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Tools Improve, Challenges Persist As Vendors Seek To Protect Profits

Posted On: 4/11/2005

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U.S.A. - While today's vending operators deploy much more sophisticated defenses against theft, the basis for effective loss prevention remains management's  awareness that the threat is perennial, and potential thieves also have better resources.

More than 30 years ago, the National Automatic Merchandising Association's first security consultant, S.J. (Bob) Curtis said "ordinary crimes" alone cost American businesses $16 billion in 1971. The figure today is $200 billion in business losses through thefts of cash and merchandise, according to the National Business Crime Information Network. New dangers, from international terrorism to identity theft, receive most media publicity; but most of the damage is done in the old-fashioned way.

Small vending companies devote most of their attention to protecting their equipment against unauthorized entry, violent or subtle, by outsiders. As they grow, internal security becomes an increasing concern. The techniques developed during the full-line vending revolution, from well-thought-out key control programs and quick response to the loss of keys and diligent reconciliation of cash and inventory to defensive-minded facilities design and effective training and supervision, remain central in developing management policies to deter theft and protect profits.

Operators attending the 2005 Atlantic Coast Exposition in Myrtle Beach, SC, at month's end will have the opportunity to get an update on the growing array of products and services designed to enhance both internal and external security. A number of ACE 2005 exhibitors offer solutions to a wide variety of security challenges.

CompX Security Products (Mauldin, SC) produces and markets "Chicago Lock," "Fort Lock" and "National Cabinet Lock" security systems for vending, and offers a "Stock Locks" program that includes   more than 1,500 products from all three  of these prominent vending lock lines, as well as CompX's "Timberline" furniture locks, ready for immediate shipment from Mauldin, SC or Rancho Cucamonga, CA. A representative selection of locks and locking accessories will be on display at Booth 220 at A.C.E.

CompX is headquartered at 200 Old Mill Rd., Mauldin, SC 29662, tel. (864) 286-1122, fax (864) 286-1698, and is online at

Lock America (Garden Grove, CA) will display its broad line of locks and accessories in Booth 615 at the A.C.E., and will describe its services for operators. Specializing in coin equipment security, Lock America offers an array of plug locks, camlocks and security hardware, including economy, medium security and high security cylinder locks, padlocks and accessories. It's headquartered at 7251 Garden Grove Blvd., Ste. K, Garden Grove, CA 92841, tel. (800) 422-2866 or (714) 373-2993, fax (888) 422-2866 or (714) 373-2998. It maintains a website at

Locking Systems International (Orlando, FL) plans to show its vending locks and an assortment of padlocks, cabinet locks, padlocks and electronic locks  in Booth 742. Representing such leading manufacturers as Abloy, Medeco, Master Padlocks, and CamLock Systems, the company offers an extensive range of security products, from T-handles to security seals for cash and transportation tasks. LSI is based at 6025 Cinderlane Pky., Orlando, FL 32810-4754, tel. (800) 657-5625 or (407) 298-9895, fax (800) 895-0706; it is online at

Medeco High Security Locks (Salem, VA) is set to exhibit its well-known lines of mechanical and electronic locks for vending equipment in Booth 513. The company will describe its comprehensive key control program for operators, based on the Medeco "Biaxial" cylinder and keys that can be duplicated only by Medeco and its authorized service centers, and only at the operator's request. Medeco T-handle lock and housing systems combine a stainless steel T-handle with a free-spinning hardened steel cover that protects the cylinder. The company's "NexGen" electronic vending locks offer access control plus audit capability, route management and physical security combined in a single self-contained locking solution. "NexGen" is offered in padlock, cam lock, removable plug lock and T-handle cylinder configurations. Medeco headquarters is at 3625 Allegheny Dr., Salem, VA 24153-0330, tel. (888) 633-3261, fax (800) 280-1660. The company maintains a website at

Sycamore Systems will showcase its new "Lyon Cage" security enclosures for vending machines in Booth 245. Modular and extensible, a "Lyon Cage" can be assembled to protect a single machine, then expanded to secure a vending bank (see VT, March). Replacing a vender with a new piece whose front is different requires only changing the cage door. Cages are available in indoor and outdoor designs engineered to bolt to floor or wall. The company can be contacted at P.O. Box 510, Sycamore, IL 60178, tel. (800) 541-5088, or visited online at

Van Lock Co. (Cincinnati, OH) is readying its display of proven vending locks and locking accessories, and will introduce a  security enclosure for vending machines at Booth 324. The new cage has paneled sides that can display graphics to best advantage and, in high-visibility sites, can even be rented for advertising, thus making the enclosure a a profit center. A vented back panel ensures proper air circulation for the refrigeration systems of chilled and refrigerated venders, and the cage can be configured to accept most machines up to 44 ins. wide and less than 74 ins. high. Van Lock is based at Van Lock , 6834 Center St., Cincinnati, OH  45244. tel. (513) 561-9692, and is online at

Also on display at ACE will be management software, which has brought an entirely new dimension to vending security. Operators in the 1960s and '70s dreamed about the ability to perform same-day settlement as soon as the collections were turned in, in order to detect discrepancies immediately. The benefits of doing that range from the ability to get early warning of the activity of a key gang and detection of equipment malfunctions to establishing and maintaining a "climate of discipline" in which everyone knows that management is keeping track.

The ability of a modern computer system to provide very fast, accurate processing of information, complemented by today's automated data capture, storage and retrieval systems and by laser barcode scanners that increase both the speed and the precision of inventorying trucks and the warehouse, have enabled vendors to achieve the sort of controls that their predecessors could only imagine.

A number of ACE 2005 exhibitors are demonstrating their computer solutions for vending management challenges.

CompuVend Inc. (Metairie, LA) will demonstrate its suite of applications for office, counting-room, commissary, warehouse, truck and vender at Booth 446. CompuVend has applied the vending industry data transfer standard ("DEX") to  its popular "Buzz Box" wireless system that allows a route driver or supervisor to inventory the machines in a location from a truck outside. CompuVend  is exhibiting in Booth 446 at ACE; it is based at 3636 N. Causeway Blvd., Ste. 103, Metairie, LA 70002, tel. (800) 341-7677, fax (504) 831-3359, or e-mail

Crane Streamware (Norwood, MA) will showcase its "VendMax" and "DeliveryMax" software for vending, foodservice and OCS and related route sales operations in Booth 310. The latest version of "VendMax" has been updated to speed and simplify the task of retrieving "DEX" information from machines of different kinds, and generally to expedite full implementation of automated data retrieval smoothly and efficiently. Crane Streamware is based at 55 Providence Hwy., Norwood, MA 02062, tel. (781) 551-0010, fax 781-551-0515, e-mail

Data Intelligence Systems Corp. (DISC) of Bedford, MA will spotlight its "RMS" route management software package at Booth 733, and also will show related applications including "DMS/Office Coffee Manager," "CSP/Customer Service Manager," "AMPS/Commissary Manager," "CCI/Moneyroom" and "DVW/ Warehouse Manager." DISC has been serving the vending industry since 1972, and headquarters at 5 Shawsheen Ave., Ste. 4, Bedford, MA 01730, tel. (800) 627-9990, fax (781) 687-8846. An e-mail link may be found at

inOne Technology LLC (Menomonee Falls, WI and Hunt Valley, MD) will showcase its extensive capabilities in Booth 334.  inOne offers a full line of data capture, retrieval, transmission and processing applications assembled when Audit Systems Co. folded EMS Solutions and VendMaster into one company. An innovator in "DEX" retrofitting, inOne also has built a leadership position in wireless data transmission. Its operations offices are at N56 W16743 Ridgewood Dr., #300, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051, tel. (262) 703-4400, fax (262) 703-4404; it can be e-mailed at

MEI (West Chester, PA) will display its ever-expanding "EasiTrax" line, which includes hardware and software for a very wide range of tasks in Booth 407. "EasiTrax" provides the mechanisms to control assets, cash, product, machines, trucks and people in vending, OCS, bottled water and direct store delivery operations. MEI long has been a leader in payment processing systems, and extends the "EasiTrax" system with a full line of coin, banknote and cashless payment