Case study

    AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE THEIR BUSINESS COAST-TO-COAST 

    Colorado-based business Emergency Power Services
    initially viewed battery monitoring as a threat. When
    they realized that it could actually mean gaining
    customers across the US, they started seeing it in a
    different light.

    Emergency Power Services was launched in 1975 and is based in Denver, Colorado. The majority of their customers are data centers, and most of the rest are 911 facilities, call centers, and emergency services. The company performs routine maintenance, observation, monitoring, testing, and data collection on critical power equipment looking for signs of possible present or future trouble.

    THE CHALLENGE

    IS BATTERY MONITORING A THREAT OR AN OPPORTUNITY?

    The idea of supplying a battery management system (BMS) that their customer could operate themselves, initially posed a threat to their revenue stream. “We provide a valuable service to our customers and create revenue by testing batteries with a hand-held meter and providing readings and
    analysis on their batteries,” says Mike Smith, Owner. “So battery monitoring was a threat to our revenue stream. It meant we’d sell a product once and not have the opportunity to continue to generate revenue from that customer through service visits.”

    The BMS that Emergency Power Services had previously dealt with were cumbersome, expensive and limited. “They didn’t work in the VRLA market. They only worked in the flooded market, where customers were spending over $100,000 for their batteries and another $50,000 for a battery monitoring system,” Mike explains. “But in the VRLA market, they’re spending around $16,000 on batteries, so they weren’t going to spend over double that on battery monitoring.”

    “So what happened when a good quality product at fair market value came along is that I realized we could actually expand our coverage over the entire US.”

    THE SOLUTION

    BECOME A RESELLER MEANT AN OPPORTUNITY TO GROW

    “About nine years ago I found a PowerShield product at a customer’s site, and started talking to the New Zealand office,” he recalls. “They were very forthcoming with information, and I was very impressed with the product.”

    The PowerShield BMS solution worked with VRLA batteries, and it was high-quality, reliable, and cost-effective. “So what happened when a good quality product at fair market value came along is that I realized we could actually expand our coverage over the entire US,” Mike explains. “Now we’d be able to provide much more data to our customers, better analysis and recommendations, and we wouldn’t have to physically visit the site as many times.”

    After evaluating PowerShield products thoroughly, Emergency Power Services realized selling battery monitoring solutions represented an opportunity for growth. There was more money to be made by selling the equipment and reducing the overall cost for the customer, but increasing the number of those customers. “The technology itself is really a selling point. I think the design is the best in the marketplace,” says Mike. “It’s the best solution for measuring impedance and providing data for the customer. And it means we can provide the service coast-to-coast, expand our marketplace, gain customers nationwide, and be more efficient in our service department.”

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    Becoming a PowerShield reseller has also meant that Emergency Power Services has gained efficiencies with their maintenance schedules, and are better placed to predict failures, be more proactive, and save trips to customer sites. “The overall cost of our team getting to site to perform a battery preventative maintenance has dropped by almost 75%,” says Sales Manager Brandon Smith. “This is due to less time on site, by leveraging the PowerShield technology to complete the preventative maintenance and reducing site visits each year due to the ability to trend and predict battery failures.”

    Brandon goes on to explain that about 30% of their business is now reselling PowerShield BMS, and has allowed them to expand beyond the normal four hour response window (for Colorado and surrounding states) to support batteries in almost every major city in the US. “Not only have we expanded beyond the normal four hour window, but by leveraging the PowerShield equipment we are able to be cost effective and compete with local battery companies, even given the travel costs,” Brandon explains.

    “It’s the best solution for measuring impedance and
    providing data for the customer. And it means we
    can provide the service coast-to-coast, expand our
    marketplace, gain customers nationwide, and be
    more efficient in our service department.”

    RESULT

    AN UN-REALIZED COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

    When Emergency Power Services first became a PowerShield reseller, differentiating themselves from the competition wasn’t forefront in their minds. “I don’t think we understood initially how selling BMS would differentiate us. We were just looking for a cost-effective solution that would give us more geographical reach,” Mike recalls. “But the more we used battery monitoring and realized the quality of the PowerShield product, the more we began to trust it over a technician on site with a hand-held device.”

    The new competitive advantage has also been noted in the increased benefits Emergency Power Services can now offer their customers. “They have real time access to their battery health and status during their daily checks,” says Brandon. “They also have the security of our team monitoring their batteries remotely 24/7. With the onsite checks and the remote monitoring we can predict battery failures and be proactive instead of reactive with battery failures, which saves our customers money but also saves us time and makes us more efficient.”

    Our customers enjoy better peace of mind knowing what the health of their batteries are 24/7. They’ve saved money on unnecessary maintenance and reactive/emergency replacements. “Out of all the UPS we have under contract, over 50% of them have monitoring, 115 nationwide,” says Brandon.

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    A NEW POWERSHIELD RELATIONSHIP

    After around eight years of acting as a PowerShield reseller, expanding their customer base and enjoying success with the solution, Mike and his sales manager, Brandon Smith, were approached by PowerShield with a view to running PowerShield sales in the US “That’s how we became PowerShield USA,” Brandon explains. “Compared to the rest of the world, the market in the US was quite small. We keep providing the same sales and service we were, but as an OEM distributor, we could push the product further and help teach other companies how we created success and revenue with  PowerShield.”

    Now Mike and Brandon split their time between Emergency Power Services – who continue to grow their customer base on a nationwide level – and PowerShield, meaning they’re at the forefront of batteries and battery monitoring in the US.

    “The more we used battery monitoring and realized the quality of the PowerShield product, the more we began to trust it over a technician on site with a hand-held device.”

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