A series of new initiatives that support organic growth have enabled Hoppecke Industrial Batteries to double its UK service business turnover in just three years.
This achievement is attributable in part to growth in Hoppecke UK's battery and charger rental business. A targeted campaign to highlight the advantages to businesses of all sizes has seen orders rise from zero at start-up to several hundred rental batteries in 12 months.
Stuart Browne, Operations Director - Sales and Service at Hoppecke UK, says: "For logistics and warehousing operations time is of the essence. Product availability coupled with our ability to turn around orders quickly has attracted support from major names in the forklift rental market as well as end users such as supermarkets.
Businesses can hire in lead acid and lithium-ion batteries when they need them, minimising truck downtime and the impact on productivity. To keep costs down, rental agreements are tailored to individual customer needs and include topping up and servicing. Whilst most of its competitors build batteries in Europe, Hoppecke carries out assembly and holds large stocks of key products at its UK headquarters in Staffordshire. Customers benefit from a fast turnaround - order to delivery is typically less than five working days.
Another initiative which has boosted Hoppecke's service business is mobile chargers. Each engineer's van now contains two chargers as part of the standard equipment so, in situations where a customer's charger cannot be repaired, a loan charger is made available to help keep the customer's business operational.
However, the biggest impact has come from a cultural shift, which has seen Hoppecke empower its technical team to discuss the issues that customers experience on a daily basis. In turn, customers trust Hoppecke's highly qualified engineers to help them achieve an appropriate, cost-effective solution.
By talking to customers about operational difficulties Hoppecke understands the key problems in niche areas. Seasonal business, for example, is not always what it seems, since suppliers of Christmas decorations order 12 months in advance and goods are shipped in containers from China to arrive well ahead of the festive season.
Stuart adds: "By taking up some of our engineers' innovative ideas, such as investment in rental chargers and topping trolleys for every van, we've been able to make major improvements to service support, which has contributed to year-on-year business growth.
"Thanks to our strong engineer-customer relationships and the fact that sales and service are no longer separate but a single, fully integrated department with a focus on delivering what customers need, customers are willing to listen and take our advice. The result is that trust is at an all-time high."
With a team of 28 engineers across the UK Hoppecke employs the largest directly employed team of skilled engineers in the industry. Now it is recruiting to bring in additional technical expertise to support its successful new approach to meeting customer needs.