PROMOTION ON BEHALF OF LUBREX
We spoke to Jack Gardner Business Development Manager at FCL about a new brand and range of lubricants they are distributing that will be coming to a retailer near you soon.
What products do you have in the range? Do you have products with newer OEM approval numbers etc?
Lubrex offers a large variety of lubricants for an enormous range of disparate applications, repeatedly validated in the toughest of environments.
Lubrex offers a comprehensive within a multitude of sectors including, Automotive, Commercial, Marine & Industrial. Lubrex’s automotive lubricants range has proven capability to help provide maximum engine performance, engine protection and extend engine life. The range includes premium grade low SAPS engine oils, semi synthetic and mineral oil-based grades and manual and automatic transmission fluids.
Lubrex has an ultra-modern automated blending system with the latest machinery, allowing us to keep our products precisely blended and avoid human errors. We pride ourselves in being at the forefront of lubrication technology, ensuring we are offering the latest OEM specifications and approvals.
Our products are certified and approved by major OEM’s such as:
- API (American Petroleum Institute)
- Mercedes Benz
What is your route to market? Do you have any arrangements with the buying groups or retail chains?
As the exclusive UK Distributor for Lubrex, our route to market is
Motor Factors and Buying Groups. Allowing us to distribute the product throughout the UK, increasing our market share and brand awareness. We work closely with each customer, ensuring customer satisfaction is our foremost commitment. We are customer centric in everything we do. We are focused on providing the best possible experience for our distributors and dealers.
What do you anticipate the core product will be, and do you have any volume targets in mind?
Our core product range within the UK will be focused on the Automotive aftermarket, ensuring we have availability on the correct oils will be in the essence of how we achieve our targets in which volume should then follow.
There are lots of brands of lubrication on the market in the UK. What is Lubrex’ point of difference, and at what part of the market is it pitched?
Lubrex prides itself in offering reliable OEM quality lubricants with full in-house capabilities, Lubrex has fully automated blending facility, automated filling lines and packaging that produces 80,000 MT annually of approved high-quality products, with the help of its state of the art quality control and R&D laboratory.
Lubrex offers a team of experts which includes chemists, physicists, test engineers, application specialists, analysts and production managers. Full support is available to our UK Distributors, allowing us to make a significant contribution in adding value to their customers.
Lubrex provide tried and tested, trusted products in a market of continually growing specifications. Lubrex has the capability to offer a full range of lubricants as well as providing new to range almost instantly. This capability in itself provides a huge demand which in turn allows us to be placed as one of the most competitive options in the market.
Having realised that a critical factor of success in any venture is the access to specific industry knowledge, Lubrex is founded and articulated by a team of leading industry professionals, strategic partners and business associates, which in turn have encouraged and emboldened the company to participate in one of the most challenging markets in the world.
Do you have any plans to join the Vehicle Lubrication Standards organisation (VLS)?
Yes, in the near future we intend to join VLS. We feel it is imperative that we help support to bring transparency to the lubricant marketplace and protect and educate the end user.
- Have there been any problems regarding availability of stock or materials?
Fortunately, the investment and growth strategy at Fil Filter saw construction of a 300,000sqft distribution hub in 2019. As a part of the European growth model the business has continually increased production capability over the past years to suit the anticipated increase in demand. This has been a huge benefit in allowing us to combat the lockdowns closures that many businesses faced in the wake of the pandemic.
- Has the cost of shipping increased significantly for you over the last year? Have there been any issues over the number of ships sailing?
Export and shipping have not been without its challenges over the last year. As a single site high volume manufacture, we do benefit from long standing relationships with our export partners. Our shipping costs have increased as a result of our increased demand that has led us to procure faster routes of carriage that have been a necessary cost to the business to support our customer network. Our advantage within this is that not only do we rely on a single site source of goods, but we also distribute to three European Hubs: UK, Ireland and Spain that increases our level of efficiency and provides customer’s easy access.
- Although you are importing from outside the EU, have there been any issues around Brexit and tariffs?
We are fortunate in the fact that the UK and Turkey have recently made new trade agreements that facilitate our current way of working. We are looking forward to seeing how much this benefit can impact on us and our ability to support the UK market and encourage Fil Filter in being a key supplier to the industry.
- It has been said that there is very little room for organic growth in filtration, would you agree with that? Is most of the market growth about persuading stockists (or fitters) to switch brands?
Our mandate from the launch of Fil Filter has been to achieve market growth through a value proposition and education. With our ever-increasing OE presence with the likes of Volkswagen Audi Group and other major manufactures. We anticipate a natural evolution of migration towards Fil Filter as our OE presence continues to grow. As with most options people are faced with, there is always change where there is a benefit of value and there is an increase in market share to be taken from this. However, there is organic growth to be had in changing habits and encouraging knowledge. We believe that organic growth strongly lies with the consumer and the choice some may not even know they have to use independent garages.
- What is your opinion on the state of UK buying groups at the present time?
UK buying groups are in a state of evolution. Consolidation has been a major factor in changing the landscape in recent years and this is something we expect to continue. Especially as the last twelve months has shown us that there is a present ability to adapt to change and remain optimistic in times of uncertainty. To maintain and grow rather than alter to survival shows that the buying groups are built by a strong network of individuals. The idea of pooling resource could not be more suited to prepare the buying groups to excel on exit of the current crises. The present position of the buying groups is one that shows there is power in numbers. With this we would anticipate an increase of independent members within the groups.