Have you taken inventory of your handheld devices and their batteries and come up short? That's a more common occurrence than you might think.
"We generally find imbalances in warehouses," says Larry Murray, CEO of battery maker Global Technology Systems Inc. "For example, if a warehouse is supposed to have 20 devices and 40 batteries, that's never what we actually see." The reason: Operators will go for the newest batteries—and hang onto them, sometimes stashing them in lockers, desk drawers, or work cabinets.
It may sound like something nefarious is going on, but in employees' minds, they're just doing the right thing—ensuring that old, poorly functioning, or inefficient equipment isn't compromising their productivity. And indeed, Murray observes, the most productive employees are the ones most likely to do this. "People who want to be productive may hide good batteries because they get frustrated if they get a bad battery" that runs out or slows down early in a shift, he explains.
This problem is a particular concern when people are compensated based on their productivity. J.R. Rodrigues, the company's vice president of marketing, cites the example of warehouse employees who received a daily bonus if they could handle truck deliveries within a specified number of minutes. They were hoarding the good scanner batteries, he says, because they could not afford to take the time to go get a replacement.
The solution is better management: keeping track of battery quality, capacity, and charge levels; testing and maintaining them properly; and having sufficient numbers of reliable batteries available at all times.