Apples to apples and apples to oranges. All too often we see fellow lubricants suppliers inaccurately or unfairly cross reference products for a quote, but what should a proper quote consist of? What are the top questions you should be asking your oil vendor to make sure you are getting the best oil to suit your needs?
Here are the top questions to ask your lubricants provider when soliciting pricing:
- Why did you choose these products to quote?
- What is your house-brand product and does it maintain any OEM approvals (if applicable)?
- Do your products meet the OEM specifications that my equipment requires (if applicable)?
- Are the products you've offered an exact cross from my current products to the best of your abilities (provided I was using the correct products to begin with)?
- Can you provide technical data sheets (TDS) for both my existing products and your product offering to showcase the differences and similarities?
This is all very dependent upon the end user's goals and needs. The truly proper way to provide an accurate quote would be to review a fleet list of all the end user's equipment (year, make, model, engine OEM, transmission OEM, etc). The lubricants advisor can review the list with OEM specialists and find the individual specifications that each product line must meet. This is especially important if pieces of equipment are still under warranty. Products that are approved for necessary specifications can be added line by line for each component of the equipment and consolidated where able. This is the ideal process for creating a lubricant offering however, in many instances, company fleet lists may be considered confidential and maintenance managers are not permitted to share the information with vendors. In this scenario, the lubricants supplier must assume that all of the products you are currently using are accurate and approved for your equipment, and they will cross reference the products over to the brands that they carry.
Most lubricants suppliers are aligned with one or two major brands (Shell, Chevron, Citgo, ConocoPhillips, Mobil, etc) and a "house brand", which would be a private brand they label as their own or blend themselves in-house. This is where we tend to see competing suppliers take advantage of the end user. Where the end user may be using a branded product, a supplier will quote a house brand product to replace it, which is usually significantly less in price than a branded product. Now to the uninformed end user, it appears their existing supplier has been taking advantage of them.
Most importantly, the lubricants provider should be a true partner to the end user, looking out for the best interest of their goals, needs, operating costs, and machinery.
If you have any additional questions for your RILCO sales representative please reach out and let us know here.