it back on the shelf.  

Besides the product itself having the opportunity to be handled by multiple people in a micro market application, another consideration is the cleanliness of micro market hardware itself.  For example, when consumers access products in micro markets they often come in contact with shelving holding the product. You have risk of direct exposure on the shelf itself, as well as transfer exposure from the product.  Being full secured access, this is not a concern or risk when it comes to vending, as only the operator has access to the interior of the machine including the shelving.

Vending offers the ultimate secured access solution and allows organizations to safely provide employees and consumers with food and beverage products, with little to no risk of contamination from numerous other individuals handling the product.

According to the European Vending Association, “Vending machines are a reliable and safe way to obtain food and beverages. Vending machine operators place food safety as top priority in their daily service, and are trained in protection against infections. During the current health crisis, operators have also put in place measures to ensure that the disinfection of machine surfaces is also carried out as regularly as possible.”

For more information or other equipment questions, please contact Intelligent Dispensing Solutions at 1-877-771-4446. 

What products are recommended to safely clean and disinfect vending equipment? Check back soon to find out in Part II.

Healthy Vending in Schools

Across the country, there are debates occurring about whether or not schools should have vending machines. Some people claim that providing vending machines in schools contributes to the obesity problem in the United States. While this could be the case in some schools, providing healthy meals, snacks and beverages in schools actually promote healthy eating among students.

Vending machines in schools are able to provide so much more than just candy and soda. In fact, they have the capability to offer full meals to students, in addition to healthy snacks and beverages. This would allow students to purchase breakfast and lunch from the machines during school hours. Since students are often involved in after school activities, vending machines can provide them with snacks to help get them through until it is time to go home. Providing this service allows schools to win back sales that were otherwise lost to convenience stores and fast-food restaurants.

Installing vending machines in schools decreases congestion and long wait times in cafeteria check-out lines by allowing for multiple sale points for students, as opposed to one single line. Schools are also able to reduce labor costs by having vending machines, as staff are no longer needed to serve food before and after school and fewer staff are needed to serve lunch during the day. Another feature of these machines is that they can be set up to accept cash, credit/debit cards and meal/POS accounts, so parents can know what their children are eating throughout the day. 

Providing students with easy access to healthy food through vending machines is the perfect teaching opportunity. It gives students the chance to learn first-hand what happens when they fuel their bodies with healthy foods and beverages, as opposed to sugary beverages. Students who make healthy nutrition choices have a better chance to succeed academically than those who eat foods that are not nutritious.

Arguments can be made to deny schools to have access to vending machines, but it is hard to deny that, if done correctly, having vending machines in schools helps set students up for success. Click here to learn more about healthy vending in schools or give us a call at 1-855-570-2673.

The Brain of Our Machines

Managing inventory control, no matter what industry you are in, can be a real challenge. This is especially true if you are unsure about where your inventory is going and who has access to what. Our controlled dispensing machines simplifies this for you with the help of iQ Technology.

iQ Technology is the brain of IDS’ dispensing machines. It is a cloud-based system that gives managers complete control and customization of supply dispensers and the associated inventory. It allows managers to track sales remotely and create unique point-of-sale displays for all employees. You can now have complete control over your supply room by putting supplies into dispensers and tracking who is checking out what merchandise. In addition to that, managers can tailor usage restrictions on an individual basis. If a certain individual is going through an unusually high amount of highlighters, for example, you can put a limit on how many they can access every month. 

With iQ Technology, you have direct access to its dashboard. This dashboard includes the system’s health and the dispense overview, so you know how much inventory you have left. It will also allow you to make note of an item that may have run out too quickly. In addition to the dashboard feature, there are a number of software features that allow iQ Technology to run smoothly. It gives you 24/7 cloud-based database access, so you can access reports anytime, anywhere. It will also give you automated real-time inventory and management reporting. 

Managers can receive various reports and alerts about their controlled dispensers with the help of iQ Technology. Reports will be sent whenever a user has exceeded his or her limit on items retrieved. Managers can also receive a usage summary, inventory consumption, restrock summary and so much more. These reports make it easy to stay on top of inventory counts and assures that your machine is working properly.

Tracking inventory can be a real challenge, especially when you do not have a system in place to track your current inventory. With iQ Technology. This issue can be fixed with ease. To learn more about iQ Technology and other systems IDS has to offer, give us a call at 1-855-942-0998 or click here to fill out our contact form. 

It’s Time to Take Back Control of Your EMS Equipment

In an emergency situation, EMS professionals need to be able to quickly access life-saving equipment and supplies. And, when every second counts, they do not have time to scour the supply closet, just to discover that the critical item they need is expired or out of stock. 

In order to comply with FDA and DEA federal guidelines and regulations, it is important for EMS professionals to be able to easily and accurately control who has access to what and then report on what was dispensed and the reason for the restock. This is especially important when it comes to controlled substances such as morphine or fentanyl. IDS’ inventory management solution for EMS professionals provides real-time accountability and streamlines this process.

A supply room closet just doesn’t cut it. When medication is accessible to multiple people, it is impossible to control who has access. With the UCapIt supply dispensers and supply lockers, you can put control and accountability back in your hands, ensuring that you are meeting the FDA and DEA guidelines.

There are multiple ways to identify your crew members to allow access to supplies and equipment with our EMS vending machines. Each method provides quick and controlled access to medical supplies, depending on your agency’s preference. Employees can be identified by either inputting a unique code on a pinpad, proximity, barcode, magnetic stripe or biometrics. As a manager, this will allow you to see who is accessing supplies, when they are accessing them and how much they are accessing through our proprietary iQ Technology software.

iQ Technology is a web-based system that provides real-time inventory reporting and inventory management. It allows you to see a number of reports about the items being dispensed such as a usage summary report, a transaction report and an inventory consumption report. Through iQ Technology, you will know where and when items are being dispensed, who is dispensing them and more. The system will allow you to optimize your par levels and order supplies before you are completely out, while also tracking the lot numbers and expiration dates.

You can never be too efficient when it comes to emergency situations. Let IDS streamline your supply chain management so you can focus on emergency response and patient care. Get started today by giving us a call at 1-855-570-2673.

Provide Employees with Instant Access to the Supplies They Need, When They Need Them

Hardware administration and asset management can be a headache for the IT service desk.  Some organizations utilize the open supply closet approach. With this approach comes uncertainty, frustration, and wasted productivity.  For example, it could be extremely unorganized where you know it will take too long to find what you are looking for. Or even worse, perhaps it is locked and you can never seem to track down an IT service desk rep when your mouse battery has died. 

Did you know you can eliminate your supply room headaches for both your IT service desk staff and users with a Supply Dispenser or a Supply Locker from IDS?  Many companies who wish to streamline their IT processes and bring flexibility to their employees have been turning to smart vending machines to assist the IT service desk.  These IT office vending machines also track supply inventory and asset utilization on back-end systems.

IDS’ Supply Dispensers or ‘smart vending machines’ are the perfect inventory supply management solution for any office environment, whether it be finance, healthcare, professional services, or tech.  Since one organization can have multiple Supply Dispensers dispersed at various places in the office building or across the office campus, employee productivity will increase. For example, instead of having one central supply close, with Supply Dispensers at multiple locations, employees only have to travel to the Supply Dispenser closest to their work area rather than the central supply closet which may be much farther from their work area.   

Do you have larger IT and office supply items such as keyboards or laptops that may not fit into a Supply Dispenser?  Or perhaps you would like an inventory asset management solution for reusable assets. IDS Supply Lockers provide secure storage and dispensing of larger consumables and reusable assets. Our Supply Lockers keep your employees accountable by using a simple check-in and check-out system. Plus, these lockers can be used for will-call, asset management, loan periods and more. 

Using IDS’ Supply Dispensers is simple, as you just scan your ID and dispense the item you need.  There is no need to spend time tracking down an IT service desk rep to open the supply closet or digging through a messy supply closet searching for the specific item you need. With a swipe of your employee badge and the peripheral is logged against your name and tracked at the inventory end.

Decreasing wait times for IT service requests lets workers access replacement laptops to keep them working. A week-long process to get a new laptop can now be supplied in minutes leading to a rise in productivity and associated improvement on returns on investments.

With IDS’ Supply Dispensers and Lockers, office supplies and IT peripherals can be maintained instantly to better manage your stocks. IT will become more efficient, save costs, and improve employee satisfaction.  

Automated supply dispensing allows IT staff and employees to work more efficiently. It also allows companies to monitor the cost, deployment, and use of those supplies to make sure that office supplies and IT peripherals are accounted for.

Automating the distribution of necessary hardware such as keyboards, mice, headsets, cables, and other peripherals keeps employees productive and gives them the business products they want.  With IDS office and IT inventory asset management solutions, your employees will have convenient, secure access supplies they need, no matter what time of day it is. Call us today at 1-855-570-2673 to learn more.

Intelligent Dispensing Solutions Introduces PUSH-IT, a New Tray Delivery System

PUSH-IT

Intelligent Dispensing Solutions (IDS), a leading hardware and software provider of inventory management solutions, is pleased to introduce PUSH-IT, a new tray delivery system.  PUSH-IT allows customers to dispense larger items from our vending machines while also creating operating efficiencies. With no coils, PUSH-IT allows for greater capacity per selection and is adaptable to a wide variety of premium products, including different types, sizes, weight, and form factors including boxed items. 

For example, in the IDS SD5000-R refrigerated supply dispenser, 17 1.1” x 3” x 1.1” 10 mL vial boxes of Lorazepam injection solution fit per selection with PUSH-IT, while only 14 boxes fit per selection with a standard coil.  Likewise, in the SD-5000 supply dispenser, seven 6.9” x 5.3” x 2.5” inch boxes of landline phone hands-free headsets fit per selection with PUSH-IT, while only six boxes fit per selection with a standard coil. 

The PUSH-IT Delivery System is user-friendly and allows for flexible product configuration. Since there are no coils, selections are easily and quickly re-configurable infield without additional parts and it is reversible to accommodate extra-wide products. In addition, PUSH-IT provides a quicker restocking process than coils and eliminates any missed or empty slots occurring during the restock process.  PUSH-IT is strong and durable, able to push up to 15 pounds per selection or 30 pounds with paired devices.

With clear gates replacing obtrusive coils, PUSH-IT allows users to see the full products face on with no tilt or label obstruction, allowing them to better view the products and become informed by easily viewing the full front product label.  In addition, PUSH-IT eliminates the possibility of the products rotating in the selection when a product is vended from the selection, a nuisance that often occurs with coils.

“The PUSH-IT tray system enables clients to vend a wide variety of packaging. In addition, they can instantly change selection configuration width at no expense and with no additional parts required. The absence of coils dramatically speeds up restocking increasing productivity,” commented Jim Dillingham, President and Owner, Vend-ucation.

To see PUSH-IT in action click HERE.  For more information on the PUSH-IT tray delivery system or any other IDS products, please contact IDS by calling 1-877-771-4446 or visit www.idsvending.com.

Increase Productivity While Decreasing Costs

Productivity is something that no workplace should take for granted. This is especially true in a healthcare setting. When every second counts, doctors, nurses and surgical technicians cannot afford to waste time waiting for clean scrubs or searching for the right size in a messy storage closet. Your organization also cannot afford to waste money on replacing scrubs that are accidentally thrown away or taken home by your employees. You do not want to risk spreading healthcare associated infections (HAIs) by not properly processing your scrubs. Our simple solution? IDS’ ScrubTrak machine.

ScrubTrak vending machine customers have saved tens of thousands of dollars in their facilities by reducing annual scrub purchases by 90% and saving 35% in laundering costs. Our system allows you to have full control over your scrub inventory by tracking who is gaining access to your scrubs. Now, they simply scan their ID and choose to dispense their saved scrub set or pick a new size if they wish. It also ensures that unauthorized users do not have access to your scrubs.

One of the biggest benefits of our ScrubTrak machines is that they can be placed in multiple locations throughout your facility. Having satellite locations as opposed to one central hub cuts down on the amount of time people have to stand in line and wait for scrubs, as well as decreases the travel time of doctors and nurses. Instead, they find the closest machine and either dispense their scrubs or get new scrubs. It also cuts down on employees having to dig through scrubs to find the right size. Now, they simply have to scan their ID, choose a size and the machine will dispense their scrubs. It is that easy!

Infection control is a major concern in hospitals. Utilizing an open closet, as opposed to the ScrubTrak solution, puts your employees at risk of taking infectious diseases out into the public, and even your house. By installing Scrubtrak, you ensure that your hospital’s scrub policy is being adhered to and you are reducing the risk of spreading infectious bacteria and HAI’s. 

Do not take workplace productivity and safety for granted. Give us a call at 1-855-570-2673 and let us help you get started today.

We’re Heading to Orlando for “Work”

We are excited to be heading to gorgeous Orlando, Florida November 9-13 for the Service Management World Show. IDS will be showing off our helpful solutions for managing office and technology supplies. The Service Management World Show from HDI is a great opportunity to hear from service management experts and learn about the latest trends in the industry.

The IDS iVendTech solution reduces costs from untracked office and IT supplies and increases employees’ productivity. Our machines are simple to use, they work 24/7, they don’t take breaks or need vacation time.  

Supply dispensers provide instant access for employees to IT products and other essential office supplies.

“I used to be inundated with requests for IT peripherals and other office supplies, said Kyle Williams, IT Support Specialist at GoSpotCheck.”But since implementing the vending machines these requests have dropped to almost none.”

Kyle Williams, IT Support Specialist at GoSpotCheck.

Daniel Bolens is the Desktop Services Specialist at JAMF Software. He calls the IDS iVendTech machines the “perfect solution.” After researching other suppliers he determined “IDS had the best technological solution.”

Daniel Bolens, Desktop Services Specialist at
JAMF Software

For more information about our iVendTech machines for your office and IT supply management give us a call at 1-877-771-4446.

Is your Fitness Center in Shape?

Intelligent Dispensing Solutions reaches across many industries to help companies increase profit and maximize their resources. IDS vending machines and lockers for Fitness Centers makes it convenient and easy for gym members to find the supplies they need and makes workout facilities the go-to place to find what they’re looking for. The IDS Fitness Center brings nutritional and fitness essentials right to those that want them. Workout facilities can use IDS machines to increase profit while meeting a need among their clientele.

The IDS Fitness Center is capable of dispensing large packed products like bulk containers and bags, to small individually packaged samples. The machines can also dispense refrigerated beverages and shakes. Our Fitness Center locker and vending machine system can be set up as a standalone dispensing unit, or include satellite lockers giving you expendability for a variety of products.

The IDS Fitness Center is configurable and expandable for a wide range of products. The machines off secure dispensing, cash and credit card payment options and web-based interface. Third-party POS integration includes Bar Code, PIN code, Mag Stripe and PROX Card.

All transactions are secure. You can customize your IDS Fitness Center with your logo on the outside of the machine, too. Our Fitness machines easily integrate with ABC Financial software as well. This way customers can use their gym membership or ID card to pay for their products.

IDS will be at the Club Industry Show at the Hilton Chicago October 10 and 11. We will be showing off our equipment and would love to answer any questions you have about how our machines can increase your fitness center’s profit. Please call us today at 1-877-771-4446!

How Can Will Call Lockers Help Your Business?

Companies want to cut costs and customers want efficiency purchasing experience. Intelligent Dispensing Solutions’ Will Call Lockers are helping companies sell items online without having to staff an employee at their location to work the pick up desk.

You can fill the lockers at a time that is best for you. When the item purchased is placed in the locker and the door is shut, a one time pickup code is sent to the customer, so they can come pick up their purchase. The lockers bring customers into the store. This way they see other items to purchase and develop a bond with your brand or business. Lockers can also be placed in secure locations outside of your store so your customers can access their items outside of store hours. 

IDS equipment works for all types of businesses and locations. A bookstore, copy center or dry cleaner probably only needs one size of locker, but if you’re supplying parts, mail, or groceries multiple locker sizes may be best. We can also pair lockers to a vending machine so they can best dispense your product. IDS is happy to work with employee access card or IDs you are already using.

Great customer service is important to any successful organization. IDS Will Call Lockers are a productive way for your customers to have a positive and efficient online purchasing experience. Contact us today with your needs and we will work to customize equipment that is perfect for your business. We look forward to helping you work smarter and more efficiently. Call IDS at 1-877-771-4446.