Automating Efficiency

Written by Ryan Cartner

Autocrib is a manufacturer of innovative industrial vending systems focused on reducing customers’ costs. Autocrib systems can greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of any operation.
Autocrib was founded in 1994 and pioneered the concept of industrial vending. The idea arose out of a need for a system to help companies account for and manage perishable and indirect materials. A client’s managing of these supplies is a significant challenge in an environment where hundreds or thousands of items are being checked out at a time and loss due to mismanagement is a substantial expense.

Autocrib’s solution to this problem comes in the form of sophisticated automatic dispensing systems driven by advanced software that provides real-time data that will result in noteworthy improvements to productivity while reducing expenses related to indirect supplies by up to 50 percent.

An industrial vending system operates on the same principle as a regular vending machine, in which items are stored within the vending system and are dispensed when needed, but beyond the general idea, the comparison is limited. Industrial vending systems are purpose-built for operating in harsh industrial conditions. They are durable and resistant to the many hazards common in industrial environments. Rather than using cash to request an item, Autocrib’s system is designed to respond to the end-user’s employee identification card, permitting the system to integrate with any operation seamlessly.

The true value that the machines provide is in the ability to help a company monitor and control the supplies that are dispensed. Mismanagement of inventory costs companies billions of dollars each year. Autocrib’s system helps to mitigate this waste by making sure that the right supplies or tools are available as needed.

This approach to inventory management is fundamental to the success of the Autocrib system. It enables companies to lower supply expenses by paying for materials based on how they are used, rather than what the most convenient ordering quantities would be. The latter system is possible in some distributor agreements, but with the Autocrib system, supplies are paid for only when they are dispensed.

By integrating the vending system with an existing employee identification system, a company can keep accurate track of inventory with real-time data to ensure accountability. The result is a workforce that is conscious of the cost of supplies and more responsible for how they use them.

Autocrib equipment can dispense objects of any size, from the smallest washer or fastener to large-scale aerospace components like parts for a jet engine. The wide-ranging capabilities of the equipment mean it can work in varied industries.

For the aerospace industry, a major advantage of the Autocrib system is the ability to account for the exact location of every piece of equipment at all times. Foreign object debris, or FOD, is an important consideration in this industry, as foreign objects can cause serious damage to aircraft, injuries to workers or worse. Keeping track of supplies helps to minimize the incidence of FOD-related issues.

In the construction industry, the ability to track tools saves companies substantially. Tools can be radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagged for tracking, and access to tools can be configured so that individual employees are given access only to the equipment they need. The vending machines are portable to be set up at a job-site, and there are important productivity gains that come with minimizing the time it takes workers to acquire the tools and supplies they need on the job.

Autocrib systems are particularly useful for government and military use in which asset management requires firm control. Accountability and accuracy in reporting are absolute necessities, and Autocrib’s sophisticated software is exceptionally good at providing updated data and detailed records of every transaction. Access controls and record-keeping allow for strictly regulated security at the levels required in mission-critical military and government environments. As well as the security-related implications, the efficiency and productivity gains are also advantageous in these applications.

Manufacturing companies seeking inventory and supply management solutions that fit in the Six Sigma or lean manufacturing philosophy will find what they are looking for in Autocrib’s dispensing system. Autocrib’s proprietary software allows companies to automate purchasing and restocking based on inventory availability.

This demand-based ordering prevents overstocking and out-of-stock issues while maintaining inventory quantities that are consistent with the needs of the operation. This way, Autocrib helps companies maintaining optimal inventory. It is the ultimate system for keeping a manufacturing operation free of excess inventory, lost time related to stock-taking and much more.

In the oil and gas industry, delays can be exceptionally expensive. Keeping workers equipped and ready to move is the utmost priority. The time workers spend acquiring tools and supplies from a warehouse or tool crib and dealing with what are often time-consuming sign-out processes, can be greatly reduced through the integration of an Autocrib industrial vending system. Minimizing the time spent supplying workers will directly affect a company’s bottom line.

These represent some of the many industries in which Autocrib systems have found suitable applications. Within these and many more industries, the company is helping companies face difficult inventory management decisions, reduce expenses and improve efficiency, productivity and profitability as a result.

The Autocrib system helps across all industries in the dispensing of safety equipment. Providing employees with constant and immediate access to the safety gear they require will keep them operating within safety regulations, will keep the company compliant and, most importantly, will greatly reduce the likelihood of any safety-related incidents. The system’s detailed record keeping will provide a comprehensive audit trail that can help a company in the case of an OSHA compliance audit or in determining whether or not an employee had signed out safety equipment prior to an incident. The Autocrib system’s record-keeping is comprehensive and valuable not only for inventory management but also for safety’s sake.

Autocrib understands that customers must drive cost out of the supply chain so that they can be more competitive, and has designed the system to meet that need by optimizing inventory management.

Autocrib’s hardware and software components are designed and manufactured in-house, giving the company fine control over every aspect of the user experience. The machines can dispense anything in less than ten seconds, some in less than seven seconds, and have the capacity to hold 2,000 pounds. The return on investment for an Autocrib industrial dispensing system is usually months and almost always less than a full year. It is no wonder Autocrib industrial vending systems are recognized as the best in the industry.



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