A keen innovator and technology leader, CHASE Technologies of Alrode, Johannesburg has not rested on its laurels during the lockdown. The company is in the test phase of its new energy standby system.
“We have seen a great deal of interest in the product already. Customers are always on the lookout for reliable alterative back-up power solutions due to the current uncertainty surrounding our electricity supply,” comments CHASE Technologies General Manager Brent Frazer.
In addition to supplying lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery packs for forklifts in materials-handling applications, CHASE Technologies also targets markets as diverse as golf carts, cleaning equipment and access platforms.
The application of LiFePO4 technology in forklifts represents the latest advance in motive power in this sector. Not only are LiFePO4 battery packs more cost-effective and maintenance-free, they are environmentally-friendly as well. “Supply-chain management has never been more efficient and productive thanks to these developments,” highlights Frazer.
Commenting on the impact of the lockdown on business operations, Frazer comments that having a certificate as an essential services provider was critical. While the company was unable to assemble any battery packs during this period, it put in a lot of effort to get ahead of its scheduling so its clients could continue operating.
Business continuity was a major challenge, mainly due to the reconfiguration of operations from a head office based set-up to several remote offices. “It’s all about keeping the flow and the communications open, and putting new protocols and staff in place, as well as financial planning to limit the impact of the uncertainty during the lockdown.
“Being a small business, we have the advantage that we can adapt a lot quicker compared to larger corporates that have to jump through hoops of red tape before they can do something,” comments Frazer. Larger corporates, however, do have a bit of a financial cushion to limit the immediate fallout, he adds.
Some of the protocols introduced include leaving all paperwork in a designated area for four days before it is handled by the next person. All spares are also placed in a pre-sanitised area in order to be immediately ready for collection, without customers having to come into contact with any staff. All staff have dedicated work areas over and above the normal social distancing requirements.
“The challenges are always there, no matter how you look at it,” stresses Frazer. But the biggest challenge has been to maintain a positive outlook for both staff and clients. Secondly, the disruption of workflow due to quarantine and separation has had a negative effect on efficiency. “We are doing everything to keep ourselves and our clients motivated as we are all going through this together,” he concludes.