Utah Valley University Cuts Costs and Improves Efficiency
A smooth installation
Utah Valley University Bookstore Director Louise Bridge was listening to the staff members from University of Colorado give a talk at a conference when she first considered electronic shelf tags for her store. The folks from Boulder were talking a great deal about how their own electronic shelf tags had made a huge difference in the efficiency of their bookstore. Almost immediately, Bridge made plans to contact MBS and see what her options were for getting new tags installed in the UVU Bookstore.
After working with MBS, UVU ordered electronic shelf tags and installed in the summer of 2015. "It was a very smooth install," said Systems Administrator Robert Ward. "[It was] a very easy thing to learn."
An unexpected benefit was that the tags tell students when their book is scheduled to arrive. It saves our textbook people a lot of time.— Louise Bridge
Beginning to see results
Almost immediately, staff members began to recognize the degree to which the new shelf tags were improving store operations. "We used to have paper tags that were a lot more time-consuming and ugly," Ward said. "Before, [staff members] might update our database and not the tag, or vice-versa. This created inconsistencies that were not fair to our customers. The sales area looks so much nicer and more streamlined. It's been more accurate as far as pricing goes because it's set directly from our product database."
Bridge added to those statements, saying, "Our employees are able to spend far less time with these tags. An unexpected benefit was that the tags tell students when their book is scheduled to arrive. It saves our textbook people a lot of time."
Needless to say, the tags have been a huge hit thus far. Even UVU students have taken notice of the big change.
"I overheard a student the other day say that they like the new shelf tags," Bridge said. "We have everything organized by course, rather than by author, which saves students time. Students like knowing all of the information up front."
Planning for the future
The reason many schools are hesitant to purchase electronic shelf tags is the cost. But Utah Valley University is the latest in a line of schools that are proving that the expected return on investment for electronic shelf tags is often much quicker than they expected.
"We're hoping that in about four semesters the tags will pay for themselves," Bridge said. With an expected battery life span of five years, Bridge and the UVU Bookstore can expect to receive at least a couple of years' worth of surplus value out of their newest gadget before the batteries would need to be replaced.
In the meantime, Bridge, Ward and the rest of the staff can relax knowing that their textbook process is more simplified and efficient than ever before. Thanks to electronic shelf tags, the UVU Bookstore is able to spend more time focusing on customers and taking care of more important tasks which traditional tags used to detract from. Now, that's all a thing of the past.
About Utah Valley University:
- FTE: 33,000. The largest student body in Utah
- Purchased approximately 1,700 electronic shelf tags for their bookstore
- Originally a vocational school and community college, UVU first became a university in 2008
- Founded in 1941 in Orem, Utah
About electronic shelf tags:
- Allow stores to quickly and remotely change information on products
- Ensure prices stay accurate and competitive, especially during busy times of year
- Save time and manual labor in updating information
- Battery life is approximately five years