Understanding Industrial Vending
Industrial Vending is not a phrase people would necessarily understand unless they work in an industrial environment. Typically, vending machines are associated with food or drinks dispensing in the wider context. However, those who are aware of industrial vending would first think of a hardware machine.
This is quite normal - after all, you can’t really have industrial vending without it. There has to be somewhere for the vital components, tools, consumables and other inventory items to be stored so they can be accessed when needed by shopfloor colleagues.
Vending machines, lockers, carousel systems, etc. have all become a familiar sight in facilities worldwide, as manufacturers in all sectors have sought to gain control of their inventory, primarily by restricting access to certain items to drive down purchase costs, avoid stock-outs and optimize overall inventory management.
Application of Industrial Vending Solutions
While this is good news, recent years have seen a realization that inventory management can offer much more than just stopping employees from taking more than their allocated share of cutting tools, gloves, batteries, and so on. It can also help with managing assets in logistics depots, distribution centers, and warehouses, telling you who has accessed and removed a scanner or an IT asset such as a tablet computer, when they took it, and whether it has been returned: the same software and hardware but for different applications.
The ability for Intelligent inventory equipment to link directly to the Cloud and provide extensive and highly detailed real-time data on usage means that inventory management is now about much, much more than the storage and allocation medium itself: it is a genuine, value-adding business service.
The control element is still there, of course, but that is a small part of the story. Combining the equipment with state-of-the-art software allows companies to track usage patterns, identify wasteful consumption, see which inventory items are being used more than anticipated, and so on.
Effective Vending is proven with an industry-standard of 25%-40% reduction in consumption.
All of this can be recorded and viewed in real-time, informing operational decision-making by allowing companies to act rapidly and responsively when needed – whether it is to further restrict access, provide additional training on component usage, change the component used, or track down ‘squirrel stock’ being held by individuals around the facility, who don’t want to keep returning to the vending outlet when they need replacements.
These are all vital tools in the driver for ever greater efficiency and competitiveness in today’s increasingly challenging markets. After all, costs and working capital must be minimised as far as possible in all areas - and that includes inventory.
Industrial vending for inventory management does provide control and that’s proven with the industry standard of 25% -40% reduction in consumption. But it can give facility managers so much more. Get in touch with SupplyPoint today to discover how.
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