Philadelphia Scientific has regional headquarters in Bolton, Philadelphia and Sydney, with dedicated sales offices in Slovakia, Korea and Japan. The creator and manufacturer of many market-leading products, Philadelphia Scientific continuously develops new innovations to serve the motive power industry. This excellence in engineering, combined with a passion for quality, has made Philadelphia Scientific one of the most trusted brands in the marketplace today.
The products and services offered can be categorised as:
• Battery Maintenance
• Battery Management
• Battery Handling
The separate elements are combined under the banner of The Lean Battery Room.
WLN – As a leading supplier in the Industrial Battery Motive Power Systems category, what has the last year been like for your business?
Busy! In 2008 when the recession hit, Philadelphia Scientific made the decision to increase investment in R&D, at a time when other companies were cutting costs in this area. The result is that we have released many new products, updated existing products and have several more in the pipeline. This has enabled us to weather the downturn well and come out the other side even stronger than before. The last year has seen the benefits of this investment, we are growing and very busy!
WLN – How about for the rest of your sector?
Significantly better than previous years. The market went through some tough times, but at present it is much more buoyant.
WLN – What are your best-known products and services?
This largely depends on the market sector we are dealing in. We have a diverse product range, many of which are well known. Our best known product in the UK would most likely be the iBOS battery management system. The iBOS is universal and provides the user with a quick ROI. After the iBOS our range of electrolyte monitors, the Blinky, SmartBlinky and SmartBlinky Pro, are very well known with the word “Blinky” almost becoming synonymous with “electrolyte monitor.”
WLN – What makes you the first choice supplier in your field?
Innovative products, processes and great service. Our aim is always to be leading the field, this is a difficult challenge and we have to continually innovate, develop and improve to remain as the first choice. There are always other options for the customer and we have to work hard to show the customer we are the best choice.
WLN – What changes have you made to your core offering in the last year?
Our biggest change to our core offering is the strengthening of our battery handling division. In the past 12 months we have gained a business development manager and three new engineers in our handling division. This is a big commitment to our business but essential if we want to give customers the confidence in choosing Philadelphia Scientific.
WLN – What new products and services have you introduced?
The most exciting new product is the SmartBlinky Pro. This has set a new standard for electrolyte monitors. The SmartBlinky Pro is an electrolyte monitor that has an audible alarm. Conventional monitors only have LED indication, which is great as a service tool, but by adding the audible alarm it now makes it a management tool. People can now hear if a battery needs maintenance, which will significantly reduce damage due to low electrolyte and therefore increase the battery life. The analogy I use is to compare it to a car seat belt warning signal. Everyone knows how annoying the repetitive buzzing is and that this “encourages” you to belt up.
If an MHE operator is riding round and the battery is beeping at him he is much more likely to take action and get the battery topped up and if he doesn’t then his manager will know.
WLN – What industries are your customers in?
Any industry that uses traction batteries, so predominantly retail, distribution and manufacturing. We are also international so our customers could be anywhere in the world.
WLN – How do your products and services help customers become more efficient, greener or work safer?
We offer our products under the banner of “The Lean Battery Room,” which in principle means we help companies to reduce waste in their battery rooms, which in turn saves them time, space and ultimately money. The batteries are one of the most significant costs in a MHE fleet.
By ensuring they are correctly maintained, managed and changed a company can significantly reduce the lifetime cost of ownership.
A poorly maintained and managed battery will have a shorter life expectancy and lower run times. The shorter the run time the more frequent the battery change, the more battery changes the more inefficient the operation. It’s simple really, but having the right tools is essential in maximising efficiencies.
WLN – Is there a recent or current project that stands out as a showcase for your company? Can you tell us about it?
I think I must tell every customer I meet about the work we did with TJ Morris (AKA Home Bargains), I am very proud of this project and enjoy working with TJ Morris.
Like Philadelphia Scientific TJ Morris are also a really innovative company who believe in investing in technology if it provides a sufficient return. We provided them a three level change system and iBOS battery management system for their site in Knowsley. This must be one of the hardest working changing systems in Europe and shows the full potential of what we offer in product design, build and support.
They got an almost instant ROI in the space we saved them, and ongoing benefits in reduced battery changes, reduced time to change batteries and improved battery life.
WLN – Are you currently investing in the business, taking on staff or going into new markets or countries? If so, how’s it going?
We have recently purchased an old historic mill in Bolton which we will be moving into in the next six to nine months.
It is a serious investment and gives us 6000sqm of space, which is four times more than we currently have. The mill had been neglected and in need of some TLC. The renovations are amazing and will be a great showcase for the company. It is also rewarding to provide a new lease of life for the Mill. It has been a significant part of the local community for many years.
As we grow we are always looking to recruit new talent. Taking on great people is key if we want to continue innovating, growing and developing.
The export market is very important to us and we are looking to continue growing outside the UK. Dealing in other countries is a good way to see how other people deal with the same issues we face at home. Often we find that the UK leads in our sector, allowing us to take our experience from the UK and successfully apply it in other countries.
WLN – What are the major issues facing the Industrial Battery Motive Power Systems category as we go forward? How is your company addressing them?
I can’t think of any “issues” as such, but some of the new technologies such as lithium ion and fuel cells are potentially game changers for our business. We keep a close watch on how the new technologies are developing and at the moment it will be a long time before they are taken up by the market as a whole.
Price and usability are the main restrictions for these technologies. At the end of the day a well maintained and managed lead acid battery is hard to beat.
And with the industry recycling 97% of the products at the end of life it is also a very green industry.
WLN – Will you be exhibiting at any major trade shows in the coming year?
We always exhibit at the CeMAT show in Hannover, Germany. This is at the end of May in 2016. As we are an international company we find this show is ideal due to the visitors, who come from all over the world for this show.
WLN – What other big news from Philadephia Scientific can our readers look forward to reading in Warehouse & Logistics News in 2016?
We have several new products in the pipe line that will be launched in 2016. It is still early days to discuss in detail, but let’s just say watch this space!