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John Lewis revamps MHE battery performance

07 June 2017

John Lewis and Waitrose were looking to commission a national fleet survey of its battery and charger assets that would provide both basic and advanced information of the installed fleet.

John Lewis turned to Fortis Battery Care shortly after the firm was formed four years ago.

Fortis provided a detailed view of battery and charger age and health profiles to help facilitate accurate replacement budget planning, and at the most advanced level helped the partnership identify spare battery versus operational stored power balancing (too many or too few batteries, inappropriately sized batteries and chargers for shift schedules etc).

Fortis was also able to provide cost analysis of power consumption across the fleet of battery chargers, helping the partnership to understand where opportunities exist with advanced ROI in advanced charging technologies versus residual fleet. Four years on and the Partnership are looking to repeat the exercise with a new commission to be completed during 2016. 

Operations manager, materials handling equipment at John Lewis and Waitrose Ted Weager explains: “Fortis came into existence just at the time when I was looking for an independent view on the state of all of our battery assets. The information that was provided has informed the capital plan over the past 4 years. Fortis have provided unbiased service and maintenance advice which has allowed for the better utilisation of all of our battery assets.”

The contract covers onsite battery topping and charger maintenance at John Lewis Service and Distribution Centre’s across the UK including the recently completed developments at Magna Park Campus, MP1, MP2 and now MP3. The company says working with the Partnership in understanding their needs has been critical in delivering a tailored, robust service level agreement that matches its targets. 

“As our Magna Park MP1, MP2 and MP3 developments have advanced, maintaining our stored power fleet has been critical in meeting operational targets," adds Lawrence Ireson, maintenance manager, Magna Park Campus. 

"I contacted Fortis ahead of our Christmas 2015 period with a simple requirement of building a ‘risk averse’ solution in bolstering our current resources – this was necessary during the latter stages of our MP2 and MP3 developments. Since having the Fortis team on site, we have seen first hand how a focus on stored power maintenance can benefit our business. We will be engaging Fortis to provide scheduled maintenance for all three Magna Park facilities from April 2016. Fortis provide exactly what it says on the tin… battery care”. 

Fortis Battery Care says it is the fastest growing business in its sector, providing independent, professional battery care across the UK’s material handling world.

Battery performance, or as the team at Fortis like to describe it, ‘stored power balancing’, is often an overlooked part of the logistics operational process and yet, available power and/or wasted energy from poorly balanced charging cycles has a more than significant impact on the balance sheet, says the firm. Fortis has a host of options available to clients including fully independent evaluation of operational needs identifying suitable solutions and/or improvement plans for your business.

Fortis has its head office and call centre based in North Nottinghamshire, coordinating its nationally deployed service engineers and contracts operatives using a real time cloud based management system.