The Lube-Tech Round Table is an exclusive feature of the Viscosity Index. Its intent is to cover a wide variety of topics highlighting the ways Lube-Tech helps its customers overcome challenges and solve problems they face in their day-to-day operations.
In this installment, Lube-Tech’s Tyler Burns (Iowa), Mike Ostrowski (Wisconsin), and Lindsey Ratcliff (Minnesota) discuss out of the box problem solving.
The Round Table moderator is J.T. Bernier, Digital Marketing Manager at Lube-Tech & Partners.
J.T. Bernier: There’s no manual for solving customer issues because every one is unique. You guys have to be able to think outside the box on a regular basis to solve customer issues, what are the most noteworthy issues you’ve helped solve?
Mike Ostrowski: I had an interesting case recently. I had been calling on a prospective customer and during that time they hired a new shop manager. He immediately recognized the shop had issues with its fluids and recognized they needed to make some changes. That’s where I came in. They had a lot of drums and pails scattered around the garage. The shop manager was suspicious they had a misapplication of fluids and after my analysis, I had to agree.
J.T. Bernier: What did you do?
Mike Ostrowski: Well first off, I conducted a full audit of their lubricant program. I needed to know exactly what kinds of fluids they had, and which ones they needed, so I requested a complete list of their equipment. Once we had a list, we were able to consolidate their product mix and make a chart that listed each piece of equipment and the fluids it required. We laminated the charts and placed them in each piece of equipment.
J.T. Bernier: Wow, so a complete changeover for them! How did the shop handle that?
Mike Ostrowski: Their techs had a bit of an “oil is oil” attitude and that’s where part of the misapplication problem had been stemming from. They learned that’s not the case and were ready to take on the new challenge.
J.T. Bernier: Was the new shop manager happy?
Mike Ostrowski: Oh yeah, we cut down the number of products they were using and helped put some organization to their service program. Plus, we helped them clean up the shop since there were fewer drums and buckets sitting around!
J.T. Bernier: Tyler, you look like you’re ready to share, how about your story?
Tyler Burns: My example might dovetail with that “oil is oil” attitude a little. I had a long-standing customer we had been selling hydraulic oil to, and we were working to consolidate their coolant and honing oil business. The customer was using an oil that didn’t have a lot of additives and was inexpensive, but was causing some pain points they needed to solve. They had two big ones – a screeching sound during the machining process and limited stone life. In their case, the inexpensive option on fluids was actually costing them more money on equipment.
J.T. Bernier: That’s a good angle to take in that situation. What were you able to come up with?
Tyler Burns: We trialed Lube-Tech 7010 and there was immediate improvement regarding both issues. It is a more expensive fluid than they had been using, but fortunately they saw the benefits and made the switch. We eliminated the screeching noise and they’re now seeing extended tool life which is making up for added cost.
Lindsey Ratcliff: I had an issue that had nothing to do with fluids, it had to do with shop floor space.
J.T. Bernier: That sounds interesting, how in the world did you run into and fix a problem like that? We sell oil not shop space!
Lindsey Ratcliff: I had an auto dealer whose primary mover was 0W-20 and their tank had become too small. Their use had increased and they were running out before their scheduled delivery refill. Problem was they didn’t have any room for a bigger tank. I contacted our ESI group and let them know what was going on.
J.T. Bernier: You’re talking about Lube-Tech ESI, Lube-Tech’s Equipment Service Installation segment?
Lindsey Ratcliff: Correct. They looked at the space and built a custom tank that increased their capacity. Problem solved.
J.T. Bernier: Wow, simple when you have those assets at your disposal. Maybe we do sell shop space!
Lindsey Ratcliff: Yes, well I think we can all agree that is the strength of Lube-Tech, we have so many assets at our disposal.
Mike Ostrowski: Agree. The options Lube-Tech gives its customers is key to our success.
J.T. Bernier: What would you say is the most important Lube-Tech service at your disposal?
Tyler Burns: I don’t know if you can put a finger on just one thing, I’d say it’s really the whole package of offerings from all our different business segments. From all the fluids we sell, to the equipment we offer, and of course, the expertise that we all bring to our customer interactions every day.