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DEVELOPMENT, 6 MIN READ

How IoT-driven solutions can OPTIMIZE healthcare service:
smart vending machines

ARTEM BARMIN
ALEXANDRA LOZOVYUK

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Gathering and analyzing real-time data is a powerful engine within different business sectors. Fueled by speedy internet and advanced technologies it is gaining momentum day by day. Internet of Things (IoT) as the general name of digital ecosystem involving control, gathering, monitoring, and analyzing data toolkit is a key tech trend for today.

Rolls Royce improved their aircraft technology with inserted chips for real-time data rendering the air vehicle condition and the need for repair or maintenance. Harley Davidson shifted one of its production plants to one that was fully IoT-enabled that reduced the time workers needed to spend on routine repetitive tasks and cut operating costs by $200 million. Hershey's chocolates are made by manufacturing facilities with connected IoT sensors today to assess the size of a chocolate bar, which allow to save $500,000 per 14,000-gallon batch.

Aircrafts, motorcycles, chocolates: the reach of the Internet of Things is almost limitless. Leading manufacturers are developing their own highly intelligent systems, with other leaders following suit. Freshcode produces series of articles to figure out the opportunities of IoT implementation in different business sectors.
Today we are going to talk about automated procurement and sales process in the healthcare industry that improves business owners activities and provides a user-friendly, guided buying experience.

Why smart procurement & SALES solutions matter?

Digital transformation reshapes all business sectors including the procurement industry too. Fueled by developments in the IoT, new technologies help procurement businesses to stay focused on their core mission: achieving total cost leadership and creating a sustainable advantage.

IoT-driven technologies can help predict customer demand, draw and analyze point-on-sale data while digital software solutions enhance safety, security, and efficient procurement management.

When legacy platforms and siloed systems are slowing the procurement cycle, then delays, illiquidity risks, and costs can add up quickly. Thus, the advanced procurement and sales processes are vital to the financial efficiency of any business.
Future-ready healthcare companies are focusing on the continued investment in commercial technologies, scalable sales, digital marketing, and eCommerce platforms. Let's see how it works in healthcare industry on the example of vending machines usage.

What is A vending machine and why it's a good addition to business

They work round-the-clock, without days off. They are less of a burden on facilities budgets and space. They increase productivity and are easy to manage. That is all about vending machines.

what is a vending machine
A vending machine is a 24x7 standalone unit intended to provide users with a diverse range of products according to the selection and inserted amount of money. Its basic function is to infallibly issue users with products anytime.

In accordance with Grand View Research report, the global vending machine market size is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4% from 2019 to 2025. There is no wonder: implementation of vending machines has a lot of advantages. Let's now briefly review the key benefits:

  • automated ordering and purchasing

  • low overheads (vending machine requires no staff except maintenance and repair)

  • easy to manage

  • flexibility, in terms of location

  • option to operate 24/7

North America marketplace has a high adoption rate for technologically advanced vending machines, according to GVR report. Leading players are constantly implementing new solutions. Therefore, there is a clear demand for businesses needs to prepare for the opportunity in front of this tech journey.
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The World of smart Medical Vending Machines: select new level

Vending machines are an essential piece of equipment in the process of healthcare inventory distribution. Such leading medical companies as CVS Health or McKesson have used vending technologies for years. Along with the tech advancements and utilization of IoT in healthcare, the industry dependence on connected devices increases too. That, in turn, drives the growth of the medical vending machines market.

Medical vending machines with a self-contained on-site mechanism are used to miscellaneous varied medical products. They are installed in places like hospitals and pharmacies. Crane Merchandising Systems, Fuji Electric Co. Ltd., Azokoyen Group, Hitachi Ltd. are some of the key players in the medical vending machines market. And this is good news for them, that the implementing of smart vending technologies is one of the significant trends predicted to increase in the coming years. "Classic" vending machines have evolved, since they were firstly introduced almost a century ago. With the tech innovations boosting, people tend to technologically better alternatives. That's why the demand for smart vending machines offering varied types of medical inventory will increase.

"Making vending machines smarter requires cross-domain technology expertise, real-time data visibility and actionable insights into customers' purchasing patterns."
Frederic McCoy
Senior Vice President, Jabil Retail
Companies within healthcare sector should retrofit their vending machines to smart vending machines, also referred to as intelligent or digital vending machines. Such smart upgrades are intended to integrate hardware, software, user interface, payment systems and remote management into the connected complex platform. We at Freshcode have an experience of developing IoT systems and you can check a suitable example of complex application architecture below (click on image to enlarge).
smart meter IoT techinology application architecture design 2020 Freshcode
Intelligent vending machines are predicted to thrust automated retail sales into US $15 billion by 2025, according to the PMR report. And cashless payments, improved interface design, and big data integration are only some of technological upgrades we will see.

THREE a's of IoT-DRIVEN medical vending service: advanced, AUTOMATED, Agile

Technological innovations making processes easier and more convenient to use will be always in demand. Smart vending machines are a perfect example of how IoT can improve business models and revenue flow. The vending industry is increased by quick steps: the advanced access to data generated by connected smart devices is changing the workflow drastically.

So IoT, offering a lot of benefits for businesses using vending machines, is a crucial opportunity to upgrade business. Advanced IoT solutions increase every part of the vending process including:

  • operation management

  • inventory management

  • customer analytics

  • transaction management

  • digital signage

  • software and platform management

Let's figure out some advanced opportunities in more detail.

Smart Metering Management and Analytics via Smart Dashboard
Smart metering application is intending to collect and analyze data from meters inbuilted in vending machines. Such software enables support teams to proactively monitor and control purchases, stock levels, automated analytics, etc. It should be visually engaging, fast, intuitive and satisfying to use. Freshcode team develops analytics platforms with custom dashboards within different business sectors, including healthcare field. Here is one of the dashboard prototypes for monitoring and automated analyzing of medical procurement and distribution process.
healthcare app development smart meters management
Surveillance of Inventory for Maintaining Optimal Stock Levels: Point-of-Sale Data Automation
Inventory management software segment is expected to reach $3.2 billion by 2025 in accordance with Zion Market Research. With the IoT-driven cloud-based management systems, businesses are much more fast, flexible, and customized. Supplying the machines with a network of connected devices allows to:
  • Identify each machine
  • Keep track of inventory
  • Form inventory requirements based on sales trends
  • Conduct real-time test marketing
How it works? After a product is purchased, the vending machine determines how many products are left. If the number of products is less than a predetermined value, the machine sends an alert to the management system. Next step is automated request with the purchase order to a supplier.

Customer Demand Defining and Forecasting: Eliminating the Illiquidity Risk
With the continuous monitoring of inventory and consumption patterns, vending machines can dispense new products in more profitable ways:
  • Demand estimation via data analyzing
  • Monitor trends and preferences, adjusting selections accordingly
  • Analyze by specific attributes for more informed procurement decisions
  • Use of regression and multivariate analyses for forecasting
Demand analyzing and forecasting is a crucial element of a real-time supply chain system that allows companies to get closer to the consumer. It creates a better understanding of consumer behavior and its implications for the supply chain and can become a kick starter of business digital transformation. Moreover, demand sensing stage reduces errors in forecasting and illiquidity risks, ensuring that minimum amount of items will be returned to suppliers.

Procure-to-Pay (P2P) Software Smart Solutions
Modern software can simplify commerce a lot via consolidating and managing each stage of the P2P process. Built-in approval flows ensuring both catalog and contract compliance delivers a quick ROI. It optimize business outcomes and makes performance much more peak due to
fast launch, low maintenance, leveraging data-based process discovery, advanced analytics, and intuitive UI.

    Anything that can be connected, will be connected

    Chasing the cool tech can lead to compromised ROI. To fully realize IoT's potential and eliminate risks, businesses need to approach it as a multifaceted journey, changing their strategies and business models.

    The heart of IoT is interconnectivity. Interconnectivity is something more than the connections between devices — it is about the relations between customers, suppliers, and partners. That's why companies must move toward models in which partners can solve business problems together via transparent and flexible business process.

    "It no longer makes sense to think of IT as a separate entity from marketing, finance, or supply chain. From product development, intelligent supply chains, advertising and mobile payments, technology has become an integral ingredient in all aspects of businesses."
    Damiano Marabelli
    IT Service Director Revenue Growth Management & Commercial Capabilities, The Coca-Cola company


    It's no wonder that with all the tech advancements we've experienced over the last couple of decades, the world is becoming now hypersmart and more connected than ever before. At the heart of these is data. Thus, data and analytics are vital tools within any business strategy, and IoT will improve the volume and quality of the data available. Companies processing large amounts of data will experience the great benefits. Check out Freshcode development services to stay ahead of the future tech challenges. Here you can book a free consultation.

    And don't forget that the main rule is to focus on the business strategy, not the trendy tech only. May the force be with you!

    Check out Freshcode development services to stay ahead of the future tech challenges. Here you can book a free consultation.
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