Track Inventory Remotely with Custom Vending Machines

custom vending machinesOne of the cost-effective advantages of a remote vending machine is that they don’t require an attendant. Unlike a snack bar that needs to have at least one person overseeing it during hours of operation, a vending machine is ready to dispense food, drinks of other items at any hour of the day without the need for a cashier or server, saving you unnecessary costs while making you money. However, that same advantage can also become a concern to vending machine owners or lessees: Left unattended, stock can run low, making the machine less profitable. What’s more, it can be difficult to keep track of the revenue the machine is generating, or to make changes in the types of stock it dispenses based on use levels and customer preferences.

The good news is that custom vending machines with iQ technology let you track your inventory and your revenue remotely from any device that has an Internet connection–including your smartphone. You can even track usage levels so you can tailor the products you offer to the changing needs of the customers you’re serving and even identify when machines may be underperforming. And that means you can be responsive to changes that have a big impact on your machines’ profits and your own bottom line.

Good Items to Embrace, and Bad Items to Avoid in Your Gym Vending Machine

main-get-fit-work-dont-fear-the-vending-machine_0Many people still picture vending machines as units filled with snacks, sodas or other unhealthy items. Not only is this an antiquated idea at this point, but in today’s modern society it actually couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many healthcare facilities are using vending machines to dispense medical supplies and other items, for example. Even gyms are getting in on the fun, with vending machines filled with the types of healthy items necessary to compliment a great workout. If you’re looking to add a vending machine to your gym, however, it’s just as important to know what you should NOT stock as it is knowing what you should.

Items to Avoid

Out of all the items that you should avoid in your gym vending machine, honey buns, cinnamon rolls and more may be the worst. While they make make sense, especially if you’re trying to consider those early morning fitness gurus in search of a good breakfast, some of them have as many calories as you would get in an entire meal.

Doritos and other types of flavored snacks should also likely be avoided, but not necessarily for the reason you might think. While these snacks don’t necessarily have a huge amount of calories, they are also low in fiber and high in salt – a combination that people working out absolutely do not need.

Items to Embrace

Dry fruit is a great option for putting in your gym vending machine for a very simple reason: they’re high in the types of fiber and vitamins that people working out need at that period of time. Microwave popcorn is also a great option to put in these nutritional vending machines as it is high in fiber and antioxidants.

Intelligent Dispensing Solutions

If you’re looking for the perfect nutritional item vending machine to compliment your gym, Intelligent Dispensing Solutions has a wide range of options, such as vending machines and smart secure lockers, that are up to the challenge. Not only can you install vending machines to dispense everything from sports drinks to weight gloves, but these solutions also allow you to cut back on the amount of staff that is required to work in your gym overnight. Not only will your patrons be happy, but you can save a significant amount of money at the same time.

A vending machine no longer has to be just for chips, candy, soda and other unhealthy items. Gyms all over the world are proving that they’re also a great way to make sure that your customers have access to all of the items that they need after a terrific workout. By understanding which items you should be avoiding in your gym vending machine, you’ll go a long way towards making sure that you’re always giving your customers exactly what they’re looking for at all times.

School Supply Vending Machine & Healthy Snack Alternatives | Why Students Love Them

School Supply Vending Machine & Healthy Snack Alternatives - Why Students Love Them

In recent years, vending machines in schools have become a huge source of debate. There are some parents who believe that if their child purchases a snack from a vending machine, they will choose something unhealthy, such as chips, cookies, soda or candy. But this is not always the case. In fact, thanks to modern refrigerated vending machine technology, nutritionists on staff, and other factors, schools are making smarter and healthier options regarding what they offer their students. This means children can choose a healthy snack from a vending machine, while the school benefits from the profits.

Making a Healthy Selection

Schools have the option to choose healthy snack alternatives, if desired. They can select from healthy crackers, trail mix, fruit snacks, baked chips, Special K bars and more. There are also schools that implement the 100 calorie packs of cookies, to provide something sweet. This is all by choice. While vending machine suppliers will provide whatever is requested, it is up to the schools to request the healthier options.

Student’s Views on Vending Machines

Kids love the idea of vending machines in schools they can quickly and easily choose what they want to eat. This offers a sense of independence that most kids appreciate, especially as they get older. And by providing healthy alternatives, adults are still helping to guide them in their decision making.

Other Benefits Offered by Vending Machines in Schools

Another benefit offered by placing vending machines in schools is the profit. The extra funds are able to go toward other things that the school needs, such as books, computers, art supplies, etc. The money may also go to sports teams or even after school clubs.

Yet another benefit of the integration of vending machines in schools is the fact that they provide children with options if they forget their lunch, or do not want what the cafeteria is serving that day. This ensures that each child receives something to eat and they do not have to go hungry or thirsty during the day.

Other Purposes of Vending Machines

In addition to providing food and drinks for students, there are also school supply vending machines. This means if a child does not have paper, pencils or anything else required during the day, they can purchase what they need quickly and easily from a vending machine.

They key to reaping all the benefits offered by healthy snack and school supply vending machines is to find a quality vending machine manufacturer who will ensure the school gets the type of machine necessary for their students. Doing so will help ensure all the benefits highlighted here. Take some time to research the vending machine services for schools to feel confident in the decision that is made and the vending machine that is selected.

Ways to Keep Track of Inventory

Keeping track of your vending machines’ inventory is a vitally important part of maintaining strong sales: No one wants to see a half-stocked machine, and when an item is really popular, you want to make sure levels stay high so you can take advantage of that popularity.

There are three primary ways to track and control inventor:

Vending Machine

  • Go “old school” and track by hand: Grab that clipboard and pen and get to counting. Tracking by hand may have once been the standard, but by today’s standards, it’s tedious and an unproductive use of time.
  • Use a spreadsheet: Excel offers lots of customizability and it’s certainly more efficient than keeping track by hand. But this method still requires manual entry, and that means it can still be time-consuming.
  • Tap into vending machine inventory tracking and management technology: IDS’ iQ technology vending machines represents the most advanced inventory tracking system available for vending machine operators. iQ lets you track your inventory remotely from your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone – any device that has an Internet connection. You can even check the income from cashless machines that let customers use credit cards to securely make purchases.

Inventory control has come a long way in the last few years. Using an inventory tracking system like iQ lets vending business owners spend less time counting stock and more time building a successful vending business.

Vending Machines Aren’t Just for Snacks

                  It is most common for people to associate vending machines as only serving food and drinks. However, more and more we are seeing vending machines that have a variety of uses besides dispensing food. Businesses are understanding the value of convenience and the ease with which products can be stored and delivered in non-food vending machines. Vending machines also provide a secure location for items and easy tracking and inventory information.

                  Companies are learning that vending machines help them get their products in front of their possible customers sooner. A recent Small Business Trends article titled “Vending Machines Aren’t Just for Snacks Anymore” noted that companies are selling jackets and headphones out of electronics vending machines in airports. Vending machines help companies go to their customers rather than on relying their customers coming to them. In addition to airports, schools and universities are becoming popular places to place non-traditional vending machines.  These machines can help travelers that are missing something they want for their trip or a student who needs a piece of technology for class.  Fitness centers are also great places to reach a target market through automated dispensing. Just like in traditional snack vending where location is important and a business profits when they can take their product to where people interested in their product already are.

iVendTech Satellite Machine

                  Organizations are also learning how vending machines are efficient and cost effective ways to get necessary supplies to their own employees. Businesses can use vending machines to track supplies, so they know exactly who is taking the supplies, and can limit how many workers can take. Employees can also take supplies 24/7 and do not need to wait on anyone else to access what they need. Intelligent Dispensing Solutions had been very successful helping hospitals dispense and sort their scrubs and other medical supplies. IDS also has helped fire departments track and dispense emergency supplies. Improved inventory management with vending machines is helping organizations save money and better serve their workers.

             We will let other companies get customers snacks and drink. We are proud to be on the cutting edge of automated inventory management systems helping businesses save time and money. Helping companies develop automated retail plans to reach their target market is important to us. Intelligent Dispensing Solutions is excited about the future of vending and the growing awareness and opportunities to vend non-food items. Do you have an idea of something you would like to vend but need helping making it happen? Contact us today at 1-877-771-4446. We would love to learn how we can serve you!

The University of California, Santa Barbara Offers Students Broad Range of Materials in Vending Machine

Seeing vending machines on campus is nothing new for college students. Coffee, soft drinks, water, snacks, and even pre-made sandwiches are just a few push buttons away. A new resolution before the University of California Santa Barbara student Senate would re-establish school supply vending machines on campus.

The proposed bill, A Resolution to Re-Establish the School Supply Vending Machines Group Projects, was authored by student Senators Isabelle Ninh and Lacy Wright. The proposed legislation before the campus’ 2015-2016 student government would place test supply vending machines in the campus’ Pardall Center. Initially, the school supply vending machine would dispense test supplies such as blue books, Parscores, and other testing materials.

Senator Matthew Santos first pitched the idea to the 2014-2015 student Senate. He, along with Senators Ninh and Wright will be responsible for monitoring the machine inventory, making changes to meet student needs, and determining what should be done with the revenue. According to Santos, Students would benefit from the machine in more than just having handy blue books. He would like to see the revenue to toward offsetting student fees. In particular, Santos proposed, “…we want the money to go to the AS Innovation Fund, which has the purpose of offsetting student fees through the generated interest.”

If the resolution is successful, UC Santa Barbara will join other universities, such as Penn State, in making life for their students a little easier by offering school supplies to their students around the clock. These automated machines dispense a wide variety of school supplies and can be linked to student debit accounts or can accept traditional credit cards and/or cash.

Intelligent Dispensing Solutions specializes in these unique types of vending machines. Our office and school vending machines can be customized to meet any need that you have. With our iQ Technology, you will rest easy in the assurance that your customer data is safe while receiving up to the minute sales data that will help you make important decisions about inventory and generate additional income.

Photo Credit: Photo by Mathew Burciaga, Layout Editor

Reduce Employee Potential Expose to COVID-19 Through Controlled Dispensing Solutions for Office and IT Supplies

IDS’ iVendTech provides a seamless transaction experience to allow employees to easily access office and IT supplies without direct, face-to-face interaction with other employees

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, it is more important than ever to ensure that employers are protecting their on-site employees by providing a safe, sanitary work environment. As a result, many organizations are evaluating and adapting their workplace processes and procedures.

This includes transitioning workforces to working remotely. However, there are many organizations that require some or all of their staff to be on-site due to the essential nature of the products and services they provide, as well as the job functions of the employees. For onsite employees, social distancing and reducing the need for face-to-face interaction is critical.  Social distancing can be accomplished by utilizing contactless interactions when possible. For example, companies across many industries are utilizing technology for virtual meetings and implementing solutions such as controlled dispensing to limit the interactions between employees. 

As companies put in place measures to limit face-to-face interactions and encourage social distancing, it is also important to reduce the handling of critical supplies, such as office supplies and IT assets, as much as possible by limiting contact points.  According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifespan of the Coronavirus can vary based on different surfaces and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to three days. 

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

Intelligent Dispensing Solutions provides controlled dispensing solutions, specifically for office supplies and IT assets through its brand iVendTech.  iVendTech offers a contactless transaction experience through controlled dispensing to allow employees to easily access office and IT supplies without direct, face-to-face interaction with other employees. 

The above CDC guidelines have prompted many organizations to re-evaluate the ticket process and resolution methods utilized by their IT help/service desks.  The risks in traditional IT help/service desk applications are due to the face-to-face interaction and hand-off exchanges of IT assets and hardware between the service desk team members and employees.  

Many of IDS’ iVendTech customers enjoy the self-serve, streamlined asset acquisition and ticket process from a convenience perspective. In addition, they recognize the advantages from an employee’s health and safety perspective through the ability to secure assets via contactless transactions. “IDS’ dispensing solution has completely transformed our organization.  We used to be inundated with requests for IT peripheral and other office supplies, but since implementing iVendTech these requests have dropped significantly. Plus, employees love that they can access all supplies they need 24/7 without waiting for assistance from the IT staff,” said Kyle Williams, Senior IT Manager at Fastly (previously IT Manager at GoSpotCheck).

With COVID-19 having up to a three-day lifespan on supplies such as laptops, batteries, and headsets, face-to-face IT help/service desk interactions may pose a risk of being a spreading point within organizations.  Another advantage to IDS’ iVendTech solution is the ability to limit access to products for a certain period of time to ensure that any virus transfer or contamination risk is eliminated.  

For instance, the IT employee can fill the supply dispenser or locker and then place the selection or compartment out of service until a specified date/time.  Plus, IDS supply dispensers offer first-in-first-out loading. This ensures the newest products loaded into the office PPE vending machine will not be dispensed until the older products in that selection have been dispensed, which further reduces any risks due to transfer on the supplies.

Unlike open supply closets, in which multiple employees can access and return office supplies and IT assets, controlled dispensing through iVendTech’s supply dispensers and supply lockers require employees to only access the specific product and quantity they need. The employee must be verified for access before the supply is dispensed and the employee is able to touch the item.  Just think, in an open supply closet setting, how many people before you may have picked up those AA batteries or headset and put it back on the shelf. With controlled dispensing, your supplies are at a much lower risk of contamination by being handled by fewer individuals.

Besides the supply itself having the opportunity to be handled by multiple people in an open supply closet setting, another consideration is the cleanliness of the supply closet itself.  For example, when employees access products in supply closets they often come in contact with shelving or bins housing the supplies, the supply closet door handle and other areas within the supply closet.  You have an increased risk of direct exposure on the shelf itself and door handle, as well as transfer exposure from the product. With being fully secured within the supply dispenser or locker, this is not a concern or risk, as only the IT help desk/ service desk employees have access to the interior of the machine, including the shelving within.

Another advantage of IDS’ iVendTech solution is the real-time data and reporting capability through its proprietary iQ Technology software.  iQ Technology allows administrators to track who accessed what item(s), when they accessed the item(s), and the quantity of the item they accessed.  This chain of custody is critical when identifying and mitigating risks in a crisis situation, as well as is useful on an inventory management basis during normal operating circumstances.

With the current situation with COVID-19, it is essential that supplies are not being passed among multiple individuals, whether it be office supplies or tech supplies.  Having a solution in place, such as iVendTech, to manage and track inventory, as well as protect employees who are managing and consuming that inventory from contamination reduces an organization’s risk and also helps protect the well-being and health of employees.

Having a plan in place to keep your business operational during crisis situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, starts with protecting your most critical asset – your employees.  iVendTech can help. As you are evaluating and initiating your response plan, we want to help you keep your employees safe, while providing a solution that increases productivity within your organization and reduces costs by eliminating the shrinkage of office supplies and IT assets.

For more information on iVendTech office vending machines and other dispensing equipment, contact 1-877-771-4446.

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.

https://youtu.be/Gx7S540dE3Y

“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.

Vending Medical Supplies for Savings and Safety

Separating the business of health care from health care itself is sometimes a little harder than we would like it to be. We would like to think of the resources as endless and priceless. We would assume our safety is not simply an issue of punching a clock. Of course, for the hands-on people working in a medical office or other kind of health clinic, that is probably the case. No one got into this business to make a killing.

That said, supplies remain important and the office’s ability to administer care can be negatively affected by any unnecessary “breakage” or unexpected loss of medical supplies. This is why an office vending machine loaded with rubber gloves, gauze, and a variety of other necessary medical supplies can actually help with overhead and day-to-day operations in equal measure.

A custom vending machine will assure the institution’s medical supplies are readily available at all times. It will also assure that a wrong move in a supply closet does not result in the contamination of large swaths of medical supplies. Safety is a boon for medical workers and those in management alike–one less stressful variable in a stressful environment.

Top 4 Complaints Office Managers Hear Every Day

Office managers have the unique task of toeing the line between helpful coworker and strict supervisor. While the role and duties of an office manager varies from organization to organization, the crux of the position is the same: to ensure that all employees are equipped to perform the tasks they were hired to do – while keeping them happy with their work environment. According to a Gallup Poll, 24% of workers are “actively disengaged” at work, meaning they dislike their work environment.

Identifying the top 5 common office problems that you, the office manager, will most likely hear within a week of beginning your role is important; once you know the potential issues you’ll have to solve for your employees you’re one step ahead of the game in keeping them happy!

 

PROBLEM 1: “I feel like I’m being micromanaged!”

SOLUTION 1: We understand the importance of tracking logs being kept to monitor office supply takeouts, but what if there was a way your employees could get what they need without feeling like their day is being ruined by processes? With our solutions, there is. IDS makes it easy for all inventory to be tracked while removing the need to put your employees through an excruciating process (not to mention expensive production downtime!)

 

PROBLEM 2: “My computer mouse/keyboard/webcam keeps breaking!”

SOLUTION 2: IDS’s office supply vending machines solve this problem by allowing employees to retrieve new keyboards, mouses, and other office peripherals on their own – without involving IT. This solution also grants you more insight into what supplies are needed and which are extraneous.

 

PROBLEM 3: I can never find batteries when I need them!

SOLUTION 3: We live in a wireless world, and IDS recognizes the important of giving your employees easy access to batteries. Without machines, no one needs to go digging through a supply closet just to find a set of “double As”

 

PROBLEM 4: “I’m getting behind on my work”

SOLUTION 4: Because our electronics vending machine, featuring an elevator lift for fragile objects, makes it so easy for employees to get the equipment they need quickly, IDS keeps your workforce operating efficiently. This increases your bottom line not only by reducing down time but also by allowing your employees to continue providing timely service to your customers.