Installation of a Cannabis Vending Machine: Interview with Harvin's Head of Technical Support Team

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cannabis vending machine installation

Many of the questions we get every time from potential clients, or from visitors to our booths at cannabis trade shows, and even through our social media, are about the technical aspects involved with the installation of a cannabis vending machine in a shop window, so we decided to make a new article for our blog about the topic, and there is no better person to tell us all about everything technical about cannabis vending machines if not Luca Faini, the Head of the Technical Support Team at Harvin.

We spent an hour with him, for a “lunch interview” where he tells us everything we wanted to know about the technical aspects of installing a cannabis vending machine at a store location. Here is our interview with Luca.

Harvin Blog: Ciao Luca, we have collected many questions for you from our clients and friends, including from social media, and many of them are about the technical details involved with the installation of our cannabis vending machines in store locations, specially when the installation is planned within the shop window and some technical interventions are needed. Can you tell us about you and your Technical Support Team manages such installation interventions?

Harvin Tech Team: This is the work we do most of the days, but it’s also true that in many occasions no big structural interventions are needed, specially when the cannabis distributors are placed inside the shop, in public spaces or malls, or when we deliver versions of the cannabis vending machines that get installed on a wall.

In such cases a little intervention is needed, as we need to secure on the wall the structure that holds up, firm and secure the machine. Which, by the way, are pretty heavy, on average about 200 kgs, sometimes even more on the bigger models. But sure, sometimes we install the cannabis vending machines directly in a shop window, and cutting through glass and metal is definitely needed.

Harvin Blog: Do you perform all such interventions with your team?

Harvin Tech Team: Absolutely not, for several reasons. The first reason is that we are constantly traveling to clients locations all over Italy and often also abroad, and we couldn’t carry with us all the time the tools and the people needed to do all the interventions. The second reason is that we know that our clients have their own trusted suppliers for all the glass and metal work for their shop windows, so we prefer that our clients work with their own suppliers, while we coordinate the installation work thanks to our experience. We also think that it’s great to work with local artisans. Not only because they have access to their local workshops and tools, but also to all suppliers in the area, and we like  to think that when local entrepreneurs want to upgrade their business with Harvin, they also help the local economy. 

Harvin Blog: This coordination of third parties requires a lot of planning, I imagine…

Harvin Tech Team: Exactly, but we have our colleagues at the Sales team doing it for us. Typically, after planning the installation in advance, also with very detailed planimetries and accurate drafts of the installation, which are carefully chosen in order to secure max visibility of the distributor. If any technical modifications are needed by the installation plan, we ask clients to put us in touch with their suppliers.

Once we get in touch with them, we share with them the installation plan, and send them all technical documents, including list and sizes of all needed materials. We eventually talk to them on the phone if some clarifications are needed, and then we set a date for the intervention, coordinating all the work of third parties.

Harvin Blog: How many days are needed to complete the installation of a cannabis vending machine, from the day an order has been placed by one of our clients?

Harvin Tech Team: The planning and coordination process I just told you about normally takes some time, especially for the local suppliers to acquire or get all materials ready. It might take around 30 days for new clients to finally get their brand new cannabis vending machine up and running, but the process is much faster for existing clients, as we already have a direct line with their local suppliers, and they have already gained experience in previous installations of our cannabis vending machines. One important thing to point out, as my colleagues at the Sales Team always remind me to say, is that the consultancy and planning step is offered by Harvin completely free of charge, while I know for sure that our competitors normally charge extra fees for that.

Harvin Blog: How long does it take to physically install a cannabis vending machine at a store location?

Harvin Tech Team: It depends. If it’s a simple installation such as placing the cannabis vending machine inside the shop, and no particular structural modification is needed, we are in and out in a couple of hours, including giving the shop owner a tour of the machine features and functionalities. If some structural work is needed, such as mounting a cannabis distributor on a wall inside or outside the shop, it might take a few hours, generally half a day of installation work. The longest installation interventions are those that require cutting the shop window or shop shutter, with the support of the local glass and metal artesans; such installations generally require the entire day.

Harvin Blog: Can the installation of a cannabis distributor last more than one day?

Harvin Tech Team: It depends, again. We normally tend to complete all installation operations in one day, also because we must drive back home, sometimes for a few hours. In some cases, when we have to install several machines in several shops of the same area, or if we have to drive a few hundred kilometers, we stay out for the night, but we had it all planned.

In other few episodes we had some cases of installations when, normally because the local suppliers failed on some of the detailed instructions we sent them, we needed to stay overnight on location to complete the installation work the next day. We don’t normally like that when it’s not planned, as we do have families we want to go back to at the end of the day, but since situations like that can happen, when we go for big installation works far from home, we bring with us a bag with basic change and toiletry, just in case…

Harvin Blog: How many technical support interventions does your team manage every day?

Harvin Tech Team: We do mostly installations, also because the Harvin cannabis vending machines are pretty sturdy, and never breaks. Sure, there might always be a specific situation that requires our intervention, but the reality is that we almost never go back to the client for support. All system and software updates to our cannabis distributors are managed by our team remotely, through a secure and encrypted cloud service.

For the firmware update of our first generation cannabis vending machines, such as those that are not connected to the cloud, we generally send the shop owners a secure chip card with instructions, and they just have to switch off the machine, extract the previous card, insert the new one, and restart. When we go out for actual installations, not only the time depends on the kind of installation, but also on how far the installation location is from our warehouse. We have several teams going out at once, two people per support team, and sometimes we manage to do several installations per day.

Harvin Blog: Is there anything you want to suggest to those who are considering expanding their business horizons by adding one or more cannabis vending machines to their business and their stores?

Harvin Tech Team: One thing I can say is that they shouldn’t worry about anything, With our accurate advance planning, all our experience in installing cannabis vending machines and other automatic distributors, and the support of the owner’s local trusted artisans to carry out the works, the installation result will be perfect, and the store will look much better. I do have another advice, which is to check out all your local city regulations before planning the installation of a cannabis distributor.

Thankfully this is now an issue that gets worked out by our colleagues at the Sales team during the planning stage, as in the past we had to face situations where, during the installation works, we have been asked to stop by local police as there was a city regulation that avoided such works in the historic center or similar issues. In another case we had to stop because, even if our work wasn’t directly impacting it, there was a hub of a telecom company just a few meters away. So my good advice is: don’t forget to review your local city regulations, and make sure to have all the permits for the installation work!

Harvin Blog: One more question, a pretty important one due the current pandemic crisis. How do you and your team operate safely in the covid context?

Harvin Tech Team: We absolutely protect ourselves, and our clients too. The boys of our technical support team always wear protective masks, keep a respectful social distance for the client, the eventual local workers and the shop visitors, and of course disinfect and sanitize everything when the installation of the cannabis distributor is completed. We also sanitize everything on a daily basis at the warehouse, from common areas and working tools to the vans we use for customer assistance. Trust our team for a fully professional and totally safe technical support!

Harvin Blog: Thank you for all the info, you certainly have answered all the questions we collected, and more! Shall we close this interview with a funny or unusual anecdote about your technical support adventures?

Harvin Tech Team: There is a nice story that I like to tell my friends, it happened last year as we went to a small village of central Italy for the installation of a cannabis vending machine in the window of a local cannabis store. As we arrived in town with our van and started to offload the cannabis distributor and all the gear, we grabbed the attention of a group of local elders, who basically gathered with their chairs to watch “the show” all day long. The funniest part of this story is that they all were very opinionated, constantly trying to give us advice on how to do our work. One of them in particular didn’t stop offering advice all day. When we asked him if he had any experience in the installation of automatic distributors he told us that, when he was young, he used to be the apprentice at a local blacksmith shop. On the way back to the warehouse, we wouldn’t stop laughing, thinking at all the suggestions those old men gave us, with their funny dialect accent.

Harvin Blog: Thank you very much Luca. Big up for everybody at the Harvin Technical Support Team!

We hope you liked our chat with Luca, and that the interview solved all your questions about the technical installation of a cannabis vending machine in your shop. If you have more questions, please do not hesitate in getting in touch with Harvin, and our Sales representatives will give you all the information you need, answering all your questions, and offering their best advice on which of cannabis distributor of the Harvin cannabis vending machines product line can be the best choice for your business.

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