Vending machines are the ultimate “just-in-time” product delivery method. When hunger strikes, vending machines come to the rescue with an assortment of convenient food options. However, keeping those machines well-stocked—and thus profitable—is a very labor-intensive effort. Since the introduction of vending machines to the food service industry, operators have relied on manual inspections of machines to monitor product inventories and maintenance needs. Drivers follow established schedules and routes, restocking machines and performing repairs as needed. Without current inventory information, drivers face the unknown—be it supply shortages or unnecessary stocking trips—every time they run their routes. Machine maintenance is often delayed because problems are only detected during scheduled visits, and sales can stagnate when fast-selling products aren’t restocked quickly enough. Every day, the inefficiency of operating without accurate, up-to-date inventory data costs operators significant time and money.
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