Innovative Retail Technologies

SEP-OCT 2016

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Lost productivity, inventory inaccuracy, and social irresponsibility are just a few of the sins associated with bad mobile device battery management. C urt Quinter has been in the bat- tery business for 41 years. Today, he's president and chief engineer at Impact Power Technologies, LLC (IPT ), but his history of contributions to the battery as we know it today is unparalleled. Quinter honed his skills at General Battery and Yuasa before managing exotic battery research for 12 years at Westinghouse and directing operations at Honeywell Battery. He was the developer and chief engineer of the first lithium polymer land mobile radio batteries. He worked at the Waxahachie super collider, researched nuclear power shoulder-to-shoulder with South Korean engineers, and founded Global Technology System. That's just a snapshot of highlights from his career prior to his brief retirement. Ken Murphy, COO at IPT, lured him out of that retirement in October 2012 to lead the company. The Impact Of Productivity On Profitability Today, Quinter spends his time helping IPT customers benefit from new battery technologies. In retail, he says productiv- ity improvements are chief among those benefits. "If a retail associate is doing their job and 6 hours into the shift their mobile device battery dies, they take a break. They lose productivity. The job doesn't get done, and when the next shift comes in, a new associate has to pick up where they left off," explains Quinter. That kind of disruption The Business Case For Better Batteries costs real dollars, money that IPT helps its customers track and recoup. In one cus- tomer's 500-device installation, IPT identi- fied the loss of 20 to 30 minutes per day, per device due to bad batteries. "At an av- erage associate wage rate of $20 per hour, that 500 device battery issue was costing the company more than $1.4 million annu- ally in lost productivity," says Quinter. That's to say nothing of lost throughput and potential sales lost to downtime. Another IPT customer exemplifies just how blind many organizations are to the efficiency gained through properly func- tioning batteries. An operations director from a company operating 60 distribution centers had hired an auditor to analyze DC productivity. The audit exercise found that 40 of the 60 DCs were posting 35 percent higher productivity figures than the other 20. Further investigation uncovered that those 40 high-performing DCs were enjoy- ing longer mobile device uptime thanks to superior batteries. "The average operations manager doesn't realize that a $40 battery can have such massive implications on productivity and throughput," says Quinter, "and those are gains that most hemorrhag- ing brick-and-mortar retailers need right now." He says even those who acknowledge that they have a problem are somewhat defeatist about it because battery perfor- mance degradation has been a fact of life for so long. "It's the same effect we see on a tradeshow floor," kids Quinter. "By 2:30 in BY MATT PILLAR Sept-Oct 2016 28 What's Next If a retail associate is doing their job and 6 hours into the shift their mobile device battery dies, they take a break. They lose productivity. The job doesn't get done, and when the next shift comes in, a new associate has to pick up where they left off. Curt Quinter president and chief engineer, Impact Power Technologies the afternoon, everyone with an iPhone is looking for a place to plug in." Building Better Batteries IPT has dedicated its efforts toward perfect- ing its battery technology and battery management systems. By tweaking the chemistry in its replacement option for the Motorola MC65, for instance, the company says it has increased the power capacity of the battery 20 percent without changing any size specifications or requiring a new charger. As a result, one of its major big- box retail customers was able to decrease its annual battery purchases from 15,000 to 4,500. Quinter says IPT is producing replacement batteries that last 40 hours — versus the original equipment's 8 — and

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