Industrial vending machines lead to savings

Joseph Bazor has noticed increased savings in supplies since Johnson Controls Inc. installed industrial vending machines in its work areas.

The all-access concept puts tools such as safety gloves and goggles, duct tape, drill bits and other office supplies on hand 24 hours a day in a vending machine similar to those that dispense snacks and confectionery.

Called the Fast 5000, the machine is connected to the Internet and requires a code or other tracking method to provide accountability among workers.

“The software gives us the ability to analyze and make decisions based on data rather than a gut feeling,” said Bazor. “We know the usage per person, per department and we know what items are consumed where.”

Buras said the company is billed for supply usage based on what is vended from the machine. A one-year contract includes a $40 monthly fee that pays for software, usage and web hosting. Machines are owned by Fastenal, which services, maintains and refills the machines, and tailors contents to a customer’s needs.

Attached are lockers that house larger items like hard hats and power tools that also can be checked out.

Bazor said it’s eliminated tool theft, which was once a major problem.

The Fast 5000 units function similarly to traditional vending machines but with sophisticated access controls and reporting.

To receive a product, workers scan identification cards or enter a code. If the request is accepted, the transaction is completed and tracked by the system.

Users can also be prompted to enter more information that would allow management to track usage accordingly.

Buras said Johnson Controls has had them for three years, and the popularity is increasing.

“When the machines go in, waste just about disappears. The savings varies from different customers but most average savings is about 30 percent,” Buras said. “A lot of that is reduction in usage because people are thinking about it before getting more supplies. It’s kind of the idea behind it.

Leave a Reply