SAN FRANCISCO -- Cantaloupe Systems reports that it has been awarded U.S. patent No. 7,894,938 for its Vending Machine Service Scheduling system. This allows operators to calculate the service priority for individual vending machines based on such criteria as machine location, driving times between machines, and the types and quantities of products that need restocking in each. Cantaloupe's Seed technology allows operators to monitor each machine's sales and inventory in real time.
The newly patented system divides machines on location into sub-routes and generates an optimized daily service schedule based on the highest-priority machines. This allows vending machine operators to reduce out-of-stock conditions and eliminate unnecessary service calls while increasing sales per machine through improved inventory management.
At the heart of the Cantaloupe Retail Optimization Platform (CROP) are the wireless Seed technologies that deliver the information on which the recommendations for optimizing vending machine restocking schedules are based. According to Cantaloupe, operators using the CROP and Seed technology average $35,000 in annual savings per route and can replenish 80% more machines a week. They can also reduce their carbon footprint by 40% by shrinking truck inventories and reducing mileage, according to officials.
Offered as "software as a service" (SaaS), the cloud-based Cantaloupe Seed technologies collect and analyze inventory and sales data, in relation to the machines' locations and the drive time required to restock them. This boosts revenues by enabling operators to maximize sales, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce cost by eliminating unnecessary stops.
Cantaloupe cofounder and chief exectuvie Mandeep Arora claims the innovation is a game-changer for the global vending industry because it fundamentally modernizes how machines are restocked and serviced. "Until now, machines were checked regardless of whether or not they needed restocking," he said. “With this patented technology, operators upgrade from simple static scheduling to smart dynamic scheduling, enabling them to service machines more efficiently and ensure that the right products are in the right machines all the time."
Cantaloupe Systems already has been granted patents for other elements of the Seed technology suite, including its Vending Machine Door Monitoring system (patent No, 7,385,504), along with Remote Diagnosis and Repair of Vending Machine Communication Failure system (patent No. 7,325,728).
The Vending Machine Door Monitoring system detects the state of the machine's access door and allows operators to track any unusual activities or malfunctions. The status of the vender is continually monitored, reducing theft rates and downtime occasioned by vandalism.
The Remote Diagnosis and Repair of Vending Machine Communication Failure system retrieves operational data from a vending machine controller (the DEX file) and transmits them between the vending machine and audit system. This enables operators to monitor and manage all vending machine activities more effectively.