Riviera’s webinar, sponsored by Castrol, explored the ways in which digitalisation offers greater transparency and efficiency from procurement through to engine performance
The webinar panel included Bulugo partnerships director Grant Norton, ExxonMobil aviation & marine offer advisor Joseph Star, and Drew Marine senior director – marine lubricants & specialty chemicals/innovation, John Kalafatides.
Mr Norton offered the view that the marine sector should automate low-value tasks and concentrate on high-value tasks. In the realm of lubricants, he suggested automation of marine lubricant procurement. In his presentation, Mr Norton traced the timeline of the general online procurement world, from being virtually non-existent in 2000 to the widespread proliferation of digital procurement options today, noting that it is a change that has, so far, not been fully integrated in the marine lubricants sector.
The message, Mr Norton said, was meant to encourage interactions between suppliers and customers and let the operational details be executed with technology – acting to assist completion of lubricant deals, rather than an additional hurdle.
In a poll during the webinar, 50% agreed they used a form of electronic ordering in the purchasing department while 30% remained unaware of the systems used and 20% said they had no electronic ordering system.
Of those who did use a procurement system, half used an in-house system and half used a third-party platform to support marine lubricant procurement.
Mr Star’s message to the industry was to take a holistic approach to managing lubricants on board vessels. He noted that in the post-IMO 2020 world, he has seen examples of sub-optimal use of lubricants and an increase in consumption. He said it was true that no two ships are alike – even sister ships on the same trades exhibit different rates of consumption – the nuances are small but the impact is large.
In an ideal world, the marine sector should have a “power by the hour” KPI as used in the jet aviation sector, he said. That is a long way from obtainable, but, he said, operators “should find your cost baseline,” and work towards full visibility. This requires knowing your supplier, he said.
“Scrutinise their credentials" to try to determine the answer to the question, "can they provide the answers?” he advised.
Mr Kalafatides noted that Drew Marine has been in the marine sector for more than 100 years. The company, he said, added its range of environmentally acceptable lubricants in 2015 to its new range of speciality marine greases. He emphised the requirement for lubricants to know their suppliers, noting the importance of relationships and collaboration between suppliers and clients in his presentation.
"Who will you go to if there is a problem or misake in the order?," he asked.
Mr Kalafatides, who has decades of experience in the business, said, "I can tell you a litany of issues regarding wrong orders and wrong products, and it is important to have a supplier or suppliers that add value. It is important for both sides to gain from that added value," he said.
Similarly, during the Q&A, the panel were asked what three questions a prospective client should ask a potential supplier of marine lubricants. The consensus from the panellists’ was that the first two questions a client should ask can be answered by looking at the range and quality of products available from the potential supplier. If these meet the client’s needs, the third question to ask is: where and how does the supplier add value for the client? If all three questions can be answered positively, there is a basis to take the relationship to the next level, they said, underscoring Mr Kalafatides’ point.
You can watch other webinars dedicated to marine lubricants, along with Riviera Maritime Media’s full series of webinars in our webinar library.
And you can sign up to attend our upcoming webinars on our events page.
Panellists left to right: Bulugo partnerships director Grant Norton, Drew Marine senior director – marine lubricants & specialty chemicals/ innovation, John Kalafatides and ExxonMobil aviation & marine offer advisor Joseph Star.