Descartes UK

Start each week in charge

Workshop discussion about Monday morning vehicle non-starts can be a bit like Groundhog Day. 

The stark reality is that there are oddly accepted and unnecessary battery-related costs that could be removed with proactive battery management. If workshop managers and owners want to reduce these needless battery related costs, and improve battery performance and vehicle reliability, it is worth looking at the workshop’s day-to-day battery management programmes. 

Truck and Track has teamed up with Rotronics, the UK’s Midtronics and CTEK supplier, to share with readers how to put the best foot forward and make simple improvements that will make a big difference. Ground breaking technology is at the heart of what Rotronics can offer their customers as UK industry leaders in pro-active battery maintenance and service solutions. The team has recently developed ROBIS, the Rotronics on-line battery information system, which is a web-based dashboard and reporting system that collects battery and electrical data from a number of national/regional workshop sources and will update software across the fleet. 

Ken Clark, managing director for Rotronics, says: “The battery is frequently blamed for letting the vehicle down and this will usually lead the workshop team to question the quality of the batteries they fit. Battery quality does vary considerably, but the most common reason that batteries fail generally has nothing to do with the quality of the battery itself, but more to do with poor testing and charging practices or poor maintenance. Many of our customers report that these issues can easily account for 20% of battery costs.”

Ken Clark continues: “The charts below show six months’ worth of battery performance for one of our customers and we can easily see the point at which the batteries have failed. The workshop monitored the testing and charging carried out as part of its day-to-day proactive maintenance process, uploaded the data to our ROBIS portal and we were able to pre-empt the battery failure and replace the batteries before the vehicle had a non-start.

“And very importantly, because full testing and charging maintenance had been carried out by the workshop and this was recorded in ROBIS, they could submit a warranty claim that was approved instantly by their battery supplier.”

Using ROBIS will give you a clear direction on the testing and charging required within the workshop and staff can put into place steps to keep your vehicles on the road, starting first time. Teams now have clear measurements for fleet battery performance and can access a powerful tool that will ensure that they can closely manage their processes and costs. 

What will ROBIS do for your business? ROBIS will reduce non-starts and help workshops bring down their battery budgets by decreasing roadside defects. The cross-fleet battery performance will improve, and warranty processes can be trimmed as ROBIS provides under-the-microscope data regarding battery performance. ROBIS will deliver proven ROI supporting your workshop battery management programme and will provide a recommended plan for optimal testing and charging practices for your business. ROBIS will benefit your customers when you cut lost miles and delivery penalties. 

Ken Clark, managing director of Rotronics, says: “ROBIS will seriously reduce non-starts as it becomes central to helping fleet managers and owners evaluate exactly how their batteries perform across the fleet. ROBIS can gather national/regional data to one source and is a great tool to help reduce unnecessary battery-related costs in a workshop budget. Our customers have been delighted so far; they are astounded by the level of data and intelligence that can be extracted from this process.”

Key Features of ROBIS 

  • Centralised dashboard showing regional and national KPI output of workshop battery test performance.
  • Early detection of vehicle and battery related performance issues.
  • Instant online access to current and historical workshop battery test results.
  • User uploadable fleet information list to enable vehicle performance and trend analysis.
  • Tracking of equipment usage across multiple locations.
  • Benchmarking of regional and national tests result comparison and league tables.
  • Auditing of technician input, to measure and identify any training needs required.
  • Delivery of continuity across business, with KPI dashboard measuring key deliverables.
  • Centralised database enabling visibility of all data, without risk of data loss.
  • Active vehicle database exception reporting of vehicles not being maintained.
  • Highlight battery performance issues and trends, to understand the quality of the batteries you fit to your vehicles.
  • Active Warranty management reporting processes, enabling semi-automated warranty process.
  • Multiple reporting software, enables numerous bespoke reports to be produced. 
  • Proven ROI capability, enabling measurement of success versus impact of non-compliance.
  • Peronalised database with company logo.

Users will need internet access and will receive a personalised, secure login which will give multiple user access to the dashboard, reports, warranty management and the regional/national statistics of their fleet. The dashboard can operate on any PC, tablet or mobile phone device and gives instant access to current and historical workshop testing results and analysis.

It is possible to manage workshop maintenance and vehicle reliability trends via these reports. It is also possible to identify individual training needs within the overall battery maintenance process. By incorporating a simple proactive approach by testing and balance charging the batteries as part of the vehicle maintenance process, the reliability of the batteries will increase and extend their serviceable life considerably.

Unmonitored batteries have a reduced lifespan of up to 50% and the key issue to focus on is how you are going to cope with the battery charging needs. Have you got a charger in every operational bay?

As we get closer to Winter, vehicles will have higher power demands because of lighting, heating systems, electrics, heated seats and de-misting windows and these elements put much more excessive drains on vehicles and therefore battery testing and charging is vital.

Please contact Rotronics now to discuss ROBIS. For more information on Rotronics and the battery management programmes, go to and call Ken Clark on 0121 526 8185. You can also email

Rotronics is part of Rubery Owen, a company at the forefront of automotive component technology since the birth of the motor car and has been synonymous with quality and enterprise over the years.