Automation gone too far?


One of our best customers, a highly successful midwest manufacturer recently called. They needed an expedited shipment of our ArcTime™ Brand Hybrid Formula, “Multi-Use” Non-radioactive Tungsten Electrodes. (They have tested all available materials from a variety of suppliers/manufacturers and found ArcTime™ works best for their welding application but that’s another post)

ArcTime hybrid tungsten electrodesWe were sold out — It was late in the day and we did not have the raw tungsten material packaged and ready for sale (in our trademarked plastic tubes with product info hang tag and moisture-absorbing wood stick). Our sales manager Tim said, no problem. The customer puts the tungsten in a vending machine.

I was sure that Tim was mistaken. That he had gotten a crank call…. why would you put tungsten electrodes in a vending machine?

Turns out our customer uses a CribMaster Vending Machine. This innovative solution to inventory control allows the manufacturing engineer to track which TIG welders use which tungsten and how much they use. It is becoming a highly effective management, quality control and cost saving tool.

Someone still has to place the orders, however, which may bode well for the tool crib manager. Otherwise, I can just imagine him (or her) down at the local bar telling his buddies how his job was outsourced by a vending machine….


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