Rotronics is delighted to be working in partnership with the Norfolk County Council workshop management team based at Hethersett Fire Station, Norfolk. Ken Clark, Managing Director at Rotronics, has been working with Paul Symonds, Workshop Manager, since October 2018 when they met at an IMI meeting near Norwich.

The Problem
Norfolk County Council briefed Rotronics to introduce a battery management process into their workshop, to improve vehicle reliability and, specifically, the testing and charging practices. In the Council’s yellow fleet, the 54 gritters were being brought out of hibernation and the workshop team wanted to ensure that they would start first time, every time, throughout the winter months. The workshop team’s key focus was to avoid vehicle non-starts, therefore letting the region down with their gritting requirements.

Rotronics understood from the workshop that vehicle issues occurring in the workshop has previously meant that a technician would be called to attend the workshop-bound vehicle to a non-start. This has been a relatively simple recovery involving a booster pack restart or potentially a new battery. If, however, the vehicle is out on the road and experiences a failure, this has meant that a technician would be despatched and could be tied up for at least two hours trying to re-start or recover the vehicle in potentially hazardous conditions through the winter months. Because of staff and public safety issues, this is a situation that the Council was desperate to avoid.

From October 2017 to March 2018, Norfolk County Council asked Rotronics to introduce a Battery Management Programme to the yellow fleet as an immediate priority because of the time of year, however, they were then asked to focus on the red fleet. The red fleet is the fire engine fleet, with over 80 vehicles attending fires and many other emergency situations across Norfolk.

The workshop is responsible for maintaining over 200 vehicles in its yellow, red and white fleets. The white fleet is made up of general council vans and company cars. Norfolk Council recorded 40 non-starts in their entire fleet over a five-month period. The average non-start recovery cost is around £200, equating to a non-start cost of £8000. They also got through 20 sets of batteries, with an approximate cost of £6000. For the period Oct 2017 to March 2018, they had a total cost of around £14,000 for battery-related non-start issues.

The Award-Winning Rotronics Solution

With the Rotronics Battery Management Programme, the team aimed to considerably reduce those costs by increasing the serviceable life of the fleet batteries, identify defects before they happen and implement proactive testing and charging practices within everyday workshop maintenance.

We introduced the Midtronics EXP1000FHD into the workshop environment to aid proactive testing and charging practices and have introduced ROBIS, our award-winning centralised dashboard showing regional and national KPI output of workshop battery test performance.

Following the implementation of the Rotronics Battery Management Programme, the ROBIS upload of test results, carried out by the workshop team, showed the trends and improvements in battery performance and highlighted any batteries that needed to be replaced or charged. This has significantly increased the reliability of the fleet maintenance programme. All vehicles are now tested and charged as part of regular maintenance, and poor batteries are removed from service.

The Benefit to Norfolk County Council

The impact of this over the following equivalent period is that we have only seen two vehicle non-starts. The net benefit of the battery management programme is a 95% reduction in nonstarts over the same five-month period, and an 80% reduction in battery replacements. This equates to a saving of £4800 in replacement batteries and £7,600 saving in non-starts. The Rotronics Battery Management Programme, including ROBIS, has cost Norfolk County £2,500 in equipment and a monthly subscription to ROBIS of £20 per workshop per month.

Most importantly, this programme has made the entire fleet more reliable and ensures that all their vehicles get to where they need to be on time. This is critical for their gritters in the winter and their fire engines throughout the year, to be able to serve their community in the way they should.

The workshop team was surprised at how simple and easy the programme was to implement within a workshop environment. They were also surprised at the excellent results and the cost savings as these also have a considerable human impact.

Paul Symonds, Workshop Manager, Norfolk County Council, said: “During the last winter season we noticed a considerable drop in the need to attend non-starts in the depots due to battery issues. With the aid of the Rotronics Battery Management system we were able to identify weak batteries which were replaced at workshop visits, maintained matched batteries, and on two occasions were able to prove good batteries and found the programmed night heaters had been left on causing non-starts.”

Key Features of ROBIS

What will ROBIS do for your business? ROBIS will reduce non-starts, help workshops save money and reduce their battery budgets by reducing roadside defects. The battery performance across a fleet will be improved and your warranty processes can be streamlined as ROBIS provides under-the-microscope data regarding battery performance. ROBIS will deliver proven ROI supporting your workshop battery management programme and will provide uniformed testing practices across your business. ROBIS will benefit your customers when you reduce lost miles and delivery penalties; you can make sure that vehicles are where they should be, when they should be.

Ken Clark, managing director of Rotronics, says: “ROBIS will 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 extremely positive so far; they are amazed by the level of data and information that can be extracted from our battery management process. ROBIS offers underthe-microscope battery performance data and can support battery suppliers with valuable trendanalysis. ROBIS will show real-time cost savings in the proactive use of the Rotronics battery management programme.”

New Key Features of ROBIS

  • Live data reported into ROBIS, for instant results visibility
  • No need to extract SD card from tester
  • Warranty claims immediately processed and can be submitted as they happen
  • Know instantly how many tests are being carried out by technicians daily aiding compliance
  • Instant ability to track the number of daily vehicle inspections against the number of battery tests performed
  • Accurately compare “non-start” defects against latest routine maintenance test.
  • Extract and create weekly charging schedules against those vehicles tested as requiring charging


Existing Features

  • 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 comparision 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 ebnabling visability 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 qualiity 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 noncompliance.
  • Peronalised datbase with company logo


Internet access is required and users 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 dashoard works on any PC, tablet or mobile phone device and gives instant access to current and historical workshop testing results and analysis.

The workshop and management team can manage both workshop maintenance and vehicle reliability trends with their personalised reports. These reports will also help them identify individual training needs within the overall battery maintenance process.

With minimal input from the technical team, workshops can actively manage and process their warranty claims. ROBIS can provide a comprehensive overview of the battery health and lifecycle performance if fleet information is uploaded into the database; this will help warranty adjudication for both user and supplier.

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 [email protected]