Everyone happy with Pro Warehouse Vending Machine

It always happens at an unfortunate moment: a forgotten charger, broken cable or faltering keyboard. How do you get a new one quickly; that report has to be finished now; that presentation is about to start? A Pro Warehouse Vending Machine solves all problems and annoyance: it is filled with frequently used accessories for iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, among others. Such as adapters, chargers, cables, mice and keyboards. ’Just on your own premises, always enough stock, quick and easy to grab, with automatic registration,’ Pro Warehouse’s marketing manager Rowan Pijn says, listing some of the benefits.

Pro Warehouse is an Apple expert for the business market. The Amsterdam-based company not only supplies hardware (from its own stock) but also IT solutions: from complete workstations to cloud applications. Pro Warehouse does this for freelancers, SMEs and large enterprises and government bodies throughout the Netherlands. The company is an Apple-Authorized Enterprise reseller, the highest status for Apple partners. Only 27 specialists worldwide have this status.

Forgot your charger

The best ideas are often born out of personal frustration. This was also the case with the Pro Warehouse Vending Machine, says Rowan: ‘Mark van den Broek, our founder and managing director, had forgotten his charger while travelling and the shops were closed. If only there had been a machine at the airport or hotel where he could buy one… We saw all kinds of opportunities and started looking for such a machine.’

But it did not exist yet, nor could a party be found that could or wanted to meet Pro Warehouse’s requirements. ‘When the idea re-emerged a few years later, we came into contact, through some other party, with Innovend, which was developing a whole series of solutions with Zuply precisely where this fitted in. A professional and reliable partner, which was also simply located in the Netherlands. That made communication easy.’

‘Almost anything is possible’

‘Almost anything is possible and at Zuply they think about everything,’ Rowan reflects. ’Customization in particular was important to us.’ For example, the vending machine had to have compartments that were adapted in size to the products; after all, a keyboard is bigger than a charging cable. The exterior is finished in Pro Warehouse’s colours and house style; the machine has digital prices, which can be changed remotely, and is equipped with software for stock management and payments.

To test the prototype, Pro Warehouse put that machine in a service shop down the street. That is where consumers and self-employed people come for repairs on Apple devices. ‘Our premises are not visited by customers. While there, we could see how people respond to this type of IT vending machine and which products they mainly buy.  The reactions were very positive.’

Easier and faster

‘Such vending machines should be available all over airports, in hotels, as the original idea was, and also, for example, in business centres and stations,’ says Rowan. ‘But we soon realized that there are many more potential applications: first and foremost to support organizations for their IT supplies. Just think how often it happens that someone at a company with 500 employees needs a charger or a cable, a mouse or a keyboard… If they have to get it from the IT department on the other side of the building or fill in a whole form first, it costs a lot of time and money. A vending machine, at a central location, makes it easier: for the IT department and for the employees.’

Procurement and HR departments also benefit: customers get a dashboard on which they can see how products are running, which products are still in stock, which products are delivered and what the costs are. Rowan: ‘The software can even be adapted to connect the administrative system to the customer’s system. That is another advantage of working with Zuply: they develop the software themselves. If we come up with an idea or request, they start working on it.’

More options and improved service

Meanwhile, Pro Warehouse and Zuply have already implemented such solutions for several customers. ‘They have a vending machine that we developed together with Zuply, adapted to their needs and also in their own house style. We drive there a few times a week to replenish the stock of accessories. The system automatically notifies us if a product’s stock level falls below a set minimum.’

There is a lot of interest, says Rowan. ’This promises to grow into a whole new business model for us, allowing us to offer customers even more choice and service. However, because of corona, we are being cautious for the moment.’

For Rowan, there is no doubt that the Pro Warehouse Vending Machine is a keeper. Not only because it provides additional sales. ’More importantly, it produces happier customers. Because the vending machine saves them time and money and there is always enough stock. Employees never miss out and can quickly move on.’

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