In the context of the current health crisis, companies have a vital role to play in protecting their employees and helping to fight the virus. As such, distributing masks to employees is now mandatory in France, but this is also an additional and time-consuming task, usually handled by facility management teams. Manutan, like many other companies, has optimised this process by using vending machines. This is an effective, safe and cost-effective solution.
Vending machines in the time of COVID-19
The use of vending machines in companies is quickly becoming more widespread. Having conquered the fast-food and industrial sectors , these machines, especially models designed for high-turnover consumables, are now an attractive option for any type of company when it comes to distributing PPE and hygiene equipment in the context of the health crisis.
That is why Manutan has turned to its partner, Cribmaster, to help optimise the distribution of masks to employees at its headquarters in Gonesse.
Vending machines: Simple and effective operation
The company has installed two machines at its head office in Gonesse, where more than 600 employees are based:
- A small model at the entrance to the office building, with a maximum capacity of 280 packs of masks.
- A large model, also used to dispense gloves and cutters, at the entrance to the logistics building, which can hold up to 250 packs of masks.
For several months, employees have been collecting their masks each day simply by scanning their ID badge at the machine. At first, the special COVID-19 team was responsible for raising awareness and informing colleagues about this new process.
On the facilities management side, the teams are automatically informed of stock levels and can monitor consumption in real time using dedicated software. This means that they can optimise inventory and better manage restocking.
The benefits of a vending machine
Nathalie Cara, Facilities Manager at Manutan, says that the benefits are twofold, "This definitely saves time and improves productivity. In the past, my teams had to distribute everything by hand over extensive periods of time. Altogether, this was equivalent to a full-time job. If you look at it this way, the small vending machine will have paid for itself within six months".
Available 24/7, 365 days a year, these vending machines also help to:
- Better protect employees by limiting contact and large groups of people.
- Improve the satisfaction of employees who can collect their masks more quickly and independently.
"Automating the distribution of masks to employees using this type of machine is particularly beneficial for MMBs (Mid-Market Businesses) or SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) with a hundred employees or more", adds Nathalie Cara.
As we have seen, the health crisis is driving innovation and companies' capacity for resilience. Vending machines (for masks and—why not—gloves, hand sanitiser etc. as well) that help with adherence to protective measures are a perfect example of this and could inspire other companies wanting to optimise their processes.