CASE STUDY: On-site Vending Machines – A Safe Solution

Many of us could relate to this scenario: We’re out and about and feeling thirsty when suddenly we walk past a vending machine full of drink options, and moments later we’re gratefully downing a water, juice, or flavoured milk. Great!

How convenient. Now, let’s transfer that to the workplace. It’s Saturday afternoon and you need a new part or safety gloves, but the on-site inventory store is shut, and it won’t be open again until Monday morning. So, you must go off-site.  That takes time. And, as we know, time affects productivity or indeed, workers safety.

Blackwoods, which has a diverse range of inventory solutions, is always looking at ways to improve business practices for our customers, and our partnership with the City of Canada Bay is a great example of what can be achieved when we work together.

The City of Canada Bay is a thriving local government area in the inner west of Sydney, Australia’s most populated city. It covers 19.82 square kilometres and has a residential population that is pushing towards 100,000.

In October 2020, after an internal realignment, Canada Bay Council realised it couldn’t have staff in its stores department 24-7, and  onsequently management sought solutions from its suppliers. As part of its proposal, Blackwoods suggested the placement of an on-site industrial vending machine to manage the council’s critical inventory, most of which was Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“Like most businesses we all had to realign our thinking during the COVID Pandemic. Our first priority is to keep staff safe and to do this we need access to key PPE items 24/7. The vending machine became the most cost effective, space saving and logical solution,” said Marea Getsios, Procurement and Fleet Manager of Canada Bay City Council.

“As well as site approved PPE, the vending machine has given the council a distribution point for Covid related items such as hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes and disposable respirators. The machine reordering process is automated and through usage reports and stock on-hand reports, we can help the customer avoid stock outs of critical PPE which would
impact their work schedules,” said Ben Lawes, Inventory Solutions Specialist of Blackwoods.

Canada Bay Council became the first council in the Sydney Metropolitan area to adopt this solution, and the benefits have been widespread, including:

• A reduction in consumable spend
• Improved safety and compliance
• Greater visibility of usage among staff and ensuring the approved PPE is being utilising at work sites
• Automated reporting, and managing key product trends
• Access to inventory 24/7 for essential Safety & PPE items
• Higher productivity
• Blackwoods re-stocks machine, ensuring all stock is maintained at high levels
• Touch screen interface with item dispersal in just four seconds
• Less time spent by staff leaving the work site to obtain these goods.

Marea went on to say, “At first our staff had a bit of a chuckle and were disappointed it didn’t dispense Soft drink or chocolate bars, but now they are all grateful that Council has prioritised their safety by ensuring key PPE are available around the clock for easy access. There has been a reduction in the hoarding of items such as face masks, sanitisers and gloves.”

The success of the on-site vending solution underlines the versatility and value of Blackwoods. Not only are we an Australian supplier of products, but our technical expertise ensures we find solutions for all our customers. We recognise
the critical importance of having efficient access to inventory around the clock, even in the remotest of workplaces. .Blackwoods is motivated by building respectful and understanding relationships that enable us to perform at our best while also continuing to look at ways we can improve our services.

“The City of Canada Bay is really pleased with the service Blackwoods provides and the initiatives of solution such as the vending machine. They make this solution very easy as they fill the [vending] machine and the reporting is automatically
generated. We are extremely pleased with how well everything is operating.”

Ben went on to say, “If the site has a need to change items in the [vending] machine in future, we are flexible and make
it happen quickly. Quantities on seasonal items such as sunscreen and hydration products can be adjusted throughout the year, to ensure they’re available when needed most, to keep workers safe”.

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