We caught up with Sean Barnie, Sales Manager at Fil Filters, to find out what issues that the Turkey-based manufacturer had experienced in shipping goods in and across Europe during the pandemic.
Have there been any problems regarding
stock or materials?
Fortunately, the investment and growth strategy at Fil Filter allowed construction of a 300,000 sq ft distribution
hub in 2019. As a part of the European growth model, the business has continually increased production capability over the past few years to suit the anticipated increase in demand. This has been a huge benefit in allowing us to combat the lockdown closures.
Has the cost of shipping increased for you over the past year? Have there been any issues over the number of ships sailing?
Export and shipping have not been without their challenges. As a single-site high-volume manufacturer, we 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 the 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. This increases our level of efficiency and provides customers with easy access.
Have there been any issues around Brexit and tariffs?
We are fortunate that the UK and Turkey have made trade agreements that facilitate our way of working. We look forward to seeing how much this can help 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 little room for organic growth in filtration, would you agree with that? Is it about getting 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 the VW Group and other major manufacturers, 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 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.
What’s 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 because the past 12 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 resources could not be more suited to preparing buying groups to excel on exit of the current crises. The present position
of the buying groups is that there is power in numbers. With this we would anticipate an increase of independent members within the groups.
New on the shelves
The UK importer of Fil products is preparing to introduce a new oil brand called Lubrex. The firm is currently looking for distributors for a product range, that’s compatible with a number of VM specifications and is produced in a modern and highly automated blending plant.
The plan is to get the oil onto the shelves and then to join the VLS trade body as soon as possible.
Jack Gardner, Business Development Manager at FCL said: “We feel it is imperative that we bring clarity
to the lubricant market and educate the product end use”.