INDIANAPOLIS – IVM Inc., a vending machine manufacturer based here says supply vending is changing the game and giving companies from all industries a competitive advantage through enhanced productivity and agility.
The Indianapolis-based company saw an opportunity to transform its vending machines into a business solution that it reports has now taken Silicon Valley by storm, with a client roster including Facebook, HP, Intel and Dropbox, among others.
“Our machines now serve as an enterprise IoT solution, providing real-time reporting on stock and supply usage,” said IVM Inc. president Mike Pitts. “IVM technology uses machine learning to predict and automate reordering, which provides companies with data that helps them make smarter decisions on how they are spending money on supplies.”
IVM machines typically dispense common tech peripherals
such as keyboards, mice, cables and other job-specific equipment directly to employees without the delay and administrative headaches associated with ordering them. Approved users simply walk up to a customized vending machine, swipe their employee badge and indicate the supplies they need. This eliminates most administrative steps needed, while stock is reported and maintained in real time to help better inform the number of supply orders.
Supply vending took off in 1993, when Union Pacific Railroad asked IVM to design something to help control how the company distributed its safety supplies, such as gloves and hard hats. The solution was onsite automated lockers that would store this gear and distribute it to employees via the swipe of a badge. This way, the company could track which employees were wearing their safety equipment and what supplies were utilized most.
Since then, Internet connectivity has also emerged on the scene, transforming IVM into a full-blown technology company focused on helping businesses automate their supply distribution — whether safety gear, laptops or keyboards. IVM’s machines evolved from vending simple equipment to storing essential technology tools, such as temporary laptops for Hewlett Packard (HP) employees. When their computers need to be fixed, employees at HP have easy access to a temporary PC through IVM automated lockers, and the company’s IT department can easily track each product through the data collected.
“Automated supply vending lets IT staff and employees work more efficiently,” Pitts said. “Our clients see immediate value upon implementation, whether its boosting employee satisfaction or cutting costs in the supply chain. It enables them to monitor the cost and use of supplies that employees need to do their jobs.”
This system allows companies to extend beyond the boundaries of traditional vending and utilize automated solutions that provide tangible business value. For example, IVM’s machines vend bike parts at Facebook’s on-campus bike shop so employees can always access the bike parts after hours. The machines reduce employee headaches, but more importantly, IVM explained, they streamline the invoice system by processing invoices and payments automatically.
IVM’s front- and back-end software alleviates stress for IT departments, as well as for employees who need to access supplies.”