How organized is your team’s supply closet? From every day tools and office supplies to replacement parts, field service organizations have a lot of equipment to track and inventory. According to Aly Pinder, research analyst at Aberdeen, more than 50 percent of field service visits require a service part. “The efficient delivery of service is dependent on a number of inter-related functions working together — for example, ensuring the right parts are available when a technician arrives at a customer site, yet the parts depot isn’t overrun with excess inventory,” says Pinder.

Industrial supply and service provider Fastenal hopes to solve this problem for organizations with its line of industrial vending machines. Unlike the typical coin-operated vending machine stocked with candy and drinks, Fastenal’s FAST 5000 industrial vending machine can disperse and track the usage of parts, tools, safety glasses, gloves, tapes, batteries, lubricants, and other items.

Automated Tracking of Tools and Parts

How does it work? “Members swipe their cards, applying the charges to their membership accounts,” explains Engadget contributor, Brian Heater. Fastenal provides the tools stocked in the machine, preventing service techs from having to run to the hardware store when they need a tool or part. Field service isn’t the only industry to put a modern spin on the vending machine. Companies such as Facebook are using similar vending machines to dispense and track IT supplies such as power supplies, keyboards and computer screen wipes for their employees.

The FAST 5000 industrial vending machine provides easy access to tools and parts, and it also allows organizations to track frequently checked out items for real-time inventory management with the machine’s digital report system. Managers can even set up automated inventory reports. If a stock falls below the minimum level or if the machine malfunctions, the system automatically alerts Fastenal so the company can re-stock or repair the machine.

Check out the Fastenal industrial tool and parts vending machine below: