Buyers on Amazon Business will soon have the option to deploy in their storage rooms a new “Dash Smart Shelf”—shown here in three versions with packages of paper, pens and rolls of tape—designed to sense when supplies are low and automatically reorder them.

Amazon Business wants to help its customers reorder supplies without even thinking about it.

The B2B arm of Amazon.com Inc. announced yesterday the Amazon Dash Smart Shelf, a “weight-sensing, Wi-Fi-enabled smart scale” that tracks inventory for a commonly used product—such as reams of copy paper or rolls of packaging tape—and automatically reorders supplies when the scale detects a weight threshold set by the user.

Amazon says it will make the Dash Smart Shelf “generally available” to Amazon Business registered account customers “sometime in 2020” and is letting businesses request a notice for when it’s released.

An alternative for SMBs to vendor-managed inventory

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Robert Mock, CEO, Ocean’s Halo

Amazon is promoting use of the Dash Smart Shelf by small and mid-sized businesses, which it notes make up 99.9% of businesses in the United States, according to 2018 figures from the U.S. Small Business Administration. For SMBs, Amazon says, “monitoring and reordering everyday business essentials like printer paper or coffee for the break room can be unnecessarily time-consuming.”

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Robert Mock, co-founder and CEO of Ocean’s Halo, a food brand that sells packaged goods like Vegan Thai Coconut noodles and Ramen broth to grocery chains, says in a testimonial on Amazon Business that he expects the Dash Smart Shelf to help his employees focus on marketing and business development instead of constantly reordering supplies.

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An Amazon Dash Smart Shelf.

“As a fast-growing food brand, we can’t afford to have our teams spend time on things that don’t add value or help us grow,” he says. “Today, our marketing lead is ordering our business supplies, which is an inefficient use of time and valuable resources. Dash Smart Shelf will automate this process, which will help us spend less time restocking supplies and more time getting the word out about Ocean’s Halo.”

With its “smart-shelf,” Amazon Business is looking to provide an easier-to-use alternative to vendor-managed inventory programs, which it contends often have minimum-order requirements and restricted service areas that may not be suitable for small and mid-sized businesses.

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Packages of copy paper sit on an Amazon Dash Smart Shelf

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Amazon says the smart-shelf device—which looks similar to a closed laptop computer, runs on four AAA batteries and has a built-in Wi-Fi connector—is designed to fit on such surfaces as countertops and wire shelving. The device is approximately one-inch tall and comes in three models with different width-depth measurements: small (7”x7”), medium (12”x10”) and large (18”x13”).

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