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Batteries Crucial to Retail Ops

BY CSA STAFF

Don’t overlook the impact that batteries have on retail operations and the bottom line. That’s the advice of IPT’s Ken Murphy, who told Chain Store Age that most retailers don’t realize how much money they spend — and productivity they lose — by constantly having to replace dying batteries in wireless barcode scanners. The problem, he says, is the continued use of subpar OEM batteries.

What is the biggest challenge retailers face regarding the batteries in barcode scanners and other devices?

The biggest challenge is subpar OEM batteries with a low lifespan that don’t last through a typical eight-hour shift. Employees cannot finish their job effectively or efficiently because their barcode scanner batteries fail mid-shift. During that downtime, an employee’s shift could end and another employee may finish the job, resulting in potential inaccuracies in inventory management or increased shrinkage.

In addition, because the OEM has a short lifespan, retailers spend more than they realize on battery reorders. Therefore, not only are retailers losing money from productivity and wasting budgets on excessive battery consumption, they’re also subject to inventory errors and shrinkage costs — all due to inferior OE batteries.

Do most retailers even realize they have a battery problem — and that new options exist?

Most retailers would initially say they don’t have a battery problem, until the problem is brought to their attention. The issue has been present for so long, it’s become invisible or viewed as a normal cost of doing business. Thus, even if retailers acknowledge their OE scanner batteries aren’t working well and their profitability is being compromised, they accept the inherent problem as a necessary evil. Why? Because they aren’t aware that an easy, cost-effective solution exists, which will solve all power-related problems.

IPT’s mission is to educate and revolutionize the industry by offering retailers an alternative power source, and releasing retailers from feeling held hostage by OEMs.

Has battery technology changed in recent years?

Lithium-ion battery technology has existed for years. However, electronics and chemistry experts, like IPT president and chief engineer Curt Quinter, have developed new ways to greatly enhance the technology. Using the highest-quality Japanese cells, proprietary ingredients, and an exclusive battery management system that optimizes their chemistries, IPT has advanced LI battery technology beyond anything else currently available.

Tell us a little about IPT and its product offerings.

IPT is a small, privately owned engineering group with one goal: to make batteries that make a difference. We work hard to provide the most powerful and longest lasting batteries for barcode scanners and two-way radios in retail and law enforcement. We also make batteries for UPS systems, portable printers and custom projects. IPT guarantees its Productivity+ Series batteries will deliver 25% to 30% longer runtime, two to three times longer lifespan and 40% more recharges. As a testament to its power, IPT was chosen as one of the Best New Solutions at NRF 2016.

Every battery we’ve sold in the four years since our inception is still in the field and functioning at up to 80% capacity. However, we understand claims are easy to make and difficult to substantiate. That’s why IPT always offers a free test battery so that businesses can prove to themselves the impact a better battery like IPT’s can have. Our goal is to save retailers money simply by replacing an item they are already purchasing with one that will deliver much better results.

What are some of the key benefits retailers can expect by switching from an OEM battery to IPT’s lithium ion technology?

A recent case study found that, out of a group of 63 distribution centers, 40 centers had a surprising 35% to 40% increase in productivity. An outside auditor determined the increase was due to replacing the OEMs with IPT’s batteries.

A separate series of tests conducted by a retailer together with its scanner device supplier pitted the OEMs against IPT’s batteries and showed that staying with the OEM battery would cost the retail chain a 25% loss in run time, directly translating to a loss in productivity. For about the same price, IPT’s battery would not only last full shift, but also double the years, ultimately saving the retailer over 70% in annual battery reorder purchases.

Switching from OEM barcode scanner batteries to IPT’s allows retailers to decrease their employee downtime, increase productivity, improve inventory management, lower shrinkage, reduce annual battery expenditures and improve their bottom line overall.

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