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CONTACT Magazine (Vol.18 No.1 – April 2018)

The first issue of the rebranded CONTACT Magazine — with a brand new editorial and design direction — produced by MEP Publishers for the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce

INNOVATORS Lange

INNOVATORS Lange Trinidad to supply the Caribbean’s battery needs WORDS By: natalie dookie PHOTOGRAPHY courtesy: LANGE TRINIDAD Astalwart in the automotive industry since 1957, Lange is one of the leading battery distributors in Trinidad and Tobago. With 80 employees and four departments automotive, batteries, industrial and insurance the firm was one of the first companies in Trinidad and Tobago to earn an official “SME 2000 certification for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Quality and Environmental Management System”. Today, Lange is building on that track record of success by establishing its first manufacturing venture, through its subsidiary LTL Manufacturing Limited. Lange carries a wide range of battery products, including Premium, E-Series, Heavy Duty, 6-Volt, Traction and Gel Batteries for light and heavy duty automotive application. It also supplies the construction and marine sectors’ needs. Steven Blanc, Chief Operating Officer, Lange Trinidad Limited, notes that the locally produced TRACK battery brand, established in 1987, is a household name with consumers. “In 2014, we began looking at new export markets and decided to source an international supply that would be able to compete on quality globally. “Eventually, we found a manufacturer in Turkey, which met our needs of being strong on quality, and research and development. We began importing from them with the goal of setting up a plant in Trinidad and Tobago.” From importer to manufacturer Blanc believed that, as Trinidad and Tobago was heavily reliant on revenues from the oil and gas industry, there was a shortage of export-oriented manufacturing businesses generating foreign exchange. “We saw this opportunity as a member of the private sector, to help improve the economy, through diversifying our business into manufacturing. As a distribution firm, we had been experiencing foreign exchange challenges, and wanted to reduce our import bill. Now, as an export driven manufacturer, we will become a net positive US dollar earner.” The Ministry of Trade and Industry came in for high praise from Blanc, who credits their team with providing excellent support to first-time manufacturers, especially one like Lange, whose product is sophisticated and requires significant engineering and research and development services. The Ministry also assisted with obtaining the necessary certifications, and with the preparations for export. The Environmental Management Authority (EMA), the Customs and Excise Division and exporTT were also helpful in getting Lange to this point. 10 Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine

Stephen Blanc, COO, Lange Trinidad: “As an export driven manufacturer, we will become a net positive US dollar earner” www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 11 Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce

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