Reduce Drug-Related Harm In Communities With Dispensing Solutions

Impact Exchange Case Study

Utilizing vending to support community-based harm reduction initiatives

Challenge

When it comes to providing life-saving resources, it is never too late to start thinking outside of the box and expanding your services to areas that you have not served before. That is exactly what Impact Exchange did when they began to consider expanding their services by providing harm reduction supplies through dispensing machines.

  1. Impact Exchange realized a lack of accessibility when it came to life-saving supplies. The overall goal of Impact Exchange was to start a program that would allow the community to have safe access to the harm reduction supplies they need.
  2. When searching for a solution, the Impact Exchange team looked for a way to monitor inventory and machine health directly from their phones.
  3. Impact Exchange had the vision to expand its services, without having to employ additional people.

“We wanted to make the dispensing of products easier and more accessible for people in our community,” said Chelsi Cheatom, the Program Manager at Impact Exchange. “This was a brand new program and a way to expand services throughout the community, without the cost of adding employees and building expenses.”

Through the help of Intelligent Dispensing Solutions, Impact Exchange was able to implement the Harm Reduction Center into their community.

The Process

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The overall goal for Impact Exchange was to provide harm reduction supplies such as sterile syringes and injection-related products, to people across the state of Nevada to prevent HIV and Hepatitis C. What originally started as one storefront location has turned into seven dispensing machines locations.

When implementing the Harm Reduction Dispensing Machine, something that was important to Impact

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 Exchange was the ability to track products and the usage of the machine.

Cheatom said, “We wanted to have access to our inventory system and be able to look at the inventory and usage from our phones.”

iQ Technology, UCapIt’s back-end system, met this need and more. iQ Technology provides comprehensive, real-time reports making it easy for Impact Exchange to have control and visibility over their inventory and the usage of the Harm Reduction Dispensing Machines.

The Result

Through the Harm Reduction Dispensing Machines, Impact Exchange was able to reduce the stigma for people who need to utilize their services.

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“A lot of times, people are facing a stigma when they walk into organizations looking to get help,” Cheatom said. “Having Harm Reduction Dispensing Machines and having it be anonymous helps a lot.”

Additionally, Impact Exchange has given people the opportunity to access NARCAN®, an overdose reversal medication.

Now, Impact Exchange works with community health organizations and local, state, and federal agencies who are looking to expand to dispensing services by hosting roundtables every other month, in conjunction with the Southern Nevada Health District. In these sessions, they discuss products in the machines, what to add to the machines, and more, creating awareness and reducing the stigma around those seeking help.

Would securely and conveniently dispensing harm reduction supplies help reduce health risks associated with drug use in your community? If so, contact UCapIt to schedule a live, personalized demo to see how our iQ Technology can help your organization.

About Impact Exchange

Impact Exchange is a storefront site committed to providing on-site consulting to the community for infectious disease prevention and harm reduction surrounding syringe use and disposal.

Is your retail store ready to take the plunge into unattended retail?

 

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In-store shopping remains the most significant source of retail revenues in the United States. While e-commerce grows as a part of overall retail, traditional in-store sales are where the bulk of the action is. This post is intended for those retailers and retail service providers who, 

  1. Want to make their operations more profitable (more sales at reduced expenses)
  2. Are looking into unattended retail as a possible sales and revenue channel

If you are evaluating approaches to make your self-service business more profitable, our earlier post might be a good place to start. If more information in adding smart lockers to your retail strategy interests you, check out this post.

The Future Of Retail Is Channel-Less

Even as e-commerce is growing, the flag bearers of e-commerce DTC (direct to consumer) businesses are also looking to expand their brick-and-mortar presence. In parallel, we see local stores ensuring they make use of an online presence to compete with retail chains and e-commerce players.

This suggests that the retail industry’s future lies somewhere between online and offline, or in a combination of all channels – an omnichannel presence. 

Unattended Retail – How Does This Affect Your Business?

The outcome everyone is gunning for is CLTV – Customer Lifetime Value. Unattended retail helps you add to your CLTV.

If you are looking to maximize value from your customers, you have to maximize value for them. That includes covering all of their preferences. Retailers are required to provide customers with an experience where the advantages and convenience of in-person and online shopping are made available. 

Specifically, from an unattended retail perspective, 85.2% of respondents in a study that surveyed recent unattended retail service users polled ‘yes’ when asked about using this channel in the future.

In addition to value, personalization, and convenient access, the current scenario requires retail experiences to reduce person-to-person interactions. These considerations, along with the expanding preference for self-service retail environments, make providing unattended retail points vital for your retail business.

What Is Required To Add Unattended Retail To Your Sales Channels?

The premise of dispensing has always been unattended retail. Secure machines where merchandise could be stored and sold. Your most rugged and reliable salesperson. Now, it is also about the customer experience and the conveniences that are made available to the customer to enrich their experience.

Dispensing, when done contextually with the right combination of technology, machine, and partner, is a success formula. You should consider unattended retail if you are in the self-service domain.

  • Health and Fitness: Vending Fit is equipped with credential-based access and intelligent inventory management to provide real-time reports.
  • Automated Retail Stores: IDS smart lockers help retailers provide their customers with Buy-Online-Pick-Up-In-Store and Click and Collect options. They focus on bridging the online and offline experiences without a hitch – from ordering on a mobile app to collecting the ordered item in a controlled environment at a convenient time. 
  • Manufacturing facilities: IDS enhances staff productivity and offers manufacturing facilities real-time analytics to make data-driven executive-level decisions using iQ Technology, a cloud-based technology as well as an intuitive, convenient software platform.
  • Office environments: The office IT dispensing machine from IDS is a straightforward and exciting solution for managing office and IT supply assets. You can save money by minimizing shrinkage from unaccounted for office and IT supplies and enhancing staff productivity by providing resources round the clock.
  • Automated Retail Stores: IDS smart lockers help retailers provide their customers with Buy-Online-Pay-In-Store and Click and Collect options. They focus on bridging the online and offline experiences without a hitch – from ordering on a mobile app to collecting the ordered item in a controlled environment at a convenient time. 

How To Add An Unattended Retail Experience To Your Store

IDS has the first and last step needed for adding unattended retail to your business channels- our click and collect and BOPIS range of smart lockers.

We make your entry into unattended retail easy. More importantly, it helps drive more customers to your store and more revenues from each customer.

  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Our easy-to-use smart lockers are filled with features like contactless operations, cashless payments, ergonomic physical access (all our products are ADA certified), and notifications across channels, including email, phone text, or push notifications.
  • Reduced Operational Costs: IDS’ offerings are equally about the software, powered by our in-house developed iQ Technology. Our software tools and applications suite offers everything from inventory management and back-end reporting. We help retailers with more data about their merchandise. This helps reduce operational costs by providing hard data on merchandise consumption. Plus, the dispensing solution uses metrics to plan your purchases and price your products.
  • Solving Last-Mile Delivery Challenges: The advantage of having an Amazon Prime membership is more about the free delivery, rather than the binge-worthy content. It is difficult, if not impossible, for brick and mortar retailers to scale up enough to make last-mile deliveries less expensive. Our smart lockers solve this challenge.

Set Up Your Unattended Retail Infrastructure Now With IDS

IDS is equipped to take your business into the unattended retail space. We are here to support you and your organization’s needs. To find out more about our BOPIS solution, or other solutions offered by IDS, give us a call at 1-800-771-4446.

Selecting the right solution for cloud-based asset management

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Selecting The Right Solution For Cloud-Based Asset Management

Moving from an on-premise asset management solution to a cloud-based asset management platform is no longer a question of if, but how. The arguments in favor of on-premise solutions include security, data integrity, and control over uptime. However, giant strides in cybersecurity have enabled secure cloud-based asset management services, minimizing the number and seriousness of such attacks. Redundancy and advanced load balancing systems have improved the reliability of cloud-based asset management solutions, but the key to the successful adoption of a cloud-based solution lies in identifying the right solution provider. This is because, unlike on-premise solutions, a cloud-based solution is not a capital investment, but an ongoing relationship with a reliable technology partner. However, selecting such a partner is not rocket science when consideration is given to the following parameters.

Physical-To-Digital-To-Cloud Capabilities

Data is created in both physical and digital transactions. A simple product checkout at a storeroom involves a physical transaction. A barcode scan of the released product involves a digital transaction. The data from both these transactions must reach the cloud without distortion and as quickly as possible. This example clarifies that successful implementation of a cloud-based asset management solution is only possible when the solution has full-spectrum capabilities. It involves acquiring data about a physical transaction, converting it into digital data, and communicating with the cloud.

Similarly, it involves insights from the cloud analytics module pushed to digital devices like mobile phones or desktop computers, which the user understands to act in the physical world. Such end-to-end capabilities involve hardware, application software, cloud software platform, and user-interface applications. A solutions provider who can deliver all these components can give you better results than working with vendors of each disparate component.

For example, our iQ Technology-driven Virtual Tracker application helps diverse organizations maintain their inventory levels remotely through their solutions that cover the dispensing machines and their software backends. Office admins and IT departments can now keep a close eye on how office inventory is being consumed and make replenishments and purchase decisions accordingly.

Interoperability With Existing Enterprise Systems

One of the critical challenges of adopting an enterprise application is interoperability with existing systems. Complex interoperability with your procurement software, ERP, MRP, and CRM can make the adoption a headache for all participants across departments and functions. Moreover, interoperability allows the usage of a common dataset. This helps provide a single source of truth that is much more reliable and insightful than using data that can be distorted in transition due to manual porting. Lastly, seamless integration of the asset management solution with other enterprise systems can help reduce the time for information flow and accelerate decision-making. It also provides cross-functional intelligence to decision-makers enabling a well-informed decision-making process. 

The IDS Virtual Tracker application brings a secure and accessible back-end solution through seamless API integration. With Virtual Tracker as your inventory management solution, you will have access to real-time hard inventory data. this data will also be available for other business and operational applications used in accounting, finance, and procurement to help with better decision-making through relevant inventory intelligence.

Device And Hardware Agnostic

Another reason why businesses run into challenges with the implementation and adoption of asset management solutions is the dependence on devices and hardware interfaces. Suppose the asset management platform data is not accessible on multiple devices like desktop computers, mobile devices, or on-the-floor display panels. In that case, it diminishes the versatility of the application. Responsiveness of the application for multiple form factors is a must-have. Data from any barcode reader, card reader, or keypad must be usable by the application software. The significance of the data is not dependent on the source, so why should your asset management refuse to work with any?

 Proven Expertise In Dispensing, Collection, And Storage Solutions

Asset management is not just software. After all, it is used to manage the handling of physical goods in the real world. Only a vendor who has a complete understanding of dispensing, collection and storage processes can provide a holistic solution that manages all aspects of material movement in your business. Such providers understand the constraints associated with managing assets rather than treating them as bits of data, but that is just not it. 

Solution providers, like IDS, who have a complete understanding of the asset management process will also accelerate the implementation of your product. They will be able to look around corners and advise on what is to be avoided without expensive experiments. Our range of software packages are designed to help organizations in asset management that helps deliver high-quality products and services while reducing operations costs. 

Multi-Channel Alerts And Escalation Capabilities

The true benefit of a cloud-based asset management solution is realized when it is accessible anytime and anywhere. For this to happen, the asset management solution should have the ability to communicate through multiple channels. Role-based custom reports may need to be sent by email to the correct recipient regularly. Push notifications on web applications might help bring instant attention to specific events or transactions. If this web application is responsible for multiple devices, tablets and mobile devices become additional channels for communication.

For example, the Virtual Tracker application automates workflows that identify extraordinary events to trigger alerts. Such alerts can ensure timely actions to improve production or prevent unexpected incidents. Alerts can also help make the right business decisions at the right time.

A Trusted Partner, Not Just A Product Seller

A feature-rich solution that meets the above criteria is a good indicator that the solution can help you with your asset management need, but that is not all. The success of cloud-based asset management solutions lies in continuous handholding throughout its usage, constant innovation to meet the changing interfaces, and timely support that avoids frustration. A solution provider who can provide these will be your trusted partner through the ups and downs of successfully implementing a cloud-based asset management solution.

IDS Vending has helped numerous businesses in various industries implement its asset management solution running on its proprietary iQ Technology platform. To know more about how we can help you, visit us at www.idsvending.com or call us at 1-800-771-4446.

How can your organization help control the spread of COVID-19?

 

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COVID-19 and the new workplace

In the early days of COVID-19, the whole world was very optimistic about how soon the flu-like epidemic will soon disappear. Two years later, the pandemic is still raging on. Every few months, a new wave emerges that seems to be larger than the previous [1]. Our workplace has evolved to meet these new realities. Factories, offices, shops, and warehouses have all adapted to the changing dynamics. Businesses have been trusted with taking the necessary steps to protect their employees and prevent an outbreak at the workplace. They must accomplish all of this while going about business as usual.

The good news is that technology can give businesses a helping hand with pandemic workplace safety. A combination of equipment, software, and processes can come together to reduce contamination, trace outbreaks early or provide necessary response supplies.

Availability of EMS Supplies

Prevention is better than cure any day of the week. Many businesses are driven by the desire to protect their employees from a dangerous disease. Some are also motivated to avoid the expensive downtime from a contagion-related stoppage and the ensuing sanitization costs. Timely access to PPE equipment and sanitization products can help both objectives. Placing PPE dispensing equipment at access points can ensure everybody who needs access to such supplies will get it. Our range of PPE Supply Dispensers are specifically designed for this purpose. They reduce wait times, eliminate queues, and provide a completely contactless experience while providing employees with face masks, sanitizers, gloves, tissues, and more.

Testing and Sample Collection

From the very beginning of this global pandemic, aggressive testing and tracing of infections have been a priority for health officials. Companies that need employees onsite for conducting business will need proper testing infrastructure to control spread. 

Testing Kit dispensing machines can provide much-needed access to test kits. When sample collection is authenticated by Employee ID or Key Cards, traceability of samples becomes very easy. This accelerates response and reduces the chances of uncontrollable spread. Technology can improve the ability to test and control spread. 

IDS’ UCapIt Rapid COVID-19 Testing Solution ensures easy access to self-administered COVID-19 test kits. Their design, operation, and footprint make them ideal for workspaces, campuses, and healthcare facilities. See how California universities are benefiting from COVID-19 Test Kit Dispensing Machines by downloading our case studies.

Reducing Contacts

COVID-19 pathogens stay active on surfaces like glass, metal, or plastic for several days. This makes every contact a potential opportunity for contamination. Thanks to the pandemic, a killer handshake can now truly live up to its name.

Fewer person-to-person interactions can have a tangible impact on containing spread within your office or factory. Strategically placed dispensing machines can be the insulation between the employee who needs tech supplies and the IT support team. MRO tools dispensing machines can eliminate the need for physically handing over tools and equipment from one individual to another. Vend Safety, for instance, uses iQ Technology, our in-house cloud-based inventory management software, to increase productivity and reduce costs.

If you are a shop owner, the chances of contamination can come from more places than within your business. Contact with customers is not as controllable as it is with your employees. BOPIS and retail collection lockers can eliminate that touchpoint. Our BOPIS/Click and Collect lockers give a novel and safe experience for your customers. Our retail lockers offer customizable lockers and intuitive user interfaces while being equipped with iQ Technology, which makes inventory management a breeze.

Safe Interfaces

Dependence upon dispensing equipment and lockers may make one wonder if they can be sources of infection. That is why responsible dispensing solution manufacturers like IDS Vending have developed UVend Technology, an ultraviolet-based disinfection technology. This can sanitize the touchpoints of the dispensing machines each time after use. UVend Technology can eliminate or deactivate 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. UVend Technology is our patent-pending technology that combines UVC rays with motion sensors to make high contact surfaces on the machine safer.

Trackability (iQ Technology, Chain of Custody)

Despite all precautions, infections can still happen. Businesses need to be prepared to respond to such instances. One of the first steps is to trace the source of infection and identify all contacts for isolation. Thanks to innovative software platforms like iQ Technology from IDS Vending, establishing the chain of custody of equipment used by the source of infection is easy. At the click of a button, you can trace all users who have interacted or used a particular piece of equipment. This helps health officials and businesses take the necessary precautionary actions.

Future Work Environment

As of the time, this blog was written, we are in what experts identify as the fifth wave. Though this has been several times larger in terms of the number of infections, thankfully, the fatality rates are much lower. In one form or the other, such mutations pop up once every few months. Businesses need to protect their employees while ensuring business continuity. Technology can help businesses meet such challenges. Controlled dispensing hardware and software platforms from IDS Vending can help you tide over any number of waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. To know more, call us at 1-855-526-2683.

References:

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Dispensing Technologies for More Success In Self-Service Domain

 

Dispensing Technologies

How Are Tomorrow’s Retail Practices Shaping Up?

The past couple of years have been an eye-opener for the retail industry. While it was inevitable that critical services and their supporting ecosystems would continue to operate, the uncertainty of the times left businesses in other sectors blindsided. 

Multiple studies show that technology across industries is shifting to adjust to the changing marketplace. 

  • Enterprise IT spending in the retail industry will be at $193.2 billion in 2021, up from $182.5 in 2020, pointing towards accelerated digital transformation. 
  • 77% of retailers would have surveyed feasibility to have AI in place, of which 87% place robotic warehouse management as the top use case, pointing towards fewer people and more automation.
  • Based on consumer behavior, the self-serving kiosk market revenue could double by 2027 (from 2020). Pointing towards an aggressive adoption of self-service technologies by the industry and services by the consumer.

Features That Makeup Tomorrow’s Retail Practices

Industry research around the expected end-consumer experience sees recurring themes around contactless experiences, cashless payments, BOPIS, BOPIL (Click and Collect). We have identified the following recurring trends from the multiple industry research findings and academic studies sampled.

  • Digital Transformation: The retailer and the consumer are having more digital interactions. This digital push has made the entire industry accelerate its efforts to be digitally available. Everything from inventory management to digital marketing campaigns drives retail sales.   
  • Automation: Social distancing mandated minimizing human-human interactions. In the consumer-facing retail domain, this means task and process automation. Stakeholders, like cashiers, order takers, help-desks, security personnel, planogram experts, stock and procurement teams, etc., and more could now be automated. Even when human intervention is needed, it is augmented or heavily supported by software tools and even algorithmic AI’s.
  • Self-Service Technologies: Consumers are the recipients of all automated retail experiences. Their preferences make more retail domains turn to self-service technologies and applications to give consumers the option to minimize person-person contact. Retailers are also keen on taking their businesses across online channels, focusing on mobile-first experiences.

Multiple technologies are essential for self-service industries to succeed. And they revolve around the ability to provide dependable and consistently good customer experiences. The above trends help retailers achieve the following benefits,  

  • Reduced operating expenses: barring the upfront investments for automation and digital transformation, adopting features linked to these trends reduce operating expenses by providing real-time data and insights across the retail value chain. This visibility also helps in reduced spending on resources and less wastage.
  • Increased revenues: all three trends help identify product and service consumption patterns and predict the best consumer for the subsequent consumption cycle. 
  • Enhanced customer experience: investing in backend technology and applications does not ensure retail customer satisfaction. Retailers will also need to factor in their expectations across channels. From contactless service delivery to sanitized safe contact surfaces, retailers must consistently delight the customer.

Equipping Your Retail Practices For the Future

At first, lockdowns restricted the movement of goods and people. Later restrictions impacted trade, commerce, and livelihoods. Consumer-facing entities faced most of the brunt, which accelerated the need for a digital transformation.

While more consumers prefer self-service, merely leveraging self-service technology and products may not be sufficient to keep customers satisfied. Taking this thought further, properly implemented self-service technology could be a critical differentiator that provides a competitive advantage to your retail business.

Evaluating Your Business For Transition to the Self-Service Model

Self-Service Technology is evolving to accommodate more business types across industries. There are several use cases for traditionally offline domains. For example, IDS’ smart lockers are applicable for repair shops serving personal vehicle owners or servicing electronic goods. Our smart lockers can help deliver contactless experiences. 

We can help identify use cases that support your offline business and enjoy the fruits of retail self-service technologies.

Partnering With IDS For Making Your Self-Service Business More Profitable

IDS’ capabilities and offerings are in sync with what is required to future-proof your retail business. A few relevant use cases across industries and domains are

  • Restaurants: IDS supply lockers are an ideal fit for contactless delivery. Our lockers are internet-enabled and have an API that ensures mobile apps can communicate seamlessly with them.
  • Laundries: In addition to locker solutions for contactless laundry collection and delivery. Supply dispensers can provide additional sales revenues to self-service laundries by providing customers with laundry supplies.
  • Autowash Centers: Dispensers for car care products can bring in additional revenues.
  • Health and Fitness: Our Vending Fit application serves gyms and fitness centers. It is equipped with credential-based access and intelligent inventory management capable of providing real-time reports.
  • Automated Retail Stores: Our BOPIS/CNC offerings help retailers provide their customers with Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store and Click and Collect options. They focus on bridging the online and offline experiences without a hitch – from ordering on a mobile app to collecting the ordered item in a controlled environment at a convenient time. 

Unlike our competitors that provide automated vending machines and lockers, we are your one-stop for successful vending and dispensing solutions. We are an end-to-end solution provider. 

Our patented UVC based sanitization technology, intelligent inventory management technology, asset tracking and management software etc., showcase the depth and scope of what we offer. Our flexible leasing programs offer more value for your budget. At the same time, our 24/7 technical service on-site repair and support ensures business continuity and more bang for your buck.

Trust us when we say you have not truly experienced a single source supplier in automated dispensing until you have experienced IDS. Contact us now to explore how our technology, offerings, and automated vending and dispensing solutions could benefit your business.

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Why Is Cloud Technology Indispensable for Seamless, Hassle-Free, and Effective Asset Management in Organizations?

Why Is Cloud Technology Indispensable for Seamless - IDSVending.com

Evolution of Asset Management

Automated asset management solutions are no longer a thing of the future. Asset management tools have helped with data sharing, to a certain extent. It is cloud-based technology that has created a collaborative “single source of truth” that is accessible by those who need access to it. It has also improved the extent of deployment across offices, plants, branches, business units or even geographic units across the globe.

iQ Technology, for example, drives cloud-based inventory and asset management. It contains modular software packages that suit the end requirement. The multiple software packages can be as straightforward as reporting and managing enterprise-wide inventory and asset management requirements to integrating with 3rd party systems. The modules are customizable for domain-specific regulations and material management requirements.

What does Asset Management on Cloud look like?

Asset Management becomes versatile and scalable when it moves to iQ technology. The ability to expand the scope and SKUs and a host of benefits like controlled accessibility, analytics, alerts and automation, decision support systems, and others creates limitless possibilities for any business. Despite its application versatility, cloud-based asset management shares a few common aspects. The basic building blocks are as below:

Asset Management - IDSVending.com
Whether the asset management application is for an office environment or a manufacturing line, the basic structure of any cloud-based system like iQ Technology looks the same. A sound asset management system must be easily configurable to meet the needs of different applications.

Another essential trait of an ideal cloud-based system is to have full-cycle capabilities. They should be capable of converting data from physical systems, like crates, tools, or equipment to digital data, through Bar Code readers, RFID scanners, or data entry kiosks. This is often the most critical part that most cloud-based systems cannot provide, as they provide just the software and cloud infrastructure. Without usable data from the physical to the digital realm, the entire system becomes useless.

What are the basic elements of iQ Technology’s asset management capabilities?

iQ Technology can deliver the best value if they help extract the most value from the organization’s assets. To achieve this, they need to address all the needs across the entire lifecycle of the asset.

 

  • Asset Storage – Capturing data about all aspects of asset storage, including the age of asset, inward traceability, outward traceability, and cost of holding, can help in critical decisions.
  • Asset Dispensing – The release of assets for usage must be easy to avoid the solution becoming a part of the problem. Easy dispensing can reduce hassles and improve efficiency. But control of access and trackability of dispensing is also critical.
  • Asset Collection – Collection of assets post its usage is critical to ensure availability for those in need. It can also help in preventing loss or theft. Collection can mark the asset for maintenance or recalibration before usage.
  • Asset Tracking – Tracking all assets to prevent loss or shrinkage. Asset tracking is essential to minimize “non-value-added time” like transit and idling.
  • Asset Costing – Allocating costs to every asset is critical for effective resource management. It can come in handy while maintaining books, allocating project costs, and maintaining books.
  • Asset Allocation – Ensuring that the assets are allocated to the right user is vital for accountability and responsible usage. Asset allocation also contributes to accurate project costing.
  • Asset Utilization – Calculating the utilization of assets in terms of time or cost per hour is critical to track asset efficiency and utility. It is an essential factor to justify returns on investment during asset purchase decisions.
  • Asset Maintenance – Marking assets for scheduled maintenance, repairs, upgrades, or recalibration will improve the usability of the asset and drive productivity.
  • Tracking Chain of Custody/Accountability – Establishing the chain of ownership can help understand asset usage, prevent asset hoarding, reduce chances of asset abuse, and a host of other benefits.

iQ Technology’s asset management - IDSVending.com

What are the benefits of iQ Technology on the cloud?

Asset management systems have several benefits, as discussed in the previous section. Cloud-based asset management solutions, like iQ Technology, have certain added advantages.

Cost: Cloud systems cost relatively less than on-premise or physical systems to implement. There is no need for upfront capital expenditure in setting up server infrastructure, communication systems, security tools, and other essential paraphernalia. However, for large enterprises, the cost of the cloud may equal or even exceed on-premise systems. The benefits, however, often far outweigh the costs.

Accessibility: Cloud systems are easily accessible from anywhere with internet connectivity and access privilege. This makes it easy to create a borderless business that can access data internationally.

Auditability: Unlike paper systems and most on-premise systems, it is easier to establish asset custody across factories, offices, and business units. This makes it easy to maintain the documentation required for compliance and auditing.

Scalability: Cloud systems have flexible packages that make them scalable. Businesses only have to pay based on the number of users or transactions they need. Adding users can be easily accomplished through a back-end control portal.

Flexibility: Cloud systems are flexible as users can be increased or decreased based on the requirement. This means businesses do not have to suffer sunk costs invested in infrastructure once the need is complete. A good example would be asset management when the project is finished in a construction zone.

Device Agnostic: Asset management solutions are accessed through web and mobile interfaces on the cloud. This makes it easy to access them from any device.

Summary

iQ Technology driven asset management has many benefits that make investing in it an easy decision, but the key to successful asset management lies in selecting the right partner. The partner needs to have proven success across all the blocks of asset management, including the digitalization of data and necessary hardware. IDS combines the power of cutting-edge hardware and powerful software to deliver this for you. To know more about how we can help your business, click here or call us at 1-866-881-0326.

How Equipped is Your Dispensing Solution to be Immune to These Disruptive Consumer-Side Changes?

 

How Equipped is Your Dispensing Solution - IDSvending.com

Dispensing office supplies in today’s office space

Modern work environment trends have changed workplace needs significantly over the past couple of years.  Experts predict that office-based work has changed forever. Businesses and employees worldwide have realized the advantages and disadvantages of working away from the confines of an office. Several companies are moving from 5 days a week at the office to alternate days. Some are even considering moving entirely to work from home. Ensuring the availability of necessary resources for the employees in such an environment requires innovative ways to distribute supplies.

Today’s IT departments grapple with challenges like controlled access, attacks from hackers, resource management, and several other responsibilities. They also must ensure uptime of the office employee so that business can go on as usual. This is genuinely an unenviable position, but thankfully, technology can help them address such needs and challenges efficiently.

Changing trends in the modern work environment

The differences between the environment at a local or a global business are blurring every day. The employee mix is becoming homogenous. Increased labor mobility is creating a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural office space. This influences the access to resources and supplies as human intervention can cause communication and semantics-related hurdles. Using equipment to distribute supplies virtually eliminates this. Of course, this does not mean machines can replace people, but using controlled dispensing equipment and the power of human intelligence can drive excellent efficiency and experiences.

There is generally a favorable disposition for the employee to work from home. A research report on Statista says about 81% of employees working from home report an increase or similar productivity levels compared to working from the office. Another report also says more than 75% of employers describe their companies as having the same or better office productivity. Such a high level of employer-employee agreement is a rare sight in any other aspect. 

Work from home is here to stay. And thus, employees must have real-time visibility to the status of their resource requests. Because unlike before, they now need to plan when to go to work and collect necessary supplies.

Pandemic or not, the workforce has become increasingly mobile. Concepts like hot-desking and coworking are changing the way people define the office. An employee may not even be sitting in the same bay or floor of the office every day. They may not even be sitting in the same building all day. They cannot rely on a centralized IT storage closet. Controlled and decentralized access to IT supplies is in great demand.

This is where IDS’s iQ Technology comes in. iQ Technology is our all-in-one and end-to-end solution for inventory and asset management. Our solution is all-in-one because it contains the software and hardware components that helps you take your hands from the wheel. iQ Technology is end-to-end because it covers all possible use cases from procurement, the physical dispensing, consumption tracking, and returns (in case of assets).

The diversity of devices and solutions in the modern work environment is genuinely phenomenal. Just ten years ago, casting and streaming devices were a part of emerging technology. Today, such devices form a part of routine presentations, discussions, workshops, and training sessions. Computer mice, business phones, slide controllers, and electronic notepads are other essentials in today’s office. There is a growing need for access to these pieces of technology. They also need replacement, repairs, or maintenance. Businesses that invest in dispensing and collecting technology that provides timely access to these gadgets are no longer options.

It also goes without saying that the solution that works for your organization will be built over time. Here too, our customer-centric R&D and implementation makes adoption easier with our modular offerings. The different packages cover everything from simple reporting and item management to credential-based access,  customizable alerts like product expiration, API/Pre-Authorization  etc.

In a world where handshakes have been replaced by elbow bumps and “Namaste,” physical transactions are becoming few and far between. The concept of hygiene at the workplace has taken a massive turn in the past few years. Everything has become contactless and socially distant. While the debate is still raging on the sustainability of these measures, the business must go on. Gladly, technology comes to the rescue again. Distributing supplies no longer need as much human touch as it needed before.

The office goer today is becoming more and more focused on personal success. Individual productivity is now everybody’s concern. Nobody wants downtime due to a lack of resources or faulty equipment. Timely access to necessary supplies is a critical factor for employee motivation. With IDS’s dispensing solutions there are no constraints on the type of supplies that you want to make available to your employees. From fragile, sophisticated electronics to stationery, our range of dispensing solutions cover it all. 

Lastly, business leaders and managers need data about the consumption of supplies. Technology enables this data-driven decision-making at all levels. Leaders can guarantee uptime, reduce waste, and improve productivity with better insights into consumption. Businesses can also use such technology to save costs, prevent resource hoarding, and improve profitability. Using automated controlled dispensing is now driven by demand from both sides. Employees need them for convenience, and employers need them for efficiency.

Controlled dispensing in the modern office

It is undeniable that modern work environment trends call for the technology that serves the unique nature of demand for IT and office supplies. The good news is that there is already proven technology available in the market from reputed suppliers that address this need. Such equipment can ensure the delivery of resources to the right recipient. 

IDS’s office supply dispensing solutions are constantly attuned to the fast-paced changes in customer requirements because we listen to our customers and keep our eyes open for emerging technologies that add value.  Our solutions are capable of helping achieve high-level mandates and board-room philosophies around productivity, resource consumption, cost optimization, to name a few. 

We help our customers achieve more by enhancing the trackability of assets and improving the performance of those assets through scheduled maintenance or repairs. They also provide transparency into the consumption and utilization of resources that give leaders informed decision-making power. They are also a vital component of the office process automation and the transformation towards a paperless office. The value that such technology brings through loss prevention, improved accountability, and support for material audit are simply icing on the cake.

Our team of consultants at IDS Vending can help you find the right combination of hardware and software that will serve the needs of the evolving office environment. Call us at 1-855-260-4771 to talk to an expert.

Are Smart Lockers the Missing Piece of Your Retail Strategy?

 

Are Smart Lockers the Missing Piece of Your Retail Strategy? - IDSVending.com

One cannot overstate the importance of the retail industry

Retail consumption keeps the economy humming along and is an essential indicator of its health. Governmental policies remain aware of the industry’s growth because it is a significant employer, directly employing one in ten employed individuals and indirectly supporting four in ten*.

The industry and its e-commerce component are growing

Customers in the US spent more than $471 billion on online retail in 2021, surpassing earlier projections of $469.24 billion. This figure does not include the festival-laden October to December quarter.

Since 2012, we have seen the ever-increasing e-commerce component in retail sales. And this does not look to be slowing down thanks to the ever-increasing number of internet users.

What does this mean for your retail sales strategy?

The past, present, and future of the industry show digital engagements will be a significant factor in the way forward. The revenue it brings in, its importance as a government policy influencer, the steady increase in internet users, and the steady increase in e-commerce retail sales underline the importance of digital engagements to your retail business strategy.

BOPIS and Click & Collect (C&C/BOPIL)

BOPIS: Buy-online-pay-in-store is a retail strategy, which, as the name indicates, helps customers buy the merchandise online then pay for and collect them at the store. Collection areas are dedicated only to this audience. BOPIS helps customers by providing an e-catalog to browse, make choices, and add to their shopping carts. 

BOPIL: Buy-online-pick-in-locker is a variation of BOPIS and is alternatively referred to as click and collect (C&C). Here, the customer comes to the store and can access the goods from lockers strategically placed by the retailer – in public places like airports, train stations, or in the store premises. Retailers also use mobile lockers placed on customized vehicles. 

Relevance of BOPIS and C&C Across Retail Formats

Smart locker technologies have universal applicability and value. A few of the top smart locker solution benefits could include

  • Mom & Pop/Department Stores: smart lockers will open up new monetization channels.
  • Discount/Dollar Stores: C&C helps reduce overheads, an example of which helps move a portion of payments online, reducing the need for POS machinery and consumables.  Also, it helps discount stores with multiple branches optimize the transfer of products within by optimizing  the online ordering and darkroom delivery workflows
  •  Supermarket/Warehouse Stores
  • Reducing overheads and space utilization
  • More intelligent inventory and procurement management
  • Specialty Stores: Smart lockers could enhance the customer experience. And tailor it to the merchandise. 
  • Malls
  • Smart locker solutions could help increase monetizable space
  • Real estate for ads – digital and conventional
  • E-Tailers: Smart lockers help provide last-mile connectivity to enhance the customer experience further.

Benefits of BOPIS and C&C That Will Attract More Sales

BOPIS and C&C solutions bring convenience to users and more value to retailers through the following.

  • Better accessibility for more sales: Our retail dispensing solutions optimize the quality of access to consumers.
    • Our solutions provide 24/7 availability ensuring convenient access to consumers and thereby increasing chances of sales.
    • All our solutions are ADA compliant.
    • Storage lockers are robust and tamper-proof, with the ability to vet and confirm the user’s credentials.
  • An optimized supply chain for more Return on Investment: IDS optimizes inventory management through iQ Technology.
    • Data for Insights: IDS provides a connected and future-technology-ready platform for collecting insights and converting them into actions.
    • Inventory Management: Better Procurement Strategies: Insights lead to cash-smart procurements, better cash flows, better revenue predictability, etc.
    • Just-In-Time Stocking: smart lockers make it easier and less time-consuming for retailers to stock, take stock, and restock inventory.
  • Enhanced customer experience for competitive advantage: Our solution’s features list ensures a seamless online to offline transition.
    • Cashless Transactions: Customers prefer cashless payments for both online and offline retail. BOPIS and C&C provide cashless payment systems. 
    • Contactless Delivery: smart lockers in both avatars – BOPIS and BOPIL help reduce high-risk personal interactions. 
    • Convenience: Customers have added flexibility in planning their purchases and spending less time between aisles while not losing the in-store experience.

Considerations to Choose the Ideal BOPIS and C&C Solutions

IDS offers both BOPIS and C&C solutions. Our automated retail machines are as simple as paying, scanning, and retrieving. There are three main components to any BOPIS or BOPIL solution – the smart locker, the control hardware, and the software. 

Our solutions eliminate the need for customers to wait in long lines while waiting to retrieve their ordered products. From the customer’s perspective, they see a smart locker accessible through their mobile devices. However, from a retailer’s point of view, there are multiple considerations to be made before you invest in a BOPIS or C&C solution and reap the benefits.

End-to-End Service Provider: When we say end-to-end, we mean it. We provide financing and leasing options to custom-developed solutions and a dedicated 24/7 support structure. Our Virtual Tracker solution is one example. We offer all of the necessary software, hardware, and support you need to take back control of your inventory.

Our 90 Years of Vending Industry Legacy: Last but not least, 2021 marked the 90th anniversary of our parent company, The Wittern Group. We have placed customer success as our driving force, which reflects in our patents, technology partnerships, use-case-specific applications, specialty applications, etc., in addition to actual customer success

BOPIS and C&C ensure more retail revenues, but their success depends on the solution partner. IDS has proven success in the vending & dispensing industry for more than 90 years. With a  comprehensive product portfolio, focused R&D, machines and solutions exclusively made in the USA, and robust support ecosystems.

Contact IDS for BOPIS and C&C Solutions

IDS is here to support you and your organization’s needs. To find out more about our BOPIS solution, or other solutions offered by IDS, give us a call at 1-800-771-4446.

What is the Cost of Office Inventory Mismanagement?

 What is the Cost of Office Inventory Mismanagement?

Attention IT & Admin Teams – Are you Wasting Budget On Unnecessary Expenses?

Question: What is the impact of lack of trackable access to necessary office supplies?

Answer: Dollars that could have been put in your pocket!

IT support teams are always trying to manage “Just-In-Time” inventory to ensure that the right supplies are available to the employees who need them. This helps them to operate on a lean budget without sacrificing productivity. However, there is seldom a situation where all employees use the resources fairly and equally. The result is unavailability of the necessary office supplies for those who are in desperate need.

Allowing such disproportionate consumption of supplies is avoidable with the help of iVendTech. Not doing so will encourage hoarding of resources or irresponsible usage. This can be expensive for the business and frustrating for those who are denied these supplies.

Tangible Costs: When Trackable Assets Turn into Liabilities.

An office environment that cannot provide sufficient supplies and prevent waste of resources faces measurable burdens on cost. They drag down profits and performance. In some cases, they can also have an impact on revenue. Let us explore how.

Cost of inventory

It is a no-brainer that overuse of supplies results in increased costs. It means businesses have to buy more, store more and, in the process, waste more. The cost of procurement increases and so does the cost of moving, holding and distributing inventory.

  • Buy More: Consider a scenario where a policy change cascades on to the organization. It suddenly renders all the inventory obsolete or useless while forcing administrators to purchase additional inventory. 
  • Store More: If the benefits of volume, coupled with the perennial need to cut costs, result in stocking up on office envelopes, mouse pads and letter heads while the company changes its branding, it suddenly makes the stash useless. Not to mention the waste of additional overhead expenses (storage, disposal, mandatory compliances etc.). 
  • Waste More: For example, if the user mishandles computer mice or keyboards frequently, then the cost of warranty and replacement shoots up.

Cost of downtime

The cost of a computer peripheral may be a few dollars, but not being able to use the computer for a day can cost a few hundred dollars for the company. Now imagine an entire office full of professionals having limited or no access to necessary supplies on a given day. It can be a nightmare for floor managers. From the shopfloor to the top-floor, lack of timely availability of resources can be the spoke in the wheel that creates unscheduled downtime.

Cost of inefficiency

Unavailability of timely access to necessary supplies has an even bigger problem. Not having that whiteboard marker could make a big difference in presenting a compelling proposition. A faulty pointer in an online conference can bring down audience engagement and attention. A diligent employee without access to stationery can feel very frustrated. All of these are examples of how the often ignored or taken for granted supplies can have a very real impact on production and productivity. Inefficiencies in the office environment are a serious drag on revenue and profitability.

Intangible Costs – The Unknown Cost of Lost Opportunities:

Like Lord Kelvin would say, “That you cannot measure, you cannot improve”. That is precisely what makes the intangible costs of “resource unavailability” scary. Factors like employee dissatisfaction and frustration due to unplanned downtime can reduce motivation levels. This can also decrease the reputation of the employer resulting in poorer employer branding. IT support teams, administration teams and procurement teams face the brunt of this often. 

All of the above add up to the scarier scenario – cost of lost opportunity. A situation wherein businesses do not realize what they may have lost and are not even in the position to ascertain the scale of these losses.

Eliminating Losses From the Cost of Inventory

Yes, eliminating losses is possible. How exactly, you ask?

  • IDS is equipped with the technology and configurable product features that deliver secure inventory management and control to organizations.  
  • IT and Admin teams are further equipped with real-time reporting about inventory consumption data that could help in terms of both qualitative (demand vs consumption, availability to productivity mapping) and quantitative parameters (time-to-replenish, etc.). 
  • Supplemented with a guaranteed delivery mechanism that closes the loop on each resource request. 

All of the above gives complete visibility and control to the organization over inventory flow and quality of inventory utilization.

iVendTech equipped machines are an asset for inventory management in the modern office environment. It helps reduce shrink in the form of wastage or hoarding. It helps improve productivity and drive employee experience. If you would like to understand how we can help your business make significant cost savings on your inventory and enhanced employee experience, call us at 1-877-771-4446.

Inventory Reporting & Its Impact on your Business’ Bottomline

Avoiding the cost of inaccessible office supplies

There are tangible and intangible costs due to inefficient inventory management, which we covered in our last post, Save Money with an Inventory Management System.  In the same vein, inaccessible office supplies are an unnecessary and avoidable drain on business profitability and performance. But thanks to a cutting-edge dispensing solution like iVendTech from IDS Vending Solutions, this can be avoided. 

Why is an efficient inventory reporting system important? Ensuring the continuous supply of necessary assets to those who need them in a secure manner has never been this easy. It allows IT support teams to spend their time addressing strategic IT needs of the business instead of store-keeping. Self-service does not only reduce effort but also gives the consumer the experience of instant resolution.

IDS’ office IT vending machine is proof that we help businesses keep their employees happy (and productive). A completely integrated self-service solution that employees can access and operate 24/7. The office supplies solution helps IT and office management departments to ensure availability of all assets, prioritization of procurement, and easier access for employees with a seamless record-keeping system for consumption, procurement, and demand data, among others. 

There are two major types of dispensing for IT and office supplies.  On-Demand Dispensing caters to small and medium products and merchandise. It is best suited for applications like collecting broken items and providing basic consumables. The other type is the Will-Call lockers, which addresses the demand for higher dollar or sensitive data office supplies. This is suited for items like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc. Essentially, iVendTech’s portfolio of machines are configurable to dispense products of different sizes and shapes. So, businesses must invest in fewer machines that cater to diverse needs while maintaining a single source of truth that gives controlled access to analytics and intelligence.

Secure Inventory Management and Control

iVendTech uses a combination of onboarding and cloud software to track, manage and monitor inventory consumption. The machine communicates with the back-end iQ Technology software, a secure encrypted channel. This gives 24/7 visibility and control to not just the machine but also the inventory. This also helps evolve from a centralized asset storage and distribution framework that could become unwieldy to multiple points of storage with the same if not better tracking and accountability measures and systems in place

Combined with alert systems, these range of dispensing solutions can trigger reorder level notifications amongst a host of other possibilities. Last but not least, the reverse dispensing mechanism can track returns and provide accountability data.

Comprehensive Real Time Reporting

Continuous availability of resources is necessary to ensure uptime. Meaningful insights like low stock warning, notifications for a particular type of product/resource, alerts about product abuse or hoarding and restock lists can help deploy a solution that solves your inventory challenges. This data can be accessed on any device with the necessary access privileges. It helps different stakeholders gain actionable intelligence and make informed decisions.

Guaranteed Delivery

iVendTech’s machines use the proprietary Guaranteed Vend Technology, iVend. This ensures that every time an employee accesses the machine, they get the product or merchandise they need. The IR-based drop sensors make sure that either every completed transaction is tracked, and every incomplete transaction is reversed. This, combined with the alert system, can also enable a closed loop feedback mechanism for every failed transaction so that no need goes unaddressed.

Impact of controlled dispensing

Such features of iVendTech’s portfolio of machines help optimize cost of inventory and deliver a host of benefits. Some benefits are discussed below.

Cost savings

iVendTech’s controlled dispensing can bring in savings at various levels. Having access to the right supplies at the optimum levels for the right folks who need them can optimize inventory. This means businesses will need to buy less, hold less, maintain less, repair less, retire less, recycle less and waste less. There are savings across the entire asset lifecycle for different functions like IT, administration, facilities, procurement and finance. The cost savings from uptime, fewer unplanned outages and better productivity are just the icing on the cake.

Productivity improvement

Availability of the necessary tools to get the job done is a critical part of employee efficiency. iVendTech’s dispensing solutions ensure that your employees are never short of critical supplies. In the case of breakdown or repairs, iQ Technology can collect and track assets while giving real time visibility to asset lists. Its configurability allows handling multiple varieties of merchandise and caters to a huge spectrum of needs across the business.

Employee motivation

Timely access to resources, a safe and secure support mechanism that helps collect and repair faulty devices while ensuring trackability can remove a lot of frustration associated with the day-to-day operations. It reduces wait times, brings in transparency and enhances accessibility to the required supplies easily. This can help drive productivity, success and eventually the motivation of the office workforce.

Employer brand boost

Custom branded iVendTech machines can remind your employees how their employer invests in creating an easy-to-work environment. It helps build the right kind of reputation for a business that values its employees and their time.

iVendTech machines are an asset for inventory reporting systems in the modern office environment. It helps reduce shrink in the form of wastage or hoarding. It helps improve productivity and drive employee experience. If you would like to understand how we can help your business make significant cost savings on your inventory and enhanced employee experience, call us at 1-877-771-4446.