Blackwoods introduce on-site industrial vending machines

Blackwoods has introduced on-site industrial vending machines as a safe inventory solution for Canada Bay Council.

Blackwoods has been providing first-rate solutions to their customers for over 140 years and today boast a catalogue of over 300,000 products. Australia’s largest provider of industrial and safety supplies, Blackwoods recently partnered with the City of Canada Bay introducing on-site vending machines to solve the councils inventory problem.

Blackwoods, which has a diverse range of inventory solutions, is always looking at ways to improve business practices for their customers, and their partnership with the City of Canada Bay is a great example of what can be achieved when customers and suppliers 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 consequently 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,” says Marea Getsios, Procurement and Fleet Manager of Canada Bay City Council.

Canada Bay Council became the first council in the Sydney Metropolitan area to adopt the vending machine solution. Ben Lawes, Inventory Solutions Specialist of Blackwoods says the benefits for the council have been widespread.

“As well as site approved PPE, the vending machines have 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,” says Lawes.

The on-site vending machines provide the council with the much needed access to inventory 24/7 for essential safety and PPE items, increasing productivity and reducing the time staff need to spend off-site.

Benefits have also included a reduction in consumable spend, improved safety and compliance and greater visibility of usage among staff ensuring the approved PPE is being utilised at work sites.

Further to that the vending machines are an innovative technology that provide automated reporting and management of key product trends. The touch screen interface disperses the chosen item in just four seconds and Blackwoods regularly re-stocks each machine ensuring all stock is maintained at high levels.

Getsios 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 our council has prioritised their safety by ensuring key PPE is 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 Blackwoods an Australian supplier of products, but their technical expertise ensures they find solutions for all their customers. Blackwoods recognise the critical importance of having efficient access to inventory around the clock, even in the most remote of workplaces.

“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,” says Lawes.

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