To find the right lubricant supplier who can answer your operational needs, consider asking these critical questions.
1) Do your lubricants comply with all regulations?
When one incident can stop production altogether and impact an entire business, claims are not enough. Your supplier should not only stay up to date with regulatory and legislative requirements, they should also be able to provide copies of certifications and standards compliance documentation for all lubricants. At that point, you can review how the lubricants will work within your own food safety management system, including HACCP and GMP programs.
Beyond the lubricant itself, ask about ISO 21469 certification and whether supply chain monitoring of food grade lubricants blending and packaging is in place for consistent supply.
2) Are you creating innovative products that keep up with my business needs?
The food grade lubricant industry does not stand still. Operations need lubricants that will not only help the production lines moving, but keep them advancing towards meeting and exceeding their efficiency and productivity goals. There are always new developments to improve equipment performance and/or your bottom line and leading lubricant suppliers should be at the forefront of this charge.
Take, for example, new mineral oil lubricants that perform like synthetic oils – a strategic solution for managers who are looking for ways to increase plant productivity, help reduce downtime and streamline inventory to help save time and money.
3) Can we collaborate to find cost-savings insights?
An ideal supplier provides more than lubricants; they also have the experience and technical expertise to suggest ways to improve performance in your facility.Your in-house experts should be able to draw from your supplier’s knowledge to bolster your strategies for cost savings. Also look for value-added services, such as education and training support with optimum product recommendations and consolidation scenarios and assistance with oil monitoring programs. The right supplier will see the reciprocal value in a collaborative approach.
4) Can you deliver tangible proof performance to show how a change will impact my bottom line?
Whether it’s test results, product benefit claims or case studies, you need a solid business case to support a supplier change.Data should include:
- details around efficiencies gained
- increased productivity (and reduced downtime)
- money saved and
- improvements relevant to your key performance indicators
5) How does your product line help me consolidate my inventory?
Some food and beverage processors carry upwards of 60 lubricant SKUs (stock keeping units). When food-grade lubricants can perform in multiple applications, it represents a significant benefit to your business.
Not only does supplier consolidation and SKU reduction save money in overall product costs, shipping and inventory management, it also minimizes the risk of cross-contamination and failure caused by misapplication of lubricants.
6) What is your global distribution strength?
If you’re a business who manufactures products globally, you need to ensure your supplier is able to support your operation with the right oils and greases, when you need them, where you need them and with the proper credentials.
The best lubricants in the world can’t help you if you don’t receive them. To keep your operations running and equipment well protected, your supplier needs fully integrated distribution channels for consistent supply.