Supplying batteries since 1952

Manbat SAS 102

Written on March 21, 2014 at 5:40 pm


One of the most infuriating problems for the workshop is downtime on jobs that eat into valuable ramp time or workshop space. When undertaking service work or general repairs, being unable to source the correct replacement part costs the garage money in lost time and aggravates the vehicle owner when it is not returned to them when expected.

Motor factors across the country hold impressive levels of stock for fast-moving items but it is unrealistic for them to be expected to hold stock levels for specialist items, as this is just not practical. Therefore, it is necessary for motor factors to deal with manufacturers and suppliers of replacement parts that can provide a next day service on non-standard items, ensuring factors do not have to hold excess stock levels.

For more than 60 years Shrewsbury-based Manbat Ltd has been at the forefront of the battery industry in this country, with a reputation for quality products, which include the VARTA®, Lucas and Numax brands and good old-fashioned service that remains as strong today as it was in 1952.

Manbat, the UK’s largest distributor of automotive, leisure and marine batteries with a network of 12 branches, first opened a branch in Scotland in 2002 in Kirkintilloch, prior to moving to their current location at Taywood Enterprise Centre in Rutherglen in 2004.

Scots Auto Scene were intrigued to see for ourselves how the Manbat process worked with particular reference to the VARTA product line, from the initial call by the garage to the motor factor, right through to the fitment of the battery to the customer’s car.

Broomhead Garage in Dunfermline is a small independent operation with five employees carrying out MoT’s, servicing and general repairs for their customers in the local area. One vehicle that was recently booked in for work was a Land Rover Discovery. The owner, a keen ‘off-roader’, has been gradually upgrading the vehicle over the years to enable him to tackle more and more difficult terrain at weekends. A heavy-duty remote controlled winch had been fitted to the front bumper along with an impressive cluster of additional lights and a top of the range Sat Nav system were proving problematic as a result of additional drain on power being required to run these optional extras.

Broomhead Garage’s Proprietor, Kevin Grace who has 26 years experience in the trade, contacted his local VARTA distributor and Manbat customer, Essport Car Accessories on Miller Road, which is located only half a mile from Broomhead Garage. Essport’s directors Martin Best and Ian Smillie have over 30 years experience of the motor factor and car accessory trade in Dunfermline and are located only a stones through from the ‘Dunfermline Motor Mile’ at Rumblingwell.

Looking into the options available for battery upgrade, Martin recommended the VARTA 250H as a replacement for the standard battery fitted as OE on the Land Rover Discovery at Broomhead Garage as it is designed to cope with the additional strains of retro fitted products.

However, as this was not a common battery, Essport did not have it in stock, but advised Kevin that it would be ordered overnight and with them by noon the next day.

Martin called Manbat in Rutherglen and placed the order for the VARTA 250H through branch manager Peter McBride to be despatched to them next day. Peter used Manbat’s electronic ordering and stock management system to place the order with head office in Shrewsbury, which was processed by one of its five customer service representatives.

Under normal circumstances, once an order is on the system, it is added to the other batteries on order, or required for replenishment, for each branch of the Manbat network. A picking note is then printed for each of these branches that lists in a planned order all the batteries that are required to be sent to each branch. The orders are then scheduled for fulfilment and the batteries on the order are then assembled from Manbat’s stock of some 350,000 batteries (100,000 of which are VARTA), by the picking team following a planned location by location flow management system, which maximises warehouse efficiency. Each order is then despatched to the branch via one of its planned delivery schedules aboard one of the vans in the Manbat fleet.

However, due to the urgent nature of this particular order, the single VARTA 250H battery was picked from stock and as no scheduled delivery was suitable, the battery was transported by a third party directly to Rutherglen for immediate delivery the next day. In exceptional circumstances, deliveries can even be made to the customer direct.

The next day Manbat’s Rutherglen branch received the VARTA 250 at 9am and it was despatched immediately to Dunfermline in one of their delivery vans and arrived at Essport at 11.30am. The battery was delivered to Kevin at Broomhead Garage before noon and fitted to the Land Rover Discovery, ready for the owner to enjoy another fun packed weekend ‘off-roading’.

The whole part ordering process was smooth and very customer friendly allowing Essport Car Accessories to supply the right part at the promised time and Broomhead Garage were able to satisfy the needs of another customer with the minimum of fuss and downtime.

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