NORWOOD, MA -- Crane Merchandising Systems has released the first VendMax software update for 2014. Issued twice a year, these software updates provide new features to the base VendMax vending management system at no additional cost to existing customers.
Enhancements in VendMax 5.0.6 include handheld computer alert messages for route drivers, exception reports that facilitate problem-area tracking and introduction of the Windows CE operating system on all the handheld computers available for the system. In previous versions, only the delivery handhelds ran under Windows CE.
The new handheld messages and exceptions are designed to improve the accuracy of VendMax data by verifying it when and where it's most immediately useful: on the handheld route computer, when the driver is in front of the machine. The route computer now performs a series of "mistake-proofing" validation checks on the values entered by the driver. In the event of an error -- bad or missing DEX data, negative vends, price mismatches or out of service products, for example -- the handheld will alert the driver so the error can be corrected immediately. This improves accountability, enhances the accuracy of prekit forecasting and reduces the quantity of "bring-backs."
Crane reports that the new VendMax Exceptions functionality allows operators to track problem areas encountered by drivers and take the actions needed to resolve them, such as improving route processes or providing additional driver training.
Implementing the Windows CE platform on all the handheld computers across the system eliminates the added cost of StyleTap licenses and provides a seamless user experience for both vending and delivery functions, the manufacturer explained.
During a field trial across four vending operations, the features introduced in VendMax 5.0.6 reduced the companies' operational errors in the office and on handheld computers in the field by 36% on average, Crane reported, and decreased the number of machines with prekit bring-backs by an average of 11%.
"Just like our customers' businesses, VendMax continues to evolve," said VendMax product manager Silpa Pande. The latest version delivers tangible benefits with features that eliminate waste and improve customer service, he emphasized. "Our key objective is enabling the success of our customers, and by consistently offering software updates that support their efficiency, we are doing just that," he said.
In addition to these major features, the new update includes many enhancements that will drive efficiencies for both VendMax and DeliveryMax users, Crane said. Among these is the ability to compare financial trends over a 12-month period and to review product purchase activity by supplier, which supports the analysis of purchase trends.