Yuasa - Company Spotlight

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COMPANY SPOTLIGHT


COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Leading the charge Whether it’s watching international sports from the comfort of your lounge, or having your shopping delivered to your door, life simply wouldn’t be possible without batteries. Notice it or not, this technology is omnipresent in every facet of our daily lives. As European market leader for over 30 years, no one is more aware of this than battery manufacturer GS Yuasa, whose products are quite literally everywhere. From powering the submarines traversing the deepest depths of the ocean, to the technology aboard the International Space Station and everywhere in between. In this Q&A, we delve into the GS Yuasa ethos, the secret to the company’s success and how the manufacturer of Yuasa batteries has not only survived, but thrived, in the face of a global pandemic.

For anyone unaware of Yuasa (god forbid), for the uninitiated, could you please briefly surmise what it is you guys do and how long you have been involved in the industry? GS Yuasa (Yuasa’s parent company) have been making batteries for over 100 years, celebrating its centenary in 2017 and 2018. It is the world’s leading battery manufacturer, dedicated to innovation and growth. Yuasa has been Europe’s market-leading industrial battery for over 30 years. Here in the UK, we are the market leader for industrial and vehicle batteries. When it comes to the Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) battery market, the type of battery supplied for UPS equipment, Yuasa is without question number one. We supply VRLA batteries to data centres via UPS equipment manufacturers, the likes of Schneider Electric, Eaton, Vertiv and Socomec. We also supply original equipment manufacturers for the telecom industry, as well as the telecoms industry directly. For instance, we have had a contract with British Telecom (BT) for 30 years, which is testament to our cemented position within the industry. How would you describe the Yuasa ethos? Yuasa’s ethos from the top down is the customer. We always put the cus-

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tomer first, and provide the best possible service, support, and supply. It’s all about having the right supply, right products, and right stock availability at the right time. We make sure we provide a high-quality service, knowledgeable people, support from start to finish and can correct any errors ourselves. All that combined with the quality of the product itself is why people deal with us. And if problems do occur, the customer knows we will support them in getting it right. So, what do you think is the secret to Yuasa’s success? What does Yuasa do differently? If you look at the UPS industry in the UK, Yuasa probably has 70-75% of the market. We believe that is because we always listen to what the customer wants and design a response based on their needs. Customers are individuals that may require different services, therefore we provide a very high-quality product, at a reasonable price, with a customer service set up that outstrips that of any of our competitors. What is it that makes the Yuasa customer service offering so unique? We strive to go above and beyond in everything we do. We offer a com-


COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

prehensive service from conception to completion, including installation. We have a large team based in the UK that includes dedicated account managers, a technical help team and customer services team, along with a robust logistics set up. Our technical expertise also sets us apart from our competitors. The expert staff within our UK factory and laboratories mean we have even further resources to hand. So, while many of our competitors may have various teams to take care of bits and pieces, we work as one, in essence our whole team is the dedicated team. Building customer relationships is one thing, but how does Yuasa maintain these relationships? We have very strong relationships with all our customers, they work

Go through the Square Mile and you’re never more than 50 yards away from a building containing a GS Yuasa product closely with us and trust us. We have regular visits and meetings to see how we can help with upcoming projects and improve things. Our route to market is via our own customers, which are the UPS manufacturers and telecom companies. If we are loyal to them, they are loyal to us, garnering a mutual respect that is crucial for maintaining relationships. For instance, sometimes the end customer will approach us directly for projects. We simply don’t allow that to happen. Yuasa is an honourable company in all respects, and we will never say our product can do

something it can’t or won’t do. Unlike some manufacturers, we never speculate; our product is a high-quality product that will do exactly what it says on the tin – thanks Ronseal circa 1994. Yuasa has been/is involved in many high-profile UPS projects many of which go under the radar. What have some of these projects encompassed? I understand some of these projects have been not of this Earth? It never ceases to amaze me where our batteries are. We’re in every industry there is. The vast majority of global blue-chip organisations trust and rely on Yuasa products. Banks, retailers, online grocers, supermarket chains, sports stadiums, medical facilities, you name it. Yuasa actually powers most of London. For instance, go through the Square Mile and you’re never more than 50 yards away from a building containing a GS Yuasa product. Our International Space Station (ISS) project is dealt with by our parent company GS Yuasa, and alongside the ISS we also have more batteries in orbit on satellites than anyone else. Without sounding too gimmicky, if nothing else this is testament to the reliability and trust in our product. At the end of the day on a satellite, you can’t go up and service the battery, so if the battery fails, you’ve had it. We are incredibly proud of our involvement and we sat and watched footage of our batteries being installed with an actual spacewalk, so we must be one of the only battery manufacturers who have had astronauts installing our batteries. Another exciting project we’ve been involved in is with deep sea investigative submarines (the ones that go lower than any other submarine) – these also carry our batteries. So not only are we up

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COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

in space, but we are in the depths of the ocean, another place where reliability is absolutely critical.

I understand Yuasa was part of the successful delivery of a dual chemical container in Portsmouth Port. What is the significance of this project and how will it shape future innovations towards zero-emissions around the rest of the UK, Europe and even globally? This is just one of a number of exciting new projects we’re working on. The whole idea of the Portsmouth project is to take energy when it’s available from a port building by solar, wind or whatever means available, store it, and use it for powering the vehicles that are going to be used on the site, and if not export it back into the grid. Our dual chemical systems and backup systems allow organisations to take their buildings out of the grid. So, when the grid is at peak demand and everyone needs energy in the evening for example, the grid struggles. However, if organisations can take themselves off the grid during these peak times and run off energy they’ve stored themselves during quieter periods, as a result this helps alleviate the grid, achieve sustainability and help the environment. As far as we know, we’re the only manufacturers whose lithium-ion product and VRLA product can work side by side. This is the first time this technology will be used to charge hybrid vehicles. It’s safe to say we are pioneering this duel chemical technology.

At the moment, due to Covid-19, we are reliant on power more than ever before. Yuasa products are renowned for their long life and reliability (and they’d have to be if they’re operating in orbit). What is it that makes Yuasa products so dependable? The difference with Yuasa is that we control everything; the design, development, and manufacture of our products. And we are drawing upon over 100 years’ of experience which is absolutely invaluable. Every single component of the batteries that we produce is made in our factories and goes through QA processes at every single point of production. Raw products go in at one end of the factory and a battery comes out at the other. When the battery is built and all of our own self-produced compo-

Does the future of sustainability hinge on energy storage? Until they come up with a clean and instant way of generating energy, the only way to do it is by storing it. If it’s the middle of winter on a still night, you’re not generating any sun and you’re not generating any wind. And yes, you can put in as many nuclear power stations as you like, but when everyone’s gone to bed at night, what do you do with that energy that’s been generated? You can’t just turn them off. So a storage system is definitely the best way to do it, and that’s what the industry is looking at right now and our dual chemistry technology fits into that. VRLA is probably one of the most environmentally-friendly ways of storing energy out there, you can recycle 99.9% of the components within our batteries, and we do.

It never ceases to amaze me where our batteries are. We’re in every industry there is nents are put together, the battery is then tested within the factory itself. We can tell you every single component that went in and when it was put in. The people who make them in the factory are specific on the job they do, they know what they’re doing and they’re experienced. How has Yuasa been impacted by Covid-19 as a company? During Covid-19, production capacity did go down for a while, but we prioritised production to supply batteries for all of the UK Nightingale Hospitals and other medical projects. We were and are very much focused on being part of the solution. We have worked extremely closely with our customers to make sure they get what they want, on time, to the correct location. In essence, the customer facing experience remained identical to pre-pandemic.

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Finally, are there any new projects on the horizon? What’s next for Yuasa? We all want a greener future, and regardless of what anybody says, electricity is going to be a major part of that, so we have to learn to control it better. If everyone put solar panels on their roofs the grid couldn’t take the energy. So the natural thing to do is to put in some way to store it, and right now, most of these are trials. Eventually, what we are doing today will be mainstream. As for what’s next, GS Yuasa is continually developing and studying what the market needs in terms of energy storage, and is continually focused on moving forward with the very latest technology that’s available. Rather than being driven by what we could produce, we are driven by what the market wants us to produce – to the highest quality.

To discover more: www.yuasa.com info@gs-yuasa.uk +44 (0) 1793 833555