Fully automated vending prevents losses and improve efficiency at data centers

Technology

Vending machine

On-going Contract

Data Center

Company

The company is an American multinational technology company based in California. They are a social media platform, which most people use every day.

Problem

This customer has data centers all around the world, ranging from large warehouse-style buildings to small offices in inner cities. These data centers require specific equipment to be able to keep the service running efficiently. Engineers would attend data centers regularly to carry out repairs on servers.

The problem is that the customer had no way of managing the stock when engineers were attending the sites to make repairs to servers. They were spending a significant amount of money on stock because engineers would accidentally take them home or replace items that didn’t actually need replacing to extend their hours on site.

Solution

The solution is a vending machine for parts, which engineers can use when they attend data centers. They can basically enter a repair number and the system will automatically record the action.

Engineers attend the data center and put their details into a screen. The system knows which hardware they need, because we set up an API integration with the customer service platform. This allows the customer to release the correct equipment to an engineer and also monitor how many items are taken out of each locker. It’s essentially a full vending and stock management locker system.

Outcome

The outcome for the project is fully automated vending. This allows the customer to vend parts to engineers in a way that is automated and requires no management.

The system is integrated with their service platform so that engineers turn up on-site and get the equipment they need quickly. The system also means that engineers can make more efficient use of their time by repairing more things at once because they have access to the equipment they require.

FAQ’s

Yes. For this project, we made bespoke lockers for the customer that fit into their server cabinets. This means the solution can be tailored to various data centers, even centers that are very compact and tight on space.

The locker system is extremely versatile and scalable, but the scalability comes down to the amount of space that the customer has inside their data center. We were able to offer the customer a tailored solution and create custom lockers and custom boxes that can deliver the stock they need in each data center. 

More and more data centers are being built all over the world and so we think there are opportunities for future projects. Lots of big companies such as AWS and Azure are building their own data centers with their own infrastructure to improve data privacy. Social media networks are also investing in their own data centers because they need their platforms to be online all the time.

The analytics are key for this customer because the issue they were trying to solve was that expensive kit was going missing, especially fibre optic cables. These can cost up to $1000 per piece of equipment. 

The customer needed to reduce the amount of loss by tracking who had access to each piece of equipment. Automatically allocating kit to an engineer before they arrive on-site has created accountability and reduced loss, resulting in a massive cost saving for the customer.

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