LUKOIL Lubricants Europe, the European subsidiary of the Russian lubricant market leader, is using the TecDoc Catalogue and the B2B platform Order Manager to expand its market position in the European aftermarket. The lubricant expert remains true to its motto “Always moving forward” so that its business runs smoothly.
LUKOIL was founded in 2000 and has since developed into one of the largest Russian oil companies. Unlike most of the other big Russian players in the lubricant business, the company is privately owned and listed on the London Stock Exchange. LUKOIL is the market leader in Russia with 1.2 million tons of lubricant produced per year and about 700 different products. The complete value chain is covered, from the production of its own base oil to the worldwide sale of finished products. The subsidiary LUKOIL Lubricants Europe manages business development in Europe from the company headquarters in Vienna, Austria. There are currently three production plants in the EU – in Finland, Austria and Romania.
“All products that we sell under our own brands are included in the TecDoc Catalogue. This was very important for us to win new customers. When it comes to new acquisitions in the aftermarket, this is actually always an issue in discussions. If our products can’t be found in the TecDoc Catalogue, things simply won’t work in the long term”
Ulrich Ruckenbauer, Sales Director Europe, LUKOIL Lubricants Europe
TecAlliance jump-starts support in the IAM
While LUKOIL is among the top 10 worldwide in terms of sales volume in the OEM sector, the company is only beginning to develop the independent automotive aftermarket. In order to increase market penetration and presence alongside other strong lubricant brands, Ulrich Ruckenbauer, Sales Director Europe at LUKOIL Lubricants Europe, turned to TecAlliance in mid-2018.
“We are very well positioned in the OEM market worldwide, although our company is rather young. We are connected with almost all vehicle manufacturers in the passenger car and commercial vehicle sector and we are also strongly represented in the marine business. But in the IAM, the situation looked quite different two years ago,” explains Ulrich Ruckenbauer.
In the aftermarket, LUKOIL offers a comprehensive range of lubricants under the brands GENESIS and LUXE, which meet OEM standards and can be used in almost every vehicle for warranty-relevant requirements. Nevertheless, entering the market was a challenge for various reasons.
“We have made the experience that quality is not gladly paid for in the IAM. Quality awareness is not very pronounced in the lubricants sector. There are manufacturers who promise to meet OEM specifications. But there are actually great differences in quality so that not all lubricants really meet these requirements,” reports Ulrich Ruckenbauer. “In addition, the independent aftermarket was already occupied by different brands and there was little willingness among customers to change.”
Industry solutions open up new sales opportunities
For over 25 years, TecAlliance has been one of the world’s leading data specialists in the automotive aftermarket, supporting market participants with its range of market solutions. LUKOIL chose to work with TecAlliance to meet its growth objectives in this strategically important market.
“In the beginning we were so to speak ‘inexistent’ in the IAM – we were hardly noticed. The big players signalled to us that they would only consider working with us once we were ‘part of the market’. This meant: when our product range was linked in the TecDoc Catalogue and orders could be processed via the Order Manager platform,” explains Ulrich Ruckenbauer. “It was very helpful for us that we had a central contact person at TecAlliance who knew what was important in this market and who supported us in the implementation of our projects with a lot of market know-how.”
As a first step, the lubricant expert decided to integrate the product information of the approximately 700 articles in the TecDoc Catalogue, one of the world’s leading automotive replacement parts catalogues. In this way, LUKOIL increased the visibility and findability of its products at the point of sale, increased its reach and opened up new markets, which ultimately contributed to increased sales.
“All products that we sell under our own brands are included in the TecDoc Catalogue. This was very important for us to win new customers. When it comes to new acquisitions in the aftermarket, this is actually always an issue in discussions. If our products can’t be found in the TecDoc Catalogue, things simply won’t work in the long term,” says Ulrich Ruckenbauer.
Agility, progress and hunger for new things drive LUKOIL. The cooperation with TecAlliance is another piece of the puzzle where the company follows its motto “Always moving forward”. In order to offer its customers optimum service, LUKOIL decided to connect to the Order Manager platform as well.
Focus on the customer
More than 30,000 trade customers in the independent automotive aftermarket use the Order Manager worldwide to automatically check availability and prices, place orders and receive electronic shipping confirmations and invoices. Since autumn 2019, LUKOIL has also been connected to the platform, enabling its customers in the aftermarket to automate order processing.
“The orders we receive are usually very large. 60 to 70 percent of the orders involve one or more truckloads. That’s why the effort to process orders by e-mail wasn’t really a problem for us. But the situation is completely different with our customers in the aftermarket because they work with many different suppliers. They want to automate the ordering processes to a large extent and, if possible, use only one tool for communication with all their suppliers in order to simplify processes and save costs,” says Ulrich Ruckenbauer. He is convinced: “The connection to the Order Manager gives us a decisive competitive advantage.”
In addition to the Order module for electronic order processing, LUKOIL also uses the module e-Invoicing, thus significantly increasing efficiency. “For us, Order Manager actually makes little sense without electronic invoices. Now we use one tool for all processes from order to invoice. And with e-Invoicing we can be sure that our invoices reach the customer immediately and correctly,” says Ulrich Ruckenbauer. “We want to completely eliminate paper-based invoices in the future.”
Currently, LUKOIL is only using the solution in the DACH region, but an expansion into other countries is possible at any time without further technical or administrative effort. “The handling of orders and communicating with our partners via the Order Manager is running very smoothly. That’s why we are ready to use the platform in other European countries if our customers request it,” explains Ulrich Ruckenbauer.