We tend to think of vending machines as modern conveniences, not historical inventions. They are our allies during an all-nighter or a convenient way to treat our sweet tooth at work or school. Custom vending machines are important for more than that, though, and have been for longer than you think.
The world’s first vending machine was actually designed by prolific inventor Hero of Alexandria, around the first century CE. A person put a coin in a slot at the top of a box. The coin hit a metal lever, like a balance beam, and on the other end of the beam was a string tied to a plug on a container of liquid. As the beam tilted from the weight of the coin, the string lifted the plug and dispensed the desired drink until the coin dropped off the beam. It wasn’t just a thirst quencher, though. Hero’s apparatus was designed to stop temple-goers from taking more Holy Water than they paid for.
Inventory shrinkage is still a problem today, and IDS’ vending machine manufacturers can design a custom vending machine to deal with whatever supplies you want to protect. Whether your inventory is reduced due to stealing, overuse of materials or simply a perceived lack of inventory value, a dispensing solution can put an immediate dent in the problem — in some cases reducing the shrinkage by as much as ninety percent.
However, the real advance in inventory management is achieved because of the machines’ access methods. Each machine can be configured to accept a code, a card or a fingerprint unique to one individual. That allows a manager to determine how often the machine may be accessed and whether inventory must be returned before new products can be dispensed.