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Industrial Vending and the Internet of Things

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Posted by Jim Owens on Wed, 02/25/2015

Recently I came across this article in Forbes Magazine—How the Industrial Internet of Things will Support Future Supply Chains. The IIoT is a subject that we’ve been hearing a lot about, but isn’t quite understood fully. The author does a great job of making an otherwise esoteric concept easy to understand for the rest of us.

The article prompted me to think about how industrial smart devices are already being utilized in the MRO supply chain. Of course, there are the smartphone apps we’ve developed for our clients to quickly check inventories and reorder supplies right on the production floor. But Industrial Vending is something that people might not think of in considering how the industrial internet of things supports the indirect supply chain.

Industrial vending has been around for some time and has proven to be a vital component of the industrial supply business and is now considered mainstream. However, today’s smart vending systems are much more than mere parts dispensers. Smart vending and point-of-use systems are designed for ease of configuration and integration with your MRO inventory system, enabling centralized replenishment through min/max or predictive logic. Touch screen technology provide point-of-use access to industrial supplies. Users can simply scan an ID or fingerprint to issue the inventory items needed. The integrated vending machine automatically tracks all transactions and can track cost data by department, job, machine, cost center, customer number, and other custom fields.

In addition to improved service levels and maintenance labor productivity, integrated industrial vending enables the shift from traditional “push systems” to demand-driven supply chains enabled by actionable data, supply chain process, technology, and analytics.

SDI and its partner have made significant advancements in the deployment of industrial vending as a key element of the end-to-end (MRO) supply chain. It’s an exciting world we live in. We are very excited about this technology and the future opportunities available through smart vending. I hope you enjoy the article.

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