Интервью для журнала «RBG»
High-quality motor oils are the key to long-term operation of the car. If they are manufactured by a domestic manufacturer in Russia, it gives a ground for pride. This is exactly about the products of Grace Lubricants, whose production is located in the Moscow region. A wide range of products for automobiles includes not only motor oils for cars and trucks, but also coolants and transmission oils for manual gearboxes, automatic transmissions, semi-automatic transmissions and variators. The company’s activities are not limited to this. It also provides contract manufacturing services and supplies lubricants of its own production (hydraulic, compressor, gear, turbine and marine oils) to industrial enterprises. We have talked about the work and success of the company with its general director Vyacheslav Yurievich Kharitonov.
– Vyacheslav Yuryevich, a group of companies under the GRACE brand was founded in 2013, 6 years have passed since the launch of the production. Has the engine oil market changed dramatically during this time? How did these changes affect the work of the company?
– More different brands have appeared during this time, the competition intensified, but the company does not experience problems because of this, the volume of its products has not decreased. Due to the fact that import substitution has begun to work, though not in all regions, our products successfully compete with analogues produced by the largest foreign companies.
– You are engaged in the production of premium technical oils and fluids for auto and motor vehicles. What is the GRACE product line? How was it formed?
– Our range of motor oils is very wide and meets the requirements of almost all consumers, from the latest models of cars and trucks to retro cars made before 1970. Recently we have launched a line for old car models. It is not designed for massive commercial success, since there are few such cars, but we want to show consumers of our products that we take into account their interests and hobbies.
We have formed product lines based on market research and the needs of automobilists. Thus we have found out that not only the cheapest widely used oils are in demand, but also the more expensive ones designed for modern cars that have recently appeared on the market. In order to ensure these requests in time, we keep step with the most advanced manufacturers. As soon as foreign colleagues have something new, we introduce similar products which meet all the requirements of manufacturers of machinery and equipment. Production is carried out according to the unique Technology of cavitation mixing (TCM), which allows mixing oil components at a qualitatively higher level at low energy consumption and without heating the components. We developed this technology by ourselves.
– What is R&D work of the GRACE group of companies divisions? What is your strategy of the technology development of the company?
– We, as I have already said, monitor the oil market in Russia and abroad, and introduce new products of our own. To do this, we carry out development, basing on our colleagues’ materials, conduct physicochemical testing and make products that even exceed market requirements. High speed of product introduction is provided by the flexibility and produce-ability of the production, and allows us to be one step ahead of our colleagues. Following laboratory research of a new product field trials with our partners who plan to use this product take place.
– What, in your opinion, are the key competitive advantages of your products? Who do you consider to be your main competitors in Russia?
– We have no competitors as such, we have colleagues who produce similar in quality and price products. We prefer to work closely with them and to adopt their experience. We are talking about competitors when it comes to counterfeit manufacturers. What they sell under the guise of good oils is not as such, but people are allured by low prices. Taking into account that, there is about 80% of counterfeit oils in our market, this is a big problem. It is a relevant problem, and law enforcement agencies are involved in its decision. The most difficult thing for us here is that counterfeit is several times cheaper than real products. And the buyer, who sees on the shelf a “fake” canister with the label of a famous brand, usually willingly takes it, not knowing how much the real product costs.
Our advantage is that we produce oils that have equal or sometimes better quality to those produced by the five best oil producers in the world. And, as I’ve said, unlike large companies, we adopt new products very quickly.
Moreover, the feedback from consumer organizations, which are, in fact, our main customers, is very important to us. We do not just supply them with our products, together we work on the products improvement, we customize oils for them. In world practice, such joint product development is carried out, for example, by the flagship among turbine manufacturers Siemens and the leader in the production of fuels and lubricants Shell.
If another supplier cannot or does not want to change anything in his product, or the product simply no longer in compliance with the needs of the customer, this supplier applies to us. We study its terms of reference, investigate which product was used, what parameters the supplier wants to change, and fulfill his wishes. We take into account weather conditions, operating conditions, engine operation features and a number of other important points. And we work quickly – the next day we produce oil with the necessary characteristics if we have all the required components on stock.
To do this, we have a well-equipped laboratory that can track or measure all parameters. If it is not enough, we have contracts with a number of other laboratories, including those abroad, in Europe and Canada.
– Please tell us about the marketing strategy of your products.
– Sales of automotive lubricants are established through regional distributors. It should be noted that retail is not a priority for us, the main thing, after all, is work with large industrial and automobile enterprises.
In addition, as part of the contract manufacturing, we provide blending services for companies, including foreign ones, that want to produce or already produce oils under their own brand, but do not have localized enterprises in Russia. This type of production occupies more than 30 percent of the total production. And foreign companies that are looking for sales markets in Russia are willing to work with us, as our technology allows them to significantly reduce production costs without any loss of quality. We produce a product for them strictly according to the recipe that they give, and the terms for testing and preparing contracts, as I have already mentioned, are quite short.
We have cooperation experience with the leaders of our segment; several new projects in cooperation with flagships of the industry will be launched in September.
Our production uses high-tech equipment based on advanced technological principles for the oil production. This method can be called “bipolar technology” because double technology is used as a result of which takes place not only the mixing of the ingredients (base oils and additives, synthesized at the molecular level, which serve to improve the uniformity of the mixture) , but also on the outlet the product receives a positive charge, thereby improving adhesion, it means that the oil is attracted to rubbing surfaces, thus creating a more durable oil foil.To achieve this effect, many world leaders in this industry use additional additives.