Charged Up: Why More Companies Need Proactive Battery Management Strategies for Employees’ Mobile Devices

According to VDC Research, over 50 minutes of mobile worker productivity is lost each time a battery doesn’t last a full shift – and that’s not the only pitfall of powered-down devices.

A warehouse worker takes inventory with a Zebra mobile computer
by Sandeep Malhotra
January 05, 2022

Fielding helpdesk calls and tickets related to failing device batteries can be draining – on your IT teams and your budget. It’s also depleting the little time and energy your front-line workers have during the busiest time of year. One VDC Research study found battery failure to be one of the leading causes of mobile device failure. And if a mobile device goes offline, the device user – and their ability to help customers or continue their workday goes offline too. They aren’t available to advise or collaborate. They can’t actively retrieve assignments or report task completion, which means shelves could sit empty or trucks could sit idle longer than necessary. And they can’t complete sales transactions, which directly impacts (as in, diminishes revenue). It will also be difficult to locate device users if they’re out in the field or on the road. Worse, they may not be able to locate their next delivery stop, which could be even more detrimental to your business since they won’t be able to fulfill orders that would translate into revenue. The customer could request a refund or credit for the inconvenience, and you could be left with spoiled food or overstocks that you now have to absorb.

So, I ask, when was the last time you proactively checked the health of every battery in your mobile device fleet? Do you even have a way to do so, short of asking your device users to report in? What if you didn’t have to do this, and you had a proactive battery replacement solution at your fingertips?

If you said something along the lines of “I don’t know,” this is what you should consider…

  • Battery health checks are easy for someone sitting hundreds of miles away from the device and is responsible for checking up on the health of the battery.
  • It’s imperative you don’t let device batteries die. Not even temporarily during a shift. And certainly not for good. When those things happen, everything gets harder. Your front-line workers will have to figure out workarounds to everything. Your managers will have to chase down people to get status reports or reassign staff to pick up the load from those who are now offline. Your IT teams will have to chase down new batteries and figure out how to get them to workers. And customers could be left in the dark about the status of their orders (retail/restaurant), test results (hospital) or warehouse/distribution centers.

The Power of Prevention

As I mentioned, there is a way to easily monitor battery performance and life without bugging your workers or managers to run diagnostic tests – at least if you have Zebra mobile devices. Actually, there are three easy ways if you’re in North America or Europe*…you just have to pick one which works for you:

  1. The Standard Battery Maintenance Service
  2. The Premium Battery Maintenance Service
  3. The Proactive Battery Replacement Service

The Standard and Premium Battery Maintenance Services extend Zebra OneCare™ comprehensive coverage to the batteries in your Zebra mobile devices. With the Standard service, both Zebra mobile printers and computers are covered, and you can get one new battery per covered device during the Zebra OneCare plan term. The Premium Service is only for mobile computers but does give you an unlimited number of batteries during the plan term for covered devices. If you opt for one of these, your workers or IT team can also choose to use Zebra’s free, downloadable Device Diagnostic Tool to monitor battery health. If devices and/or batteries are sent into a Zebra Service Center for repair, Zebra’s team will test the batteries. Any battery that’s unable to hold 80% of the original charge capacity will qualify for replacement.

If you choose the advanced, prevention-based Proactive Battery Replacement Service, Zebra will actually monitor the health of the batteries in your Zebra mobile devices and proactively send replacements for batteries that can no longer hold a full charge before worker productivity is impacted. These are batteries with less than 30 days of remaining useful life (RUL). You will also have access to your own VisibilityIQ™ OneCare™ cloud-based dashboard to view the battery report along with eight other support and repair related reports.

I know…the third option seems like a no-brainer. But there is one more thing to consider. With the Proactive Battery Replacement Service, you’ll have to find a way to properly recycle the spent batteries (At least for now. We’re working on a solution for that.) With the Standard and Premium Battery Maintenance Services, you’ll send the old batteries to Zebra Service Centers, and we’ll recycle them for you. Both save you time and money, in slightly different ways. Though, they equally save you time and frustration when it comes to minimizing device and worker downtime and the consequences that could ensue.

If you’d like to learn more about these services (and I’m sure you do), reach out to your Zebra representative. They can share more details about the coverage levels and benefits.

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Editor’s Note:

The OneCare battery service plans Sandeep described are currently available in North America and some parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Stay tuned for similar offerings in Latin America, Asia-Pacific and other parts of the world in 2022.

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Related Resources:

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Sandeep Malhotra
Sandeep Malhotra is the Senior Global Product Manager at Zebra Technologies, where he is responsible for managing numerous services for mobile computer and printer devices. Sandeep is bringing the Proactive Battery Replacement program to market which is new, innovative, and the first predictive service in Zebra’s battery portfolio. He has over 25 years of product management and sales experience within numerous industries including enterprise mobile computing, pharmaceutical, and telecom/unified communications.