chip national accounts – we have found
that needs vary on a case-by-case basis.
Larger national accounts are already pretty
sophisticated and understand the value of
inventory management solutions outside of
basic vending, and what we have seen most
recently is that this level of sophistication
is moving downward to mid-size businesses.
Generally speaking, customers’ needs
across the board are becoming more and
more sophisticated. This change is also
influencing the need for more sophisticated
solutions, which is also being driven by our
Across the board, our goal is to help our
customers understand how our solutions can
help them achieve broader business goals.
For instance, another inventory management
solution we offer to our customers is vending. Our vending machines are equipped
with a computer that links to the internet,
and instead of dropping what might be a
fragile or expensive tool or piece of equipment the vending machines use drawers
to deliver the inventory in mint condition.
These machines also provide our customers
with greater visibility into their operations.
If we can help prevent downtime for a customer by ensuring products are in on the
shop floor when a customer needs them,
customers understand our strategic value as
ID: Are there any tech capabilities you
think you’ll be providing more to your customers in the coming years?
CB: Absolutely. First of all, think about
the ControlPoint Inventory Management
solution: it is part of our digital ecosystem.
Through ControlPoint, we have 10,000 or so
machines in our customers’ shops, and each
one of those machines has a computer in it
that is connected to the Internet of Things.
Each machine is capturing point of sale
information that we can collect in the background and use to provide business-critical
insights for our customers. That means that
ControlPoint is not only a key node in our
ecosystem, but also a 24X7 presence for us
on the customer’s shop floor.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. If
you meld that data together with information we glean from what customers are buying from our website, call centers, and our
salesforce, you are building a dataset that
allows us to better understand and service
our customers’ needs. As big data mining
and data analytics continue to evolve, this
will enable us to more predictively analyze
what a customer needs before they even
know they need it.
But how do we turn that information
around and present it to a customer in a
manner that is useful to them when they
walk up to the vending machine? We
are able to provide them with real-time
information on the shop floor which
tells them: “that part isn’t in stock in
this machine, but it is in stock across
the floor in another machine.” Or, “you
can get this immediately through our
website; would you like us to place this
order for you?” It’s these types of trans-
actions that I think are going to continue
to move forward and drive a lot of what
we do in the future.
Our customers see that they have
more and more of a need for us to
integrate tightly with their business.
So, it’s not just about equipping a
customer with a vending machine,
but also about how we’ll get those
machines to talk to the rest of our systems, and it’s about connecting what
a customer is doing on the web and
tying those transactions directly back
to their accounting system.