Wednesday, October 20, 2010

High-tech Vending Machines - Not Your Grandpa's Vendors!

The vending industry has been very slow to react to tech-trends and changes in consumer eating habits. Consider that most vending machines in use today feature basically the same product selection, look and features (or lack thereof) of vending machines from 20-30 years ago. In fact, many vending machine operators still use old, out-dated machines from the 70's and 80's...and boy do they look like it!

Note the boxy design, dirty glass, the liberal use of faux metal trim and not-quite-black-yet-not-quite-brown color pallet. This machine lacks the classy faux wood trim found on some very old machines, but still manages to tell both clients and employees, "we don't care!"

Fortunately, I am very picky about design and I'm an absolute tech-geek who loves fancy new gadgets (especially anything involving infra-red lasers or remote data transfer via wireless networks). Lucky for me, in the past few years, the vending industry has begun to make accommodations for such features. This means all of our Lean Machines are loaded with cool stuff such as:

  • Debit/Credit Card Readers: Just swipe your card and start making selections! Simple as that! No more flattening and fumbling with small bills or digging around for change!
  • Remote Inventory Monitoring:  Newer vending machines feature the ability to transmit inventory and accounting data to small hand-held devices which are plugged into a special port inside the machine. Our machines take this one step further. The same network topology used to send secure payment data is also used to send the vending machine's DEX file, which keeps track of the machine's inventory and any error messages or malfunctions recorded. We are able to access this data remotely via computers, laptops and even cell phones. If inventory gets low on a certain product, or your machine is malfunctioning for some reason, we will be on top of it right away!
  • Infra-Red Vend Assurance Sensors from iVend™: You're familiar with the laser security systems featured in many action movies, right? Well this is kinda like that, except instead of detecting intruders, the iVend™ infra-red laser system detects products. If you pay for a product, and the sensors don't detect that it's fallen into the delivery tray, the system will attempt to vend the product again. If the product isn't detected after the second attempt, your money will be returned and the iVend™ system will tell the machine to consider this product sold out and disable vending for this selection. The machine will remotely notify us of the problem and we will come out to correct it asap. 
  • High-Quality Machines: While not the most luxurious or exciting feature, having the newest, highest-quality vendors in the industry is very important! In addition to looking amazing, these machines are second-to-none in build-quality. This means they will be very reliable, energy efficient and hassle-free!
  • Gorgeous Custom Graphics: We looked at A LOT of vending machine graphics...and I mean A LOT! We searched far and wide for attractive graphics that would look great in any environment without being cheesy or gimmicky. We didn't find any. Every graphic we found was either downright ugly, or looked like a giant billboard with cheesy tag lines, ugly colors and bad graphics! So we designed our own! We sincerely believe these are the best looking machines in the industry (and we should know!) 
Now THAT is a vending machine! USI model VT5000 with nice modern lines, beautiful photo instead of cheesy computer-generated graphics, very simple text...not to mention all the high-tech features under the hood!

If that's still not enough for you, consider our amazing line-up of delicious, nutritious and popular products and you've really got a winning combination! If you'd like a Lean Machine vendor installed at your workplace please contact us to get started!

Evan Kolpack
Lean Machines Healthy Vending - Seattle, WA

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