Parlevel - Machines: Online vs Offline



This article describes the features of and differences between online and offline machines in the Vending Management System (VMS) to assist you in making informed decisions about your operation.


Online Machines

In most cases, online machines are preferred over offline because of the information that is transferred and viewable between the machine and the VMS. Below is an example of the machine modal for an online machine.

  • Online machines have a telemeter with a telemeter ID assigned to it. Telemetry allows the machine to receive inventory and sales data on a set schedule without needing to be physically visited. You can have a schedule set to report information multiple times per day.

  • Online machines save money for the operator, since an online machine keeps real time inventory and the driver visits it only when he has to. This saves time, money, and helps you better use your resources.

  • Online machines collect sales data that can be used to view merchandising information and to optimize planograms based on sales performance. For more information about optimization and merchandising, see Optimization and Merchandising.

  • Online machines use received data to calculate accurate prekitting quantities, so the process of stocking the machine by adding prekitted inventory is automatic at the time of service.

  • Online machines can be set to send you alerts triggered by machine issues via the VMS or  the Parlevel Feed App. The app can also be set to send notifications, such as when a driver services a machine, but these do not count as machine alerts.

  • Online machines offer cash accountability for your drivers, lessening the chance of being short or over during consolidation.

    Machine inventory information is updated from the data exchange (DEX), so VMS layouts have to match the layout sent in the DEX file from the machine.


Offline Machines

Offline machines have limitations; however, there are several instances when offline machines would be preferred over online. Below is an example of the machine modal for an offline machine.

  • If your machine is an extremely slow machine, it probably won't justify the monthly expense of having a telemeter, since it may only be serviced once a month or less. Additionally, if your machine is in a remote region or building where it is difficult or impossible to get a signal, an offline machine is likely your best choice.

  • Offline machines do not have a telemeter and do not receive any external data; however, they are still managed using the VMS. To service an offline machine, drivers need to manually mark the machine as serviced via the Manual Parlevel option in Stock because there is no button or telemeter to perform the service automatically.

  • With offline machines, prekitting is calculated using forecasting based on historic stock information.

  • With offline machines, the driver must enter inventory levels and sales meter every time he or she services the machine to keep track of what was sold and to calculate how much money the driver needs to collect. The Sales meter is the number of total sales the machine has generated. The Sales meter difference between services is the amount to be collected by the driver.

    Failure to enter this information will negatively impact consolidation and future forecasted prekitting. 

  • Offline machines cannot be optimized and do not have merchandising information.

  • Offline machines cannot report any kind of alert or notify operator about issues.

  • Offline machines have limited cash accountability options.


Converting a Machine

You can convert your offline machine to an online machine using the Merge tool. After you convert your machine, inventory, sales, and daily consumption rates will become more accurate after a few services. For more information, please see the next article. 


You can convert your online machine to an offline machine by removing the telemetry device ID in the system and marking it manually as Offline. Service History will be kept for the machine, but daily consumption rates (DCR's) and sales history will be lost.