BSL Experience – BSL dealerships use Lithium-ion technology in sales and service
BSL recently interviewed Director Winston Suhermin of Bekasi – West Java Indonesia forklift dealer PT. Sarana Mitra Luas Tbk. We sat down with him to learn about their business and how the BSLBATT lithium-ion battery pack has changed their business.
BSL: Can you give a quick overview of your company?
Winston Suhermin: My name is Winston Suhermin, I am the Director of PT. Sarana Mitra Luas Tbk. I have been with the company since 2020. PT. Sarana Mitra Luas has strived for excellence since 1996. Started as a small forklift rental company based in Cikarang, to one of the most reputable forklift rental companies in Indonesia with a fleet of over 3500 units; the key was simple, “Customer Obsession and Operational Excellence.”In PT. Sarana Mitra Luas, we have a massive obsession with customer satisfaction combined with a deep passion for innovation. We strive for the best customer experience because we don’t just provide forklifts. We provide solutions.
BSL: How long has your company been in business?
WS: All forklift sales and rentals in material handling equipment have been around since the early 90’s.
BSL: How many sites do you service?
WS: We have built a strong network of customers all across Indonesia in locations such as Jakarta, Bandung, Cirebon, Semarang, Jogja, Surabaya, Lampung, Palembang, Jambi, Riau, Medan, Batam, Padang, Banten and Pontianak.
BSL: What is unique about your dealership?
WS: I would have to say our service support is really what differentiates us. We are the No.1 rental company in Indonesia with more than 3500 units of material handling equipments and served more than 15 cities in Indonesia. With our 27 yearsof experience, large enterprises such as Sinarmas, Indofood, LG, A etc have trusted their material handling needs to us because our main priority is good service and customer satisfaction. Because we do not only provide forklifts, we provide solutions.
BSL: How long have you been working with BSL Battery?
WS: We have been working with BSL BAttery for about 3 to 4 years.
BSL: What challenges did you come across in your industry that led you to look for lithium-ion solutions?
WS: Lithium-ion started growing more popular because of their ability to fast charge, no maintenance, and their long lifespan. We started to sell lithium around 3 years ago when we were approached for a project. We also had many of our customers asking about lithium which made us decide to pivot our business to supply and service lithium batteries. From that point on we have learned a lot about the technology and which lithium suppliers are the best, took a chance and tried BSL-BATT.
BSL: What makes lithium-ion a good fit?
WS: Well, I like to look at customer application. Do they have multi-battery operations? What is their usage? Do they do a lot of maintenance? Can they benefit from opportunity charging?
From there I will look to see if there is opportunity for them to eliminate space, eliminate maintenance, and eliminate the fumes during charging. If all the boxes are checked off, I offer lithium.
Most customers come in knowing and pushing to try lithium-ion technology. Sometimes customers want the technology even though it doesn’t make sense to integrate it in their application because of the low equipment usage in their facility. But these days businesses want to go green and that is probably the biggest push when customers come to me looking for a lithium-ion battery.
BSL: How did you determine that BSL Battery was a good fit?
WS: We started using other competitor batteries and we never got the best support from them. Our customers were just having too many issues with other battery supplier’s batteries. BSL battery’s excellent products and after-sales support helped us a lot, I like their excellent ability!
BSL: Can you describe your selection process of why you chose to partner with BSL Battery?
WS: The key to our success is very simple, “customer satisfaction and best service”. at PT. Sarana Mitra Luas, we focus on innovation to improve operational performance efficiency and provide the best service to our customers because we are not just a forklift provider, we are a solution provider. We really do want what is best for my customers, so we only want to sell the best product on the market.
BSLBATT has outshined everyone with their product support, quality, and design. Especially the battery management system (BMS) and telematics. I base what type of lithium-ion batteries I sell by the battery supplier’s BMS. If the BMS is designed well it makes servicing the battery smoother and the customers don’t lose productivity. Different lithium battery suppliers have different BMS. Some are harder to service than others. secondly BSLBATT Automotive Grade Modules are fabricated out of commercial grade steel. The lithium battery modules are retained by nickel plated busbars to ensure long-term performance. They are designed to withstand freezing temperatures through the use of premium components and controlled by onboard computers that keep your forklifts operating even in cold storage applications.
Not only does BSLBATT have a quality BMS and Automotive Grade Modulesthey have some of the best support when it comes to customer service.
BSL: How do you measure the value that BSL Battery products provide?
WS: To help OEMs, BSLBATT has developed 43standard modules for lithium batteries of different capacities, which can form parallel building blocks in forklift battery compartments. Up to 20 of these modules can be stacked in parallel, and the total capacity can be tailored to forklift OEM needs. The BMS and telematics measures it all. It makes servicing 10 times easier. Customers can make decisions to improve operations based on the data they see.
BSL: What is your overall opinion of lithium-ion vs the traditional lead acid battery?
WS: I am completely surprised by the efficiency, longevity, and the fast-charging capabilities lithium has compared to lead acid batteries. Quality & function wise, It is far more superior than regular lead-acid battery. As I said before, It has a lot of advantages in which lead-acid batteries don’t. Such as fast charging, longer life-cycle, maintenance free, opportunity charging, etc. But price is the only problem, it is far more expensive :’) Yes, the upfront cost of them is high, but what you get out of the product is worth it. When customers find out how much lithium costs they immediately back off and look into the new type of lead acid, TPPL. But the issue with TPPL is that it is double the price of traditional lead acid, the cycle life isn’t the best, and it only has a 60% depth of discharge. Paying double for a lead acid battery that doesn’t last as long doesn’t seem reasonable.
BSL: What do you see for the future?
WS: I see lithium-ion becoming more of the first choice. It will be a slow transition from lead acid – mainly because of lithium prices. Lithium batteries are expected to be the future of energy storage, not only in the material handling industry, but also in other industries as well. So, we are in the right track on using and selling lithium batteries, I am sure that in the future that more and more material handling equipments is going use lithium battery power and now is only the beginning of the lithium battery revolution.