Product knowledge key to symbiotic relationship

Oil is the lifeblood of plant and machinery in the water and wastewater industries. Gulf Western Oil (GWO) has a small range of oils for this industry, which are invaluable if things go wrong especially when it comes to the environment. GWO’s national key account manager, Christopher Bright, explains.

“Oils in this industry need to be biodegradable so you lessen the contamination in your wastewater, or equipment that is being used for wastewater applications,” he said. “You want something that has the ability to be biodegradable so you don’t end up with contaminant out in the ocean.”

“Unfortunately, a lot of these machines work under high loads and pressures. It only takes a hose blowing out and all of a sudden you have 100 or 200 litres of oil flying out of the system. That’s why it is advisable to use biodegradable products inside these machines so if that ever does happen, it’s just a way to eliminate contamination.”

“As you can imagine, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) tend to be very mindful of the plant and machinery using the right oils.”

The availability of these oils is thanks to GWO’s distributor CBC. And one of CBC’s points of difference over other distributors is its staff’s product knowledge, which is especially important in an industry involving water and wastewater. This intimate knowledge of the product can be attributed to the regular training sessions GWO undertake with the CBC team throughout the year.

“CBC has a long history of dealing with the water and wastewater markets,” said Steve Keown, national product manager for Inenco Industrial Solutions’ CBC.

Keown said staff are also versed at being able to identify which lubricant goes with a piece of machinery, which ensures that they’re going to be replenished or replaced with the correct lubricant. Bright agrees.

“Their product knowledge of our lubricants is really good,” he said. “We work very closely training them – we do four or five sessions a year on training. They are very good partners and obviously if the customer comes to them asking something about one of our products, they can easily find the information.”

Keown is quick to point out that the Gulf Western Oil range that CBC stocks is popular not only due to the quality of the product, but its origin too.

“Customers like products that are blended in Australia, by an Australian-owned company, which is what the GWO products are,” said Keown. “Those sorts of customers tie in well with the GWO brand. They don’t want to sacrifice on quality, so it’s not like they’re purchasing a product that doesn’t have the appropriate accreditation.”

A key consideration for any distributor is the ability to make sure product is readily available for customers. In other words, the supply chain has to be up to scratch. “This is not a problem for CBC,” said Keown, and Bright supports this claim.

“We have branches available nationally, covering all states and territories,” said Keown. “Whether it be metro or regional area, you can be assured there is a branch nearby. There are not many companies that have a national footprint like we do. I’m not aware of another national Gulf Western Oil distributor that has our national footprint.”

“In most cases, the product is immediately in branch, ready to ship. If it is something that is not stocked locally, it might have to be ordered overnight. But for most oil applications, it’s there ready to go.”

“From a supply chain point of view, they are fantastic,” said Bright. “They are one of the easiest to deal with from a simplicity point of view. We can send them the data about the new product and it is uploaded online straight away. The store can do it internally if they want, or it can go through the supply chain via their distribution centres. Either way, the lead time is within a day.”

Finally, from a supplier’s point of view, GWO said that any issue that occurs during any given week is sorted out quickly and efficiently because of the close relationship key people within each organisation have with each other.

“One of the things I find really beneficial is having somebody like Steve Keown who I can go to whenever there is an issue,” said Bright. “He comes to me, too. If there is anything that needs addressing – from a pricing discrepancy invoice, or a product requirement needing to be loaded into the system, or a general enquiry coming through our hotline – I’ve got direct access to him and vice versa.”

“In some other businesses, what tends to happen is, one person will be in charge of part of the business, then you get pushed to another department that looks after another aspect of the business. Eventually you end up losing that one-on-one association that we get with CBC. There is more bureaucracy around other places, whereas with these guys, I know who my key contact is, and they know theirs.”

Keown knows the strengths of CBC when it comes to industrial gear oils and how this can be attributed to the solid partnership with GWO.

“We have a strong network, a strong product and a strong tie with the supplier over the footprint and we have stock ready to move,” said Keown.

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