At the end of June, we were lucky enough to receive a visit from Fred Hapiak, President of Leoch International Holding.
Fred is technically based at Leoch’s HQ in Singapore but, before COVID-19, would spend around half his time out of the country visiting other Leoch Battery sites around the world and actively overseeing the growth of the company outside of China, where it was first established.
We spoke to Fred to find out more about his visit and his plans for Leoch Battery, both in the UK and abroad.
What is the purpose of your visit to Leoch Battery UK?
I manage and oversee the international operations of Leoch. Trying to manage teams all over the world without being able to travel over the last couple of years has been challenging. The constraints and rules have been different for different countries and I have gone from being out of the country for 135 nights in 2019 to not travelling at all for two years.
I am now visiting sites all over the globe again and seeing how I can help them to improve.
We’re looking at R & D (research and development), staff motivation and communication, and sales processes.
Communication is a massive part of running a company. We need to build relationships with our customers at a local level but in a way that makes them feel like they have the support of the whole global organisation.
I also want to drive forward and invest in new products and expand our offering.
When did you last visit the UK operation?
It was February 2020, a few months before Leoch Battery UK was officially established. Good work has been done since then to establish the new name and brand in the UK and I’m pleased with the way the company has been operating for the last two and a half years. Our aim now is to build on that. I would like Leoch Battery UK to be three or even five times bigger than it is now in the next five years.
Leoch Battery UK is a very healthy business with a good team of professional people. We are very keen to have a physical office base in which people can learn from who they work with and for our UK customers to be served by UK people and build up local relationships. Our sales teams need to develop these relationships at a local level and be able to customise solutions to help our customers as much as they can.
We need to be global but act local.
Do you have any thoughts on the position of the UK market?
The UK is one piece of a global puzzle.
We have a network of companies around the world that all exchange ideas and knowledge and offer support to each other.
There are also some opportunities in the UK we don’t have elsewhere in the world, such as with specialist vehicles like taxis, buses and military. The leisure, mobility and transport markets are also bigger in the UK.
The UK is at the forefront of some new, exciting technologies and we need to have a presence here.
Energy storage is a booming technology in the UK and, in my opinion, this type of technology, where electricity is stored in batteries and replaces the generation of electricity, will replace other modes of power.
By 2035 all cars will be electric and batteries will be critical to this.
Replacing fossil fuels is also a huge trend right now. It started being developed in around 2015 in places like California, Australia and Germany but was very experimental then. Now they have set the trend and more work is going on around the world to develop new technologies that will work well and also fight climate change. This is a huge area of development and we’re really enthusiastic about this. This could see the integration of solar farms and battery farms in the future, where power is generated by batteries when the weather fails.
I am incredibly proud to be working in a field that is part of a bigger vision to create a better planet. We can say we are making an impact and that is huge.
What does the future hold for Leoch Battery UK?
We are focusing on developing lots of different solutions for the markets we operate in.
We have been working on some products for quite some time and on integrating lithium ion into solutions for our customers and are starting to sell these in the UK.
Network power and renewable power is popular in some of the countries we operate in and we want that to also be the case in the UK. We also want to be more successful in the telecoms sector in the UK. However, we have found that this industry is very brand loyal in the UK. They tend to stay with the same suppliers. Our brand is only 20 years old and we have only been actively marketing the brand for the last 10 years, so we need to work harder to get people to try our solutions. We know we offer good quality, timely technology that works and is competitively priced.
A wide lead acid battery range is a big part of our future too. We are also investing more in lithium ion and adding more UPS and motive products to our offering. We have lots of new products and technology in the pipeline.
The world needs more batteries and someone to drive things forward towards energy storage and electrification.
We are also actively hiring new talent to support this product development and business growth.
So, if anyone wants to join a dynamic team that is passionate about fighting climate change, do get in touch!