Category Archives: Vending Machine Maintenance

Best Practices to Reduce Vending Machine Repair Needs

VendnetUSA - Best Practices to Reduce Vending Machine Repair Needs

The best way to ensure your business is running smoothly is to ensure that the machine is always running steadily, and not experiencing avoidable downtime and repairs. Here’s how to keep your equipment operating well and working for as long as possible, avoiding repairs and improving revenues.

Follow these simple vending machine maintenance tips: Regular maintenance is one of the most significant ways to lessen the likelihood of vending machine repair needs. If you know how to fix devices, you can save money. However, everybody should be aware of the machine’s maintenance procedures to keep it in excellent operating condition and avoid significant challenges.

Easy Steps to Maintaining a Vending Machine:

  1. Ensure Better Positioning: To maximize ventilation and limit the danger of overheating, keep vending machines at least 4 inches away from walls. Overheating and UV discoloration may be avoided by keeping your vending machine out of direct sunlight. Also, make sure vending machines are perfectly balanced on the ground.
  2. Proper Plug-in: Most providers get calls claiming a vending machine they installed isn’t operating. Most of the problem is mainly because the equipment has been disconnected from its power supply. Sometimes all it takes to fix a vending machine issue is re-plugging it.
  3. Keep it Clean: To eliminate dirt and bacteria, wipe down and clean surfaces regularly. Clean the condenser coils using compressed air or a brush every 3 months, depending on the site’s cleanliness. Depending on usage, clean all accessible portions of the vending machine at least twice a year with mild detergent, warm water, and a soft cloth. Using compressed air to clean the condenser coils regularly extends durability. The lifespan may extend if your machine is placed in a cleaner environment.
  4. Clean the bill acceptor: This portion may be cleaned with a moist cloth or disinfectant wipe. When a consumer makes a purchase, this is the most crucial portion of the vending machine since it helps to check and read the cash value. Cleaning can assist in lessening the likelihood of money being trapped.
  5. Periodic Check: Checking the voltmeter and ammeter, as well as the machine’s voltage and ensuring that the correct amount of power reaches the machine will significantly extend the machine’s life.

Choose vendnet that lets you order parts, provides technical support and a variety of instructional videos that help troubleshoot. Also, keep in mind that the manufacturer of vending machines must provide documentation on spare parts and procedures to maintain the machines functioning smoothly.

Vending machine downtime and its impact on your vending business

Vending Machine Downtime - VendNetUSALike all machinery and equipment, vending machines are susceptible to failure or performance issues. While some parts of the machinery are pretty complex and need expert handling, most of them are easy to maintain with low technical skills. In other words, timely DIY maintenance of vending machines can keep the downtime to a minimum.

Meant-Time-Between-Failures (MTBF) is a crucial measure that defines the productivity and uptime of machines. The longer the MTBF is, the better the utilization of the machine will be. When the MTBF is low, however, it is not just a question of machine utilization. Unplanned downtime can impact a vending business at several levels.

Impact on revenue and competition

The point of value creation in the vending business is the vending machine. When it is out of action, consumers cannot buy from it. This translates to a direct loss of revenue. Frequent outage means that the vending machine is standing idle. Suppose your competitors have placed machines in the same location. In that case, your revenue will start flowing into the hands of your competition. This allows your competition to price higher and earn more per machine.

Unrecovered capital

Vending machines are capital equipment. Businesses invest in them and recover the capital over the machine’s life. An idle machine will result in a longer duration to recover the capital employed. Unrecovered capital could bite you harder if your business has multiple machines installed in different locations. The higher the number of transactions, the quicker is your RoCE (Returns on Capital Employed). Ensuring that the machine does not go out of service is essential to achieve this milestone faster.

Cost of upkeep

Machines that fail frequently need constant investment in maintenance and upkeep. The failure could be because of several reasons, including user abuse, ambient operating conditions, lack of proper preventive maintenance or even ageing equipment. Getting the machine back up and running will require investment in parts, consumables, and time of skilled personnel.

Lost customer base

Customers who cannot transact with your machine when they are out cold will look out for nearby alternatives. If a competitor’s machine is available, they will use that machine. When this happens frequently enough, the end-user will eventually start walking straight to the machine they know will work for sure. Over time, frequent outages of your vending machine will lose its customer base.

The loss of  trust from partners

The businesses where you place your machines are your partners. They have chosen to share access to their customer base with your vending business. Hence, they will expect your vending machines to deliver the best experience for the end customer. If they realize that some vending machines serve their customers better than others, they will want to do more business with them than those that are always out of action.

Causes of downtime

A vending machine under repair can do more damage than just losing revenue from a few transactions. This can be easily avoided by taking necessary corrective actions. To take such steps, however, it is required to understand what causes the failure of vending machines. Some of those reasons are discussed below:

  • Machine repairs

All types of machinery experience wear and tear during their operations. Vending machines are no exception to this. Moving components, like the dispensing mechanism, can experience friction-related damages. Electronic components might fail due to power surges. Even simple mechanisms like doors in the collection tray can rust over time. Used machines may come with parts that are past their useful life. User abuse can also lead to repairs that can bring down a good machine.

  • Stocking issues

Another common cause of vending machine downtime is the problems due to poor stacking. Products that come in bags, like potato chips, are a good example. The bags tend to get stuck in the side rails between coils or under the coils. A candy bar on the metal coil can jam two bars and render the whole line useless. A common mistake that most operators make is not checking each product for a successful vend after stocking.

  • Site conditions

Vending machines that store beverages or other refrigerated products are vulnerable to ambient conditions. Too much exposure to the sun might overload the refrigeration compressor. A dusty environment can clog up the air circulation system and choke the refrigeration system. Poor flooring can also result in the machine tipping over. Chocolate bars tend to melt in hot conditions and get stuck in the machine. These are examples of how ambient conditions can cause vending machine failures.

Preventing unplanned downtime in vending machines

Regular preventive maintenance can reduce machine outages significantly. Using the right parts can help you increase MTBF. Operating the machine to specifications can reduce failures due to overloading or mishandling. Ensuring the availability of stock can eliminate instances of idling machines.

Our experts at Vendnet can help you with technical inputs on maintaining a well-oiled fleet of vending machines. We can help you find the right parts and consumables that extend the life of your machines. If you would like help solving frequent machine failures, talk to us at 1-800-833-4411.

Extending the cashable life of your vending machine in 5 easy steps.

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The vending business is a rewarding venture. A major share of the fixed cost goes into buying the machine. There and onwards, the cost is just variable. This means you incur these costs as you make sales. Hence, the recovery of this capital is what defines the breakeven point in a vending business. All the money you make from the machine after your break-even point contributes to your profit. That is why it is important to have a machine that has a long life.

Like all machines with moving parts and user interfaces, vending machines go through wear and tear. If you take good care of your machines, they will keep giving you success and happiness. Yes, we are talking about vending machines, not relationships. Thankfully good machines are designed in such a way that makes their upkeep easy. The key to a long cashable life of a vending machine lies in the following five steps.

1. Preventive Maintenance

Regular maintenance of the machine and its subsystems can help prevent unplanned downtime. Remember, downtime does not only mean spoiled drinks or stale snacks. The true cost of downtime is lost revenue and dissatisfied consumers. Periodic maintenance is not as difficult as it sounds. Some basic checks like cleaning blocks in the cash or coin validators and dusting the air intake can help significantly. The videos below show how you can do them both.

Cash or Coin Validator Check

Dusting the Air Intake

2. Upgrade & Update

Technology in the vending space is growing rapidly. Cashless and contactless payments were cutting edge a few years ago. Today, they are no longer a wow factor. You just need them to stay relevant. The demographics of vending machine users are also changing fast. The millennials do not carry their disposable income in cash or cards. They use mobile payments for transactions.

Touchscreens are quickly replacing push-button keypads, as they give the user a better experience. With fewer mechanical parts, they are also more reliable. The pandemic has also created a need for safe contact surfaces. UV irradiation technology can help alleviate some of those concerns. There are several other retrofit options that you can buy and fit on your machines to make them relevant for the changing dynamics of the market. You do not need to fork out cash to buy a new machine each time. These small upgrades are not only cost-effective they also increase the addressable audience for your machine and make them more profitable.

3. Reliable Parts & Consumables

Machines are designed, tested, and certified for how different components and consumables come together to meet functionality or safety specifications. This makes it important to use the right parts with the necessary certifications. You can avoid unnecessary machine failure or safety incidents by using certified parts. If you consider the cost of Mean-Time-Between-Failures (MTBF), the savings you make from buying spurious parts will seem trivial.

4. Professional Service & Support

Regular maintenance can be done by the machine owner or its operator. You still need to follow the user manuals and service guide for your machine. However, when your machine is in trouble, ask for help. Call the manufacturer or a reliable support partner. The vending machine is an intricate contraption. It is an electro-mechanical device with many auxiliary pieces of technology, like embedded electronics and cloud connectivity. Making a change in one component can and will impact others, too. While DIY is all the rage today, the value of expertise and experience can never be replaced. Your solution provider might still provide guidance on the phone if the issue does not warrant a visit. But that will definitely be much more informed and safer than getting adventurous with a complex piece of equipment.

5. Customer Satisfaction

Technology like Guarantee Vend can ensure that products are either dispensed successfully, or the money is returned, without exception. This makes your machine more reliable and the experience less frustrating for your customers. In return, the customers treat your machine with the courtesy it deserves. 

A stuck product is frustrating for both the user and the machine operator. It not only results in a failed transaction but the machine is also incapacitated. Following simple instructions while stocking the machine can help avoid frequently failed transactions. This video throws some light on best practices to follow while stocking your machines.

6. Sustainable Profitability

The cost of buying a vending machine is the biggest expenditure while you start a vending business. Suppose you are already running a fleet of machines in different locations. In that case, the cost of owning and operating them is quite high. This includes costs like energy consumption, repairs, maintenance, upgrades, and others. Either way, these five steps can help you enjoy sustained profits.

Taking care of your machines is easier with the right solution provider, like Vendnet. Vendnet provides parts and supplies for a wide range of machines and applications. To know how we can help you enjoy sustained profitability, call us at 1-800-833-4411.

How can preventive maintenance of your vending machines help you sleep better

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Why Preventive Maintenance For Your Dispensing Machine?

Dispensing machines are tough cookies. They can handle everything from tampering attempts and inclement weather conditions to unintended product abuse. Yet, they need to be inspected, calibrated, and serviced at the appropriate intervals to ensure minimal downtime and a great experience for the customers. 

What Are The Advantages Of Preventive Maintenance?

  • Fewer/No Breakdowns – a well-maintained machine has fewer chances of halting operations mid-vend during peak traffic hours.
  • Reduced Repairs & Services Costs now, we could imagine that rare scenario where repairs are needed. A routinely checked machine will have you coughing up far less in terms of spare part replacements.
  • Consistent Customer Experience – your dispensing machine plays multiple roles for recurring visitors. You must help maintain the same levels of efficiency for customers as the day you unwrapped the vendor.
  • Increased Cash Flow & Profits – All of these add up to a reduced bottom line and more topline. 

What Tasks Are Covered Under Preventive?

  • Perusing Product Literature: Checking the product and service manuals is the easiest and most effective first step towards preventive maintenance. Even if you do not read it cover to cover, some call-outs are intended to be at the top of your mind. 
  • Maintaining Logs: Checklists require updated data to be compared against to be effective. Logs are the answer here and go a long way in helping with preventive maintenance. Logging also helps keep track of high-impact factors such as water consumption, units of electricity consumed, the time taken to vend items, etc. This approach helps address many avoidable and recurring problems by – 
    • Understanding Cause & Effect: If your coffee dispensing machine requires more water for the same number of vends, the filters likely need to be cleaned. 
    • Identifying Deviations: maintaining logs helps identify the sweet spot in terms of running costs and helps flag down deviations. For example, consider a 29 Selection combo vending machines that require 216 electric power units for 24/7 operations in a month. If your consumption exceeds this substantially, this needs to be checked out.
  • Order Original Parts: Vendnet is your trusted supplier of quality spare parts, and there are few if no parts that we do not have in stock.  
  • Track Feature Usage: Operational wear and tear impacts components differently. For example, the coin validator, motor mechanism, etc., must be checked more frequently than others. 
  • Bringing In Expert Help: dispensing machines are a long-term investment, so it would be best if you were confident about the technicians who worked on them. Vendnet is at your disposal with its 90 years of experience in servicing dispensing machines.

What Is Preventing You From Doing Preventive Maintenance?

However, the biggest question is what exactly prevents you from doing maintenance activities. Is it bandwidth, maintenance costs, access to information, or would you like to see a more compelling business case to invest in preventive maintenance?

Whatever the case is, we highly recommend you get in touch with us because –

  1. If the reason is time or bandwidth – our training videos cover multiple aspects of preventive maintenance in setup videos, certainly worth your time.
  2. If you think the cost of routine maintenance is expensive, please talk to us – you might be surprised by the things you could accomplish by just hopping on a call with our experts. 
  3. If you have the time and inclination to perform routine maintenance and just require access to information, then visit the Vendnet website. We are the one-stop-shop for all things related to dispensing machine service, spares, and maintenance.
  4. And if you want to see a more compelling business case – we recommend you keep tabs on the cost of lost profits due to avoidable downtime.

For more information about Vendnet and how we can help you, give us a call at 1-800-833-4411.