Written on October 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm
AN INTRODUCTION TO MANBAT
Manbat Ltd, Shrewsbury, Great Britain
Manbat Ltd is the UK’s largest distributor of batteries for the automotive, commercial vehicle, leisure and marine sectors. It is also a major player in the industrial battery sector, as well as the mobility, motorcycle and golf markets.
Originally founded as Manchester Batteries in 1952 by Harry Pemberton, the business remained in the Pemberton family until 2009. During that period the company grew steadily, establishing itself as a business committed to providing its customers with top quality products, backed up by exceptional customer service and a national network of 12 branches across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.
In 1982 Manbat began its association with the VARTA® brand, which is now owned by Johnson Controls and this successful partnership has continued to develop as the two respective businesses have grown.
In 2009, following three years of particularly close cooperation, the two companies formalised a revised distribution agreement, which meant that Johnson Controls’ UK warehouses no longer supplied Manbat’s individual branches. Instead, containers were sent directly to Manbat’s main warehouses from Johnson Controls’ factories in Europe. In turn, with its increased levels of stock and significant investment in service enhancement, Manbat was asked to assume responsibility for servicing many of Johnson Controls’ existing customers through its nationwide distribution network.
The strengthening of the relationship with VARTA supported a much earlier change in the company’s direction as it began to concentrate on the supply of top quality brands rather than produce its own batteries. This successful move has led to the company’s current position as the predominant or sole UK distributor for brands such as US Battery, Optima, Odyssey and Sonnenschein, as well as for CTEK battery chargers.
In 2009 Roger Pemberton retired as Manbat’s managing director and Steve Sheppard took the helm as the company started a new era under the ownership of the ECOBAT Technologies Ltd.
As part of a global organisation, Manbat concluded its move into a 2,880m2 distribution centre in Shrewsbury and has gone on to acquire a large industrial battery specialist: Battery Power Systems Ltd of Scotland. As a result of this acquisition, Manbat’s industrial division is now one of the UK’s largest suppliers of industrial related batteries and has an annual turnover in excess of £9 million.
Another major benefit of being part of this worldwide organisation is that Manbat can offer its customers what it describes as its closed loop recycling programme. This initiative means that within the ECOBAT group there are businesses that sell and distribute batteries, others that collect and dismantle batteries, as well as those that recycle batteries from their constituent parts and resupply the battery manufacturing process and into other industries that use products, such as gypsum, which comes from the treatment of sulphuric acid and polypropylene that comes from recycled battery cases.
In July 2012 ECOBAT Technologies Ltd acquired Hefra B.V., an independent Dutch-based battery distributor that supplies 600,000 units a year throughout the Benelux region. Naturally, as there are similarities between the two companies in their respective markets, the acquisition brings opportunities for common distribution and sales models for both Manbat and Hefra in the long-term.
The Numax brand is an important part of the Manbat offering as it provides buyers with a wide range of products to choose from, and gives them a premium value solution for the automotive, commercial vehicle, leisure and marine sectors.
Manbat introduced its Numax brand in 2002 and over the last decade it has built the brand into a significant player within the automotive sector, whilst also establishing it as the UK’s premier range of leisure and marine batteries. The Numax commitment to original equipment standard production, coupled with the buying power afforded by being a major European player allows Manbat to offer its customers a comprehensive range of good quality automotive and commercial vehicle batteries at extremely competitive prices.
Manbat is also the sole UK distributor for Lucas batteries and was instrumental in the relaunch of the brand into the UK market in 2009 as well as the complete re-branding of the automotive and commercial vehicle packaging last year.
In short, Manbat provides battery wholesalers and distributors with a compete range of products for the entire power storage industry, which means they are able to provide their customers with everything they need when it comes to the battery supply, advice, waste collection and customer support.
Next Stop Paris For Manbat
Following its debut appearance at Automechanika last year, Manbat, the UK’s largest battery distributor, now has the French show on its agenda as it shifts its European focus to Equip Auto, Paris in October.
Situated on stand 3 E075, the specially designed stand will provide Manbat with a prominent site from which to demonstrate its position as part of the ECOBAT group and promote the Lucas and Numax brands to the European aftermarket.
Myles Pemberton, marketing manager for Manbat said: “We believe Equip Auto gives us an excellent platform through which to reach a new audience of European buyers with some truly great products.
“The brands in our portfolio provide those visitors looking for genuine profit opportunities with a tremendous range of products with which they can make a substantial impact on a number of power storage markets. Whether they wish to develop the leisure sector with Numax, the quality automotive and commercial vehicle sectors with Lucas, or are simply committed to supplying their customers with the very best with VARTA, Manbat is able to respond with the products and support to fulfil their individual requirements.
“The exhibition also affords us the opportunity to express Manbat’s environmental credentials and explain how in conjunction with some of the other companies within the ECOBAT group, we can achieve a recycling level of 99.9% with a typical lead acid battery and therefore contribute to the sustainable use of the earth’s finite resources.”
In addition to its three core brands, Manbat is also a major distributor of lower volume specialist batteries such as the dry cell Odyssey range and the fast charging/deep cycle Optima range, as well as being the primary UK distributor of Sonnenschein mobility batteries. With more than 60 years of experience in all forms of power storage, Manbat has a wealth of knowledge that can help to develop battery sales and maximise the opportunities that its brands can offer.
A World Of Opportunities
Launched in 2002 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the business, the Numax brand is now a significant player in the automotive sector and the dominant brand in the UK’s leisure and marine sectors.
Combining a commitment to original equipment manufacturing standards with volume buying power has ensured that Manbat can provide its customers with a comprehensive range of good quality batteries at extremely competitive prices.
In addition to automotive and marine/leisure batteries, the Numax range also encompasses commercial vehicle, motorcycle (including utility vehicle, jet-skis and quads etc.), mobility and golf batteries, as well as batteries for specific applications like the ‘Fit One, Charge One’® electric fence battery unit for controlling livestock.
There are also a multitude of supporting accessories in the Numax range and among these are the ‘connect & forget’® range of intelligent battery chargers, ‘connect & convert’® power inverters, ‘Extreme Rescue’ emergency high power starter pack, the ‘connect & protect’® battery protection device and the ‘Accubox’® battery box.
Manbat has extended its market leading Numax XV leisure range with the introduction of the new DC27MF, which has its first official appearance at the Motorhome & Caravan Show in Birmingham, England this week.
The DC27MF provides users with extra cyclic capability compared with the existing XV27MF, which makes it ideal for applications that need extra power. Although the Ampere hour (Ah) capacity and the battery’s dimensions are identical to the XV27MF, its thicker plates and therefore higher reserve capacity enable it to run for even longer and power more heavy duty applications. The battery is ideal for caravans that are fitted with a motor-mover or those leisure and marine applications where extra reserve capacity is required.
The DC27MF fits alongside the existing 11-model XV range to provide leisure enthusiasts with a multitude of choice starting from the 75 Ah XV23 to the range topping to 235 Ah XV80.
Naturally, all XV batteries come with ergonomically designed carrying handles for ease of handling, dual terminals for both clamp and screw lead connection, battery condition ‘windows’ to show the battery’s state of charge and maintenance free sealed cells for maximum safety and convenience.
The range is manufactured using state-of-the-art plate design, semi-traction paste, envelope construction and gas recombination technology, which mean that they will last substantially longer that a conventional flooded leisure battery. As a result, every Numax XV battery comes with a three-year warranty.
Range, Quality And Heritage
Since taking over responsibility for the Lucas brand in March 2009, Manbat has completely rebuilt its reputation for quality, reliability and value by putting together a range of batteries that deliver the performance the motorist requires, the confidence in the product that the technician is looking for and a profit margin the makes sense for both the factor and the workshop.
Manbat has also made its presence felt when it comes to the visual impact of the brand, thoroughly revising the product packaging to reflect the green that the brand has been historically associated with, through an attractive design that stands out from the competition and emphasises the brand’s heritage.
In the process it also introduced a new labelling regime that makes identifying the correct battery for any particular application a simple task through an easy-to-read series of icons that ensure that factors, workshops and retailers select the correct battery for the task. These descriptive icons always appear on a clearly defined band at the bottom of the label, which also carries the battery model name, from Classic through to Fusion.
The icons convey whether the battery is maintenance free, for petrol or diesel vehicles, for vehicles with increased power equipment demands or for Start-Stop vehicles. They also indicate the level of warranty provided with the battery. This formula is also applied to the Lucas commercial vehicle range, but with additional icons to define batteries with maximum power, long distance performance, extreme temperature resistance and frequent starting ability.
Combining the maximum amount of information through the simplest possible visual message means that factors, workshops and retailers can clearly identify the battery that suits the purpose and is an easy way to back up the Lucas application guide, which is the ultimate reference tool to ensure that the precise battery required is selected.
“Manbat’s overriding concern has always been to help our customers increase their battery business, while also providing them with a level of service that separates us from other battery suppliers,” said marketing manager Myles Pemberton.
“We believe that by keeping the product range looking fresh and up-to-date will help our customers to grow their battery sales, as good packaging supports the brand and provides a powerful visual impact on the shelf and in the warehouse.
“We also believe that by simplifying the identification process to show what each individual battery is capable of by using a series of logical icons is helpful to speed up the selection process, and even more importantly, ensures that the right battery is supplied for the purpose that it is to be used for.”
The Lucas automotive range covers virtually every battery configuration, to cater for almost every application. The range starts with Lucas Classic and the specifications progressively increase with the matching original equipment (OE) specification Premium, followed by Supreme, which exceeds OE specification.
However, in addition to automotive batteries the Lucas portfolio also includes commercial vehicle, motorcycle, mobility, golf and industrial batteries to give wholesalers a competitive solution for virtually any power storage requirement.