Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

Best RFID Implementation: RFID Helps Interstate Batteries Remain No.1

The 63-year-old company embraces new technology to manage inventory and keep its dealers well stocked.
By Jennifer Zaino
Jun 24, 2015

Many companies have difficulty dealing with change, but Interstate Batteries thinks change is essential. For 63 years, the company has been powering vehicles with its starting, lighting, ignition (SLI) batteries. Interstate sells more than 17 million SLI batteries annually through its distributor network of 300 wholesale warehouses that supply 200,000 dealers in the United States, Canada and other countries. The company also sells 16,000 other types of batteries for marine, commercial/fleet, motorcycle, lawn and garden, and other products.

Interstate Batteries is the No. 1 brand of auto-replacement battery in North America—a position that can be attributed, in part, to the company's "focus on making sure dealers are well supplied with the products they need" and its "very sustained legacy of innovation," says Bruce Hellen, director of business practices for the company.

Since 2013, five distributors, 29 trucks and 2,000 dealerships have participated in the project, with more to join this summer.
Interstate realized it had to respond to changing markets if it wanted to remain the battery supplier of choice to dealerships, Hellen says. In November 2011, the company partnered with RFID solution provider Seeonic to develop a new, more efficient way to resupply dealers. The RFID initiative enables Interstate to improve its ability to help its dealers manage inventory, Hellen says, and support its goal of being a good environmental steward.

Since November 2013, five distributors, 29 trucks and 2,000 dealerships in five markets across the United States have participated in the project's validation phase. Interstate has RFID-tagged two million batteries, which are tracked on 2,000 RFID-enabled IBSmartRack storage or display racks. The solution eliminates the need to send personnel to dealerships to count battery stock, a process that was time-consuming and prone to human error.

The company is still determining when to end field-testing, but it is confident enough in the RFID solution that it is expanding the validation phase into six new markets (as yet unnamed) this summer. The validation phase has proven to the company that the system is very reliable, stable and scalable, Hellen says.

"RFID certainly has strong promise to be a solid foundation for tracking inventory of all types," even lead- and liquid-filled batteries that present some natural hurdles, Hellen says. "If you compare today to 30 or 40 years ago, those who clung to old distribution models have probably become so inefficient that they are out of business now. If you don't evaluate and improve your distribution model, you will get left behind by those who do."

Powering a Solution
Interstate Batteries considered several options for improving inventory management, and determined RFID technology was the most scalable and economical solution, Hellen says. But, he notes, there were two significant obstacles: There was no off-the-shelf solution and it would be hard to read tags on lead- and liquid-filled batteries. A program manager in charge of the project, supported by an evaluation committee and the company's executive board, determined that Seeonic fit their description of a development partner that had "an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to think out of the box," he says.

To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 1,677 words and 4 pages. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations
© Copyright 2002-2016 RFID Journal LLC.
Powered By: Haycco