25th November 2020 By Recharge
H&T Nevada: An interview with Tobias Ott
We sat down with H&T Nevada’s Managing Director, Tobias Ott, to discuss 2020 and the challenges the business has faced over the last 6 months. With the economy now re-opening following COVID-19, we also discuss what the future holds for H&T Nevada and what we can expect over the coming months.
Pictured: Tobias Ott, Managing Director H&T Nevada (now President H&T Recharge Divison)
Hello Tobi, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. For those that may not know, please tell us a little bit about H&T Nevada and the products you manufacture?
H&T Recharge is the Western Hemisphere’s largest manufacturer of battery cans for the fast-growing rechargeable battery industry.
H&T Nevada, where I am based, specializes in deep-drawn battery canisters in Nickel-plated steel for the electric vehicle industry. In total H&T Recharge manufactures 2 billions of cans for the rechargeable battery market every year.
2020 has been unprecedented in the challenges it brought for businesses. How has the business been impacted by COVID-19?
Naturally, 2020 has been a challenging year and COVID-19 had some impact on us. As an example, we have suffered a number of temporary production shutdowns. Nevertheless, I was positively surprised by our team and our ability to coming back into full operation extremely quickly. We have had several ups and downs, but so have all businesses, but it could have been much worse, so we try and remain positive.
H&T Nevada is part of the Heitkamp & Thumann Group. What benefits/advantages does being part the Group offer you?
In terms of day to day operations, being part of the Heitkamp & Thumann Group is crucial for H&T Nevada. Our presses, which we use to manufacture battery cans, are manufactured by our sister company H&T ProduktionsTechnologie and H&T Tool Design also supplies us with the tooling we need for the presses. Our site is highly inter-linked with other companies within the Group, and dealing with supplies from the same Group does make things easier.
As part of the Heitkamp & Thumann Group we have been lucky enough to have had the added financial security and support throughout our plant closure. Also, the Heitkamp & Thumann Group has supported H&T Nevada to ensure the health and wellbeing of our employees.
A company’s most important asset is its employees? How did the pandemic affect the team at Nevada?
The health of our employees is absolutely paramount to us. We introduced a number of initiatives on site to ensure our team remained safe during this time including introducing social distancing practices, sanitizer stations, and all employees had the correct PPE including face masks.
We also ensured all our employees understood the actions they needed to take should they get any symptoms or test positive for the virus. So far, we have been quite successful with these procedures.
Looking to the future of the business, now that the global economy is slowly reopening what are the biggest challenges facing H&T Nevada and what does the future hold for the company?
We are now back to full production but with any business the biggest challenge will be COVID-19 and the potential for a second shut down. However, no one really knows what will happen in the next six months so for the time being we are concentrating on supporting our customers with our components.
Are there any new and exciting developments ongoing at H&T Nevada you can tell us about?
The main developments at H&T Nevada are based around our increase our production capacities which is happening right now. In addition we are working on several improvements to our processes & equipment also by using H&T Excellence lean program to ensure we continue to meet our customer needs through these challenging circumstances.
What is the one thing you think you have learnt about yourself and H&T Nevada during these last six months?
I think the pandemic has really highlighted to me how crucial teamwork is and how much we rely on each other to create a successful business. I cannot stress enough how important the internal pragmatism and professionalism has been in order to find solutions for problems that we could not have predicted before.
Thank You Tobi