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Philippe Beauchamp

UgoWork develops, manufactures, and distributes innovative connected lithium-ion battery solutions for industrial vehicles. Its Energy as a Service (EaaS) subscription model reduces upfront costs for faster deployment and provides customers access to the latest lithium-ion technology, software suite, and best-in-class support with maintenance and technology updates. The company leverages telemetry to proactively help its clients solve operational challenges through accessible pay-per-use plans. With millions of kWh delivered and no personnel safety incidents, UgoWork’s lithium-ion offering is proven, flexible, and safe. UgoWork’s products and energy solutions cater to industrial vehicles operating in the food and beverage, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution sectors.

Our mission to address the challenges of material handling started over 10 years ago. As trained electrical engineers, yet new to the material handling world, we invested countless hours in meeting users and operations managers before heading into the development phase of the UgoWork battery. Our R&D team designed and performed the necessary reliability, safety, and ruggedness tests to develop a battery that exactly meets the needs of the market and evolves with our customers.

UgoWork products exceed the highest industry standards. They are independently tested and UL listed.

When clients choose UgoWork, they sign up for an energy partnership that goes beyond just a battery. They start a relationship with energy experts dedicated to achieving their goals. Whether you are faced with manufacturing or warehousing challenges, we’ll help you reduce your operational costs through improved efficiency in your material handling operations.

Based in Quebec, Canada, the company offers its solutions across North America to many Fortune 500 companies.

Our values are:

  • Sustainability: We build for the long term and believe in respecting the planet and the people.
  • Integrity: We do what’s best for our group and our customers.
  • Audacity: Every day, we challenge the status quo and push the limits forward.

Tell us about yourself?

Philippe Beauchamp, ing. is UgoWork’s co-founder and CEO. Prior to UgoWork, Philippe worked as an electrical engineer for Alstom Power, a global provider of industry-focused energy solutions, where he advised in the development of power solutions for hydro electrical projects. Philippe holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Laval University and pursued master-level studies in energy management at Sherbrooke University, where they developed the first prototype of the UgoWork battery. Philippe is also a member of l’Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec.

In the early stage of their business, Philippe and his business partner, Rami Jarjour, explored various industries and identified material handling as an excellent opportunity for their lithium-ion batteries. Through an extensive voice of customer exercise, they identified some major problems and pains that material handling equipment fleet operators were facing, and they developed solutions that would address these.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I would tell myself to keep focusing on building a strong team on which I can rely on and get prepared for the future. That is the key to our current success, and it is important to remember that often.

What problem does your business solve?

Declining operating costs and environmental challenges are pushing electric forklifts into gaining market shares over fossil fuels. However, fleet owners are limited by lead-acid battery performance. That technology requires strict maintenance, is not energy efficient, emits toxic gasses, is extremely heavy and must be handled in and out of forklift trucks, so it represents health and safety risks. It also has a limited lifetime when used extensively, and its performance level fades as the state of charge diminishes.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

With stiff global competition and unprecedented supply chain problems, material handling teams are facing more pressure than ever before to keep both performance levels—and costs—in check. However, in a field still very much marked by legacy technologies and workflows, there are many challenges that keep material handling managers up at night, including:

  • Employee productivity and throughput
  • Equipment maintenance, fuel, and upgrade costs
  • Labor shortages and high turnover rates
  • Safety concerns and associated expenditures
  • And much more.

Material handling teams are rethinking their workflows and investing in more modern equipment, such as electric forklifts powered by lithium-ion batteries, in order to mitigate their operational and financial hurdles.

The Material handling industry has been held back by product-centric business models and legacy IT systems, which aren’t customer-responsive. Equipment manufacturers administer limitations by selling customers’ physical assets upfront with a fixed warranty period. It can also come with pressure to upgrade to complicated programs, which are too feature-rich for many organizations.

Product-focused vendors tend to operate sales and service delivery in a siloed or sequential fashion. Customers are moved through stages of a sales cycle with opaque handoffs between independently-operated suppliers. This approach isn’t aligned with the delivery of a superior customer experience.

What is your magic sauce?

UgoWork’s lithium-ion batteries and Energy as a Service (EaaS) plans extend beyond energy efficiency and offer a pay-for-performance approach to meet customers’ needs. EaaS plans come with embedded guarantees (i.e., fleet uptimes), are comprehensive (i.e., preventive and proactive maintenance, 24/7 technical support, remote monitoring of battery parameters, full product lifecycle management), and represent fully scalable energy solutions that guarantee energy savings for companies operating large MHE fleets.

More than just a lithium-ion battery for industrial trucks, UgoWork pairs the advanced technological innovation comprised with its ahead-of-the-curve universal charging infrastructure with industry-forward pay-per-use Energy as a Service (EaaS) financing options. EaaS allows forklift fleet operators to substantially reduce CAPEX and benefit from the service’s embedded guarantees (i.e., fleet uptime, 24/7 technical support, full product lifecycle management). The ROI of EaaS for material handling operations can be achieved in just a few months.

In short, UgoWork is different from its competitors because of:

  • Unique charging infrastructure (embedded chargers, EV type connector) that brings flexibility to shop floors.
  • Energy expertise and advanced analytics tools that provide insights to customers so that they can optimize their operations.
  • A unique Energy as a Service business model providing maximum financial flexibility and ensuring maximization of resources and the lowest carbon footprint.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Capitalize on a great product and service offers to gain market shares in North America while keeping the innovation rate on the hardware and software side. The ultimate goal is to help as many organizations in their energy optimization so that they can become more efficient, profitable and environmentally friendly.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The material handling industry is slow at adopting new technology and even slower at embracing new business models. Customers and truck OEMs are also conservative. Therefore, they require different levels of approval and certification for power products (batteries) to be allowed to be used with the trucks. At this point in time, UL certifications are acquired, as well as some certifications from three major OEMs.

Since lithium-ion is still new to the material handling market, there are still quite large efforts required in educating customers and navigating through misinformation coming from either detractors or competitors.

Finally, the challenging supply chain situation is also affecting UgoWork. Batteries are a complex ecosystem of parts with various lead time and supply conditions, so it is challenging to sustain the growth that we are experiencing while keeping our customers’ deliveries happening.

How can people get involved?

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