Written on August 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm
Manbat, Numax & The Workshop
Although its connection with the workshop has traditionally been via its wholesale motor factor customers, Manbat Ltd – the UK’s largest automotive and commercial battery distributor and the primary UK distributor for VARTA® – is keen to reach workshops with a quality products and customer service message.
For more than 60 years Manbat has been serving the automotive aftermarket and throughout that period it has traded on the principle of supplying a quality product, backed up with excellent customer service.
In 2002, to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, it introduced Numax, a brand that has become very well known in the aftermarket and the premium battery for the leisure sector and marine industry, where it is the original equipment (OE) fitment for a number of yacht manufacturers including Sunseeker.
Unfortunately, along with many other segments of the UK aftermarket, the battery market is becoming increasingly driven by price, rather than by quality. This is a philosophy that is alien to Manbat, because it will not compromise on the quality of the batteries it supplies – its hard earned reputation is far too valuable.
However, low quality cheap batteries coming into the market are having a negative effect on workshops as many are simply not up to the task and are failing prematurely and leaving motorists far from impressed by the garages who’ve supplied and fitted these batteries.
To provide workshops with a solution to this problem Manbat has introduced two new models – Standard and Supreme – into its automotive range, which sit on either side of its existing Numax Premium offering.
Both Supreme and Premium, the later of which is still likely to retain the bulk of Numax sales, are manufactured for Manbat by Johnson Controls Inc (JCI) – the company behind the VARTA® brand – and utilise the latest punched plate battery technology.
The Standard however, while still being a high quality product and sourced from a major OE battery manufacturer, is pitched slightly under these top two models to provide garages with an amazingly high quality battery, which will keep their customers happy, but at a price that can compete more easily with the cheap, low quality imports.
Traditionally, the only way to produce a cheap battery is to reduce the amount of lead it uses in its construction through fewer and thinner plates. Lead is the most expensive element in a battery, so the less lead the lower the cost. However, the lower the lead content, the lower the battery’s efficiency and overall quality. Hence, you generally get what you pay for.
However, because Manbat is now part of the ECOBAT Technologies group, which includes the world’s largest producer of lead and is supplier to many of the world’s OE battery manufacturers, it has the quantities of scale and the relationships to ensure its batteries can be competitively priced, but without compromising on their quality.
This is great news for workshops because it gives them the products at a price that enables them to compete, but with the kind of quality normally associated with a more expensive battery.
In addition to the poor quality issues, another problem with buying cheap batteries is the lack of customer support the battery supplier can provide and when demand is high, as the nights draw in and it gets cold, their stock tends to dry up.
Manbat however, holds thousands of batteries in stock in its central warehouse in Shrewsbury and with 12 regional branches and its own fleet of delivery vehicles, it has the confidence to know that its supply of batteries to the workshop won’t be affected, even in the depths of winter. Cheap battery suppliers just can’t compete with this level of customer service.
So beyond its ability to supply quality products, at competitive prices and with the stock availability and delivery network to ensure the product is delivered when it’s needed, what else can Manbat offer the workshop?
Motorists are looking for garages that provide a good service and that they can trust. Battery testing is an easy and effective way of building customer confidence and is very easy to introduce.
Manbat believes that whether a vehicle is in the workshop for a service, MOT or repair, it should be automatic that the technician working on it tests the condition of the battery.
This is a win-win service. If the battery is in poor condition, there is the immediate opportunity for a sale. If it is okay, but might need replacing in the next few months, the workshop is providing their customer with helpful timely ‘free’ advice. If however, the battery is in excellent condition, it’s a good news story that will boost the customer’s confidence that it is a garage they can trust and they’ll be sure to comeback when a new battery is required.
Due to the price of lead, scrap batteries can be a valuable source of revenue for garages. Manbat has an excellent scrap collection scheme and will work with its customers to ensure that all the paperwork to substantiate the responsible disposal of waste batteries, is correctly processed.
In addition, as it is part of the ECOBAT Technologies group, Manbat is able to state that it (ECOBAT) can recycle more than 99.9% of every battery collected within the group.
Within this ‘closed recycling loop’ the lead goes back to the smelters to make new lead products, including lead ingots for new battery production, the cases are recycled into polypropylene and even the acid is recycled into gypsum for the building trade.
In addition to automotive batteries, Manbat supply batteries in virtually every sector and is keen to work with garages to help them grow their battery sales by working in partnership based on quality products and reliable customer service.
For further details, please call Manbat Customer Services on: 01743 218500 or visit: www.manbat.co.uk