DEX Errors vs. Failures — Do Your Drivers Know the Difference?
Do your drivers use some sort of portable device (like the MC70 shown above) to check inventory, sales, and cash in your machines? Most do. It’s common knowledge that these portable devices and the software that runs on them often have errors and sometimes fail to work altogether. It’s a computer with software; even the best machines running the latest software are not perfect. With wired handhelds specifically, there is a difference between a DEX error (like the "DEX cumulative error") and a DEX failure:
A DEX error, and the related pop-ups, are all-too-common on the wired DEX handheld. A DEX error occurs when a DEX file is pulled and your VMS is unable to parse it correctly. In that case, the vending machine is working fine, the handheld is working fine, and your driver succeeded in downloading the DEX file, but adjustments need to be made within your VMS to correctly interpret it.
Unfortunately, when drivers see a popup "DEX error warning" they may think DEX failed and call a service tech. When the tech arrives, they use a different tool, see that DEX is working, and declare the machine to be in working order. That leaves drivers feeling things aren't fixed even when they call in problems and service techs reluctant to respond to DEX service calls.
A DEX failure is when DEX cannot be obtained at all. In order to successfully download DEX, all the components in the chain (vending machine to control board to DEX jack to DEX cable to DEX harness to handheld) have to be on, connected, and working. Constant plugging and unplugging breaks hardware, like DEX cables and harnesses, DEX jacks and vending machine control boards, sync cradles and the old handhelds themselves. When this hardware breaks, DEX fails and no accountability information is collected.
It's important for drivers to be well-trained with their toolset. Part of the training needs to be a functional understanding of the field hardware and software that is designed to help them do their jobs. Computers are imperfect and understanding the differences between DEX errors and DEX failures can get the right type of support where its needed.