USA Today

USA Today: Newspaper vending

The Challenge:

USAT-FullcolorHow to change prices on a newspaper rack that only accepts three quarters.

USA Today needed a new coin-acceptance mechanism that allowed them to easily implement price changes on their newspaper distribution racks. Their existing ‘stacker-style’ coin-acceptance mechanism only accepted three quarters before activating, which limited how much they could charge per paper. The new system had to be retrofitted to the existing USA Today brand rack, and the solution needed to be cost-competitive with their current mechanical technology.

The Solution:

Incorporating electronics and low-power technologies, Bellatrix Systems designed a new electromechanical device from the ground up that:

  • Accepted all types of coins.
  • Allowed retrofitting of new plastic and metal components into the existing proprietary news rack.
  • Integrated new internal electronics and a microprocessor, allowing a more efficient battery than ever before, for long-term low-power operation.
  • Implemented an innovative token system for servicing the rack and programming it with price changes. The token-system was designed with a unique, built-in ‘learning mode’ used to established the new item price.
    • The service-person assigned the new price.
    • Once the service-person indicated they were done, the system learned the new price to use going forward.
    • Accommodated low-cost, high-volume and fast-delivery production.

The Outcome:

With Bellatrix System’s innovative new coin-acceptance mechanism, USA Today is able to effectively manage prices,  while keeping their easily-recognizable, branded newspaper racks.

  • This system provides USA Today with a path for continuous growth and increased revenue because their racks can now accept all coins instead of just quarters, and service personnel can easily program price increases using the token system.
  • The new device is economical and cost-competitive with their previous mechanical components.

Through our flexible development and manufacturing processes, Bellatrix Systems was able to implement this solution quickly and efficiently. We designed, manufactured and delivered 70,000 of these new devices in nine months (flexing production from 2,000 units the first month to over 18,000 units in subsequent months, all from our U.S. facility.)