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Keeping essential supply chains moving during the COVID-19 pandemic

31.03.2020

Keeping essential supply chains moving during the COVID-19 pandemic - Tuesday, 31.03.2020

One thing is certain during the coronavirus crisis: supply chains are vital. As consumers worldwide practice social distancing and self-isolating, e-commerce is booming. And as many restaurants, shops and services are closing in an attempt to slow the pandemic, supermarkets and essential shops remain open to meet surging coronavirus-driven demand for consumer staples and medical equipment.

 

Batteries are essential

These changes mean that it is essential to keep supply chains running smoothly. Nearly 90 per cent of the operations undertaken in UK warehouses and supermarkets use electric vehicles. So the humble battery is integral to keeping the UK open for essential supplies.

Given this shift, it is more crucial than ever to ensure that considerations of battery power is part of your business continuity plan. The security and continuity of your energy supply for warehousing and related equipment is a real concern in this time of crisis.

 

What you should consider for your energy resilience strategy

Whether you operate in the food sector, essential supplies areas or support B2B sectors, the likelihood is that you have had to make changes to your operations. You might be prioritising different goods and moving them more quickly.

 

What are you likely to be moving?

Consider what goods you are likely to be stocking and moving in the short term and what fleet you will need for this. Your fleet make-up might shift to a greater number of smaller capacity trucks. If so, do you have the right batteries? Or conversely, if you need to use more of your larger trucks, you might need larger batteries. Remember that maintenance, charging procedures, actual truck use and frequency of use all take their toll on battery life. Lead-acid batteries require eight hours charging, so the temptation might be to opportunity charge. And this can reduce energy capacity.

 

Battery rental option

Organising replacement batteries and their chargers is not straightforward when you’re busy. Plus the additional costs can put a strain on your cash flow in uncertain times. Our battery rental service offers a simple, low-cost alternative to allow you to buy in the power you need when you need it. This will enable you to rapidly change gear on the type of batteries you are using to provide maximum flexibility.

With the rental option you can make rapid changes to flex your capacity. Having more batteries around means you can maintain fleet performance during busy periods without incurring additional capital outlay or negotiating long-term contracts.

Our rental service is on hand working from our UK headquarters in Staffordshire (or via remote working where necessary) so that we can deliver to your premises within a couple of days. Whether it is lead-acid, FNC or lithium-ion batteries you can have them on hire for as little as a month. To further ensure your business continuity, all hired batteries are supported by a maintenance contract so our experienced engineers will ensure they keep running.

 

What is the level of demand and what technology will help?

If you are working longer continuous shifts or unpredictable patterns you will need to consider your energy usage more carefully.  What is your current battery changing and charging capability? Will it be enough for any increase in demand? Using latest technology such as our trak.Collect system, it is possible to obtain accurate real-time information about energy usage so that you can react to changes quickly.

 

Perhaps it’s time to make the switch?

You may even benefit by making the switch from lead-acid to lithium – even if this is only temporary. Lithium offers optimum equipment performance and improved productivity for more demanding applications. Its high charging current capabilities facilitates continuous vehicle operation with only a 30-minute intermediate charge. As a result of this high efficiency charging day-to-day operational costs are reduced along with your carbon footprint. What you probably don’t know is that you don’t even need to change your existing fleet.

Our new trak | powerpack lion, from Intilion, is a modular lithium-ion energy system that can be installed in industrial trucks designed to take lead-acid batteries with no requirement for vehicle-specific adjustments. This latest lithium-ion battery technology allows almost any fleet to be converted quickly, efficiently and at a sensible cost.

Each system comes with a 2.2kWh-24.5kWh battery, a corresponding high-frequency charger and an adapter tray to ensure smooth and safe operation along with optimum equipment performance and improved productivity. Moreover trak | powerpack lion is available to rent, so businesses can reap the benefits whilst avoiding large capital commitments.

 

Will your supplier be able to support you?

With COVID-19 taking its toll on businesses large and small, you need to know that your supplier is resilient in the crisis and will be around for the next months or years to support you. Hoppecke was established over 90 years ago and has been operating successfully in the UK for more than 35 years. We are a large family-owned company with resilience built-in.

 

What we are doing to help you in this crisis

At Hoppecke UK we are taking steps to offer as normal a level of service as possible. Our superb engineering team is working normally to keep customers up and running – if you have an engineer visit scheduled please give our team member some extra space and minimise everyone’s contact. Our sales team are all working remotely and are available for advice.

 

In our UK office we are arranging for more people to work from home and reducing travel to curb the potential spread of the virus. Meanwhile, our warehouse and assembly teams are taking steps to distance themselves at work, in order to maintain production in the UK.

Rest assured our factories in Germany are working normally, stock levels are good, and transport is running.

 

Staying flexible

It’s important to appreciate that the upturn in demand for freight and logistics businesses to execute e-commerce deliveries is most likely temporary. We cannot expect this same high level of demand to continue because the rapid spread of this pandemic could have long-lasting economic implications. In the medium term we should expect to see reduced consumer demand, which will have a knock-on effect on finished goods, thereby reducing demand within the supply chain..

As you look to the next few months and beyond and update your business continuity plans,  review your contracts and take action to make sure you can be as flexible as possible during the COVID-19 crisis.

As your energy partner, we will do all we can to help you keep your business functioning during these difficult times. Call us today on 01782 667 306 to talk through the challenges you are facing, and rest assured we will work with you to arrive at a cost-effective solution.