REDLANDS ( — As a handful of California cities muddle through bankruptcy proceedings, Redlands has found a way to streamline and economize its supply system without spending a dime.

Forty-two vending machines now dispense hats, safety equipment, brooms, absorbents and more to 150 city employees, replacing a warehouse of dusty shelves that were sometimes crowded with obsolete items and an antiquated system of paper forms.

“It’s the first system of this size in the country,” says Dana Abramovitz, the city’s purchasing manager. She says she used to spend hours at the supply warehouse, filling out forms, restocking items and handing out equipment.

Each vending machine requires an employee ID number and a passcode in order to dispense an item.

“The machine gives us real-time reports, real-time information, as well what’s going on,” Abramovitz said.

Vending machines dispense supplies to city workers in Redlands. (credit: CBS)

How much does the city pay for the machines? Nothing. And the city only pays for the supplies that are dispensed.

Supply vendors are responsible for resupplying the machines and removing obsolete or expired items.

With the new system, the city of Redlands is hoping to save anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000 a year.