Helga Laporte, our Global Product Manager, and Philippe Verellen, Managing Director discuss the future of the lubricant market, and the journey we’re on to get there.
What is your vision for the future of the lubricants business? Where do you see us in a couple of years?
Philippe: Well, that’s quite a big question to start with, but let’s take it step by step! We built this company as a pure blender, for the last 60 years, that’s what we’ve been doing, and that’s not going to change, and even if the blend gets more complex, it remains blending. What we have been able to branch out into is to provide better services to our clients, although I prefer to think of them as partners.
With your global outlook, Helga, where do you see the market headed?
Helga: It’s all about servicing our clients better, I mean as the world goes more digital, people are going to value human contact and efficiency more and more. A more agile team, quicker response times with real solutions. Or better services with regards to their business. That’s my vision of where the market is headed, but it’s also what we’re applying at this company. I think also, what’s changing the outlook for us, is the amount we’re investing, everything we have to offer really, to make sure we get the right products at the right price.
Philippe: I totally agree, and it couldn’t be a better strategy for us. That investment we make in research, lab and field, means we can give the global locals, the right product, adapted to them and their needs.
Philippe: With our 3 brands, we’ve been able to give our partners better services that they can pass on to their customers. And this is where I truly believe the future lies. I mean it’s not a small garage chain that’s going to be able to roll out an innovative application that makes it’s workflow easier. But we can. Some of the people we’ve invited to speak at Automechanika Frankfurt will be going more into detail about this, but we really believe it’s one of the ways of making a difference.
There’s a challenge that you know much about specifically, through your global role which is how do we respond to the different specific challenges that the lubricant market faces? By that I mean local norms and regulations and manufacturers becoming more and more demanding, or rather their needs complexifying?
Helga : It’s normal that the market demands are getting more and more complex when you see the vehicles that they’re producing. Take a car from the early 2000’s and it’s nearly prehistoric in relation to the cars we drive today. Let alone the trucking industry. There’s a really simple answer to that, and that’s agility. You’re not going to be able to move forwards with the market, that you’re supplying, not shaping remember, if you’re in a fixed position, if you can’t flow with new demands and challenges. That’s what we’re trying to make sure the whole company is. From shop floor to us here at the top.
Phillipe: Yes absolutely, we’ve noticed a difference with this agility, it gives us that extra added benefit on top of delivering what the client needs. And again, this year we’re really going to stress those points at Automechanika, in some of the keynotes presented there.
Helga : I’m already looking forwards to it.
Philippe: So am I. I can’t wait, and I can’t wait to meet those that have read this interview there too.
Helga Laporte, Global Product Go-To-Market Manager
Philippe Verellen, Managing Director
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