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Battery giant looks ahead

12 December 2012

GNB Industrial Power UK managing director Nigel Darke, gives HSS editor Simon Duddy the heads up on new products.

GNB Industrial Power UK managing director Nigel Darke, gives HSS editor Simon Duddy the heads up on new products, outlines the company's strengths and plans for IMHX. He also explains how a dedicated service force can make a difference to performance in the field.

Simon Duddy: What GNB product developments should readers look out for?
Nigel Darke: Tensor, which is a new high performance battery aimed at the more demanding application, is well worth a look. We will be launching it at IMHX next year. In terms of benefits, it gives 18% increased runtime, increased performance and longer operational life than traditional lead acid batteries, mainly because it runs at a lower operating temperature. It's worth noting the Tensor battery is not pure lead acid. It combine copper plates and thin tube technology.
The product excels in terms of energy efficiency, which will reduce energy costs and therefore carbon footprint over its life. It is something that has not just improved power, it is also more effective in terms of operating costs and carbon emissions.

SD: What makes GNB stand out?
ND: We design products around the applications. The focus is on passing benefits on to the customers. All of our products are manufactured to ISO9001 standards. From my perspective, I'm an accountant by background, and if you can't measure it, you can't change it. We're all very aware that companies consider all elements of their business, such as cost control, productivity, longer operational life, carbon reductions, as well as ROI calculations.
Businesses are very demanding, especially since the recession, but we have the advantage in that were already working with customers in these terms before the downturn.
We have the products and our own service force, and that means we can work with customers and deliver to their specific needs. For example, our 2100.Net system empowers the customer and gives them the information they need to make cashsaving, business critical decisions.
Companies can choose to manage the data themselves, or they can outsource that function to us.
It's also about the products. Our Liberator Silver, for example, which I regard as best in class, delivers around a 45% reduction in cost of ownership and a reduction in carbon footprint of around 26%. With the right products, and pertinent information to hand, customers can make a positive difference to their businesses.

SD: Do you deliver bespoke solutions?
ND: Yes, for example, when working with a leading airplane mover, they had limited space so we developed products to fit the space constraints.
They also wanted the products to be carried within aircraft and ships, so they had to be mobile and designed to more stringent health & safety regulations as well.

SD: IMHX is next year. What are your plans?
ND: It is a great platform to launch products, such as the Tensor (mentioned earlier), and it gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate our unique position. We are part of Exide Corporation, which is the largest transportation industrial battery company in the world. This puts us in an interesting position as an 'allenergy' provider. Customers often want batteries for standby to support emergency lighting and UPS, for example, as well as batteries for warehouse equipment and we offer a very comprehensive range.
We're also innovative, and we will use the show to display our charging and management systems. In addition, we will have lithium-ion solutions on show, which we will have on the market by next year.
Lithium-ion is costly but has huge benefits in the right application. There are many products under the lithium ion umbrella that give very different characteristics in operation, and we will shed light on this issue on our stand at IMHX.

SD: What is your service proposition?
ND: We have always believed in having our own fully in-house service force. All engineers and staff at our central service facility are highly trained, operate within our own code of practice, operate within ISO9001 processes, and are members of the Safe Contractor Health & Safety Assessment scheme. This helps us to ensure that we give our customers the best service and maximum uptime.
We already have what we believe is the industry's best first time fix rate.
Our service approach allows us to deliver consistently. If you use third parties, it is difficult to manage the consistency. We can manage national contracts and deliver a consistent level of service. It is about management by measurement and being able to present information to our customers that they trust and which helps them to achieve their goals. We have 39 engineers throughout the UK.
We also recently revamped stock replenishment systems in our engineers' vans. When we replaced the vans, we increased the payload, which allows us to hold more parts.
This along with intelligent stocking of parts according to region helps us be more effective in the field.