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Global OEMs Welcom Shell Lubricants' Portfolio Redesign [Oct 2011]

After redesigning its entire portfolio of industrial lubricants, Shell Lubricants has secured thousands of re-approvals and recommendations from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). This means that customers have been able to maintain the existing remaining warranties on their valuable equipment, such as hydraulic systems, gearboxes, bearings and air compressors, when they continued to use the appropriate Shell lubricant.
Moreover, several key OEMs have validated the positive impact of the initiative with their reactions. Fred Ondarza, OEM Approvals Manager (Americas), Shell Lubricants, describes the portfolio redesign as an unprecedented move. “It is the first time, I believe, that a major lubricants supplier has revamped its entire portfolio in this way. For years, customers have stated that none of the oil companies have a clear, coherent naming system. Shell has listened and has taken action to remedy this problem. It is not a decision that we took lightly, because OEM approval is a substantial task, but we were addressing a pressing need within the industry.”
He explains, “Lubricant ranges are typically complex and often include several different brands and sub-brands. We listened to our customers and the maintenance managers, procurement specialists and lubrication technicians who were telling us that it can be difficult to understand and choose the correct lubricant for the right application without risking lubricant performance, equipment operation or efficiency.”
Shell has provided a range of supporting tools and materials to help customers move from the old to the new portfolio, and product packaging includes both the old and the new product names for an initial period to assist in the transition.
OEM approvalUlf Rieper, OEM Approvals Manager (Europe/Africa), Shell Lubricants, describes the enormity of the re-approval process. “Each approval involves extensive test programmes at independent laboratories, and about 700 of our products were affected.
“We consulted the OEMs and worked closely with them to get the new approvals or recommendations for the new products,” he continues. “In fact, owing to the focus on streamlining the number of brands, some products have been awarded additional approvals or recommendations. Over 3,000 approvals have been granted so far.”
Global OEM reactionNumerous OEMs around the world have responded positively. In the Americas, for instance, a world leader in the power transmission industry, which re-approved Shell Tellus S2 M, Shell Tellus S2 V, Shell Tellus S3 V and Shell Tellus S4 ME, said, “Finally, we can work with a naming structure that makes sense. The new system provides a clear, efficient way to check that we have selected the optimal products.”
In Europe, a major hydraulic equipment manufacturer commented, “Now we are working with a portfolio that has consistent names and consistent formulations, and this is helping us to make sure that our customers are using the right products wherever they are in the world.”
In Asia Pacific, Zhenhua Port Machinery, the global leading port machinery OEM, which has around 50 per cent of the global port machine market, re-approved Shell Tellus S2 M. A representative said, “The simplified Shell new product portfolio will enable more efficient sourcing and recommendations to our global clients.”
The Portfolio RedesignThe aim of Shell Lubricants’ portfolio redesign was to:Demystify lubricant and fluid selection: Customers are able to easily match a product against a machine or application’s lubrication requirements using the new tiering systemRationalise the portfolio: Old, superseded formulations have been eliminated and, where necessary, new formulations are introducedMaximise the value delivered: The availability of value-added top-tier and synthetic lubricants, which can help deliver maximum benefits, has been increasedIntroduce global consistency: Customers that operate on an international basis are able to ensure that each facility receives the same products and achieves the same high performance levels.

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