Sponsored: PLI and Scotts Fuels case study

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July 20, 2021

With over 65 years’ experience in the oil industry, Scotts Fuels & Lubricants is a family-owned company offering customers in all market sectors throughout UK and Ireland a full portfolio of premium lubricants, greases, AdBlue and technical support at competitive prices so that customers can source all their requirements from one trusted source committed to quality and exacting standards.

Scotts Fuels & Lubricants delivers domestic, agricultural, marine and commercial deliveries of up to 35,000 litres from a company owned fleet of modern vehicles, and its lubricants business is one of the largest in Ireland supplying lubricants throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The Challenge

With over 65 years of steady growth and a strong offering in the domestic, agricultural , marine, industrial & quarrying markets, Scotts management team identified several new major business opportunities and realising the complexities of new specifications and emerging market trends, saw the importance of employing staff who understood the lubricants and fuel business - some who had worked for and been trained by some of the world’s largest oil companies. This resulted in having specialists in their field who could impart knowledge and provide technical back up with a problem solving attitude, instilling confidence with customers who are often reluctant to change without clearly defined benefits.  Backed by one of the worlds most recognised and respected brands for passenger car, commercial, industrial, plant and Agri lubricants, the relationship with PETRONAS Lubricants International has grown exponentially.

To be able to achieve such growth and meet ambitious targets, Scotts needed a supplier who understood how they worked and shared a similar vision and commitment to great customer service, which is not always the case with larger integrated oil companies who traditionally sell directly to end users or any number of stockists in the same geographical location. This only leads to mistrust and confusion with routes to market.

The solution
At the beginning of 2017, PETRONAS Lubricants International (PLI) formed a partnership with Scotts and has now become their number one supplier. Over the four years they have been working together, PLI has assisted Scotts with their expansion into the commercial vehicle market more broadly, and the industrial market specifically in Scotland.

This growth has been achieved through PLI investing in product lines that are distributor focused. PETRONAS may be one of the biggest global oil and lubricants brands, but the team of 20 UK-based employees means it has a local, people-first approach to business. PLI can react much quicker and be much more agile than larger brands, but still have the resources of a huge corporation behind it. This unique combination of maintaining a personalised approach while having the support of a larger team behind it means PLI can easily pivot the production of resources to best suit its distributors.

Their flexible approach to working with partners means PLI was able to put Scotts first and fill most of the gaps that were present in its existing offering. For example, when Scotts didn’t stock the lubricants necessary to supply a large OEM branded customer who required a global brand to ensure only the best lubricants are being used and had the necessary OEM approval PLI fast tracked its production, resulting in Scotts being able to gain bulk and packaged supply on time with a new Urania branded engine oil with additional supply of Tutela “hidden heroes” transmission and gear fluids.

The results
Since 2020 Scotts volumes of PLI branded oils have grown substantially and this growth has largely been a result of the expanding product portfolio PLI has to offer. Over the last couple of years PLI has put an increased focus on providing products that are distributor focused, an offering that has benefitted Scotts as it has enabled them to secure new contracts in new and existing markets with annual growth approaching 100% per annum.

The strength of their partnership has also enabled Scotts to grow outside their traditional NI and ROI markets into Scotland, where it is now PLIs sole Scottish distributor. It is in this market that both organisations are looking to expand into more industrial products, however, to be successful, a strong reputation for their industrial products is required. Unlike commercial vehicle lubricants where manufacturer specs can be labelled on the products, the success of industrial products is dependent on recommendations. Without a history of sales in the oil and gas industry, third parties will not risk damaging hugely expensive machinery for a marginal price difference. This means that when it comes to industrial products, quality and reputation comes before all else – these are attributes both Scotts and PLI can provide in their partnership.

Looking forward
Scotts has not yet achieved the market growth in England that it has throughout the Republic of Ireland and more recently in Scotland. PLI is hoping to strengthen its partnership with Scotts, specifically in relation to its industrial range, in order to continue to expand. Scotts have good stock levels & a fast & efficient delivery system to ensure you get your products when you need them.

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