Vending Enters the 21st Century

As technology evolves, so do business practices for vending companies. According to the Wall Street Journal, to keep the industry alive, vending machine operators have begun outfitting their machines with touch screens and card readers. Gone are the days when you had to carry around quarters if you wanted to snag a mid-day snack -- these new machines let you pay for your candy like you pay for everything else, i.e. with your credit card.

From the supply chain standpoint, however, the most interesting innovation is the sales tracking devices that are now being installed in vending machines. Providing real time data on sales transactions, these devices allow suppliers to monitor which snacks are selling out fastest at which machines. Drawing from this data, they are able to adjust the volume and variety of snacks delivered, tailoring a recurring order to the machine in question. This means drivers are only dispatched when they’re absolutely needed, saving companies money while ensuring office workers, students, and airport travelers always have access to the snacks they want, when they want them.

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