Transport operators are under pressure to achieve higher standards of reliability, safety and emissions compliance, whilst at the same time minimising total operating costs to stay competitive. With fuel costs amounting to as much as 39% of total fleet operating costs, a lubricant that helps deliver even a small increase in efficiency has the potential to greatly impact the total cost of ownership (TCO).
However, the reality is that when looking to make savings, lubricants are often one of the first areas where transport operators seek to cut costs. While buying cheaper oils and greases may achieve cost savings in the short term, the detrimental effect on equipment can prove more expensive over time. The best value is found in choosing competitively priced, high-quality lubricants that deliver excellent equipment protection and, in doing so, can help deliver cost savings.
Understanding the potential
A survey carried out by Shell Lubricants revealed that while fleet businesses recognise that effective lubrication represents a significant financial opportunity, there is a lack of understanding about how lubrication can impact the TCO of their vehicles. In fact, only 37% of respondents thought unplanned downtime can be influenced by lubricant management and only half of fleet managers said they considered lubricant product performance an important purchase consideration.
Selecting lubrication products based on TCO rather than price delivers an opportunity to reduce operating costs but few fleet operators currently appreciate just how much it can reduce overall costs. The survey highlighted a lack of understanding around how lubricants can provide real savings back to fleet businesses’ bottom line. Perhaps one of the most fundamental findings was that almost half of businesses fail to realise that different brands of lubricant can offer different levels of performance. When it comes to lubricant choice, quality definitely counts.
Taking advantage of the cost-saving opportunities depends on addressing two elements, selecting the right lubricant product and managing lubricants effectively. This can help maximise oil drain intervals (ODIs), resulting in lower lubricant costs and helping keep vehicles on the road for longer between services, and thereby helping drive profit for their business. The study also showed that only 33% of fleet companies have all the recommended procedures in place to manage lubricants effectively. Even the best product cannot perform effectively if it is not properly applied and managed which is why Certas Energy’s team of dedicated technical team work closely with Shell to provide customers with expert advice on lubricant selection and management along with access to services including Shell LubeMatch and Shell LubeAnalyst.
From heavy duty diesel engines to transmissions, axles and wheel bearings, every component of a truck or bus made by different original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) has its specific lubrication requirements. OEMs define the minimum requirements for lubricants or greases, but not all products that meet these standards deliver the same level of performance. To ensure that a lubricant or grease delivers consistent performance in the field while meeting OEM requirements, Shell Lubricants conducts controlled laboratory and engine tests, plus countless hours of field testing on all products during the development process.
Quality through partnership
Commercial vehicle fleets are high maintenance and keeping operations running smoothly is beyond the remit of a standard supplier. By choosing a lubricant supplier that combines technical know-how with high levels of service, fleet operators can be more confident in engine productivity and performance.
Certas Energy is the largest approved distributor of Shell Lubricants in the UK, bringing together the technical, product and customer service capabilities the transport sector needs to keep moving and keep costs down. In a move that allows each company to play to its strengths, customers can benefit from access to a quality, market-leading product portfolio and end-to-end service that includes the widest possible coverage and swift and reliable packed, bulk and even same or next day deliveries.
Shell Lubricants brings world-class technological insights to its products and services, which are designed to help maximise equipment efficiency, prolong vehicle life and reduce downtime to deliver substantial customer savings. For example, the new CK4 Engine Oils from Shell Lubricants represent the latest innovations in engine oil offering improved oxidation resistance, shear stability and aeration control to meet the new standards replacing the current CJ-4 heavy duty oils.
Ultimately, optimising lubrication can have a significant impact on component life, maintenance costs, and unplanned downtime, so it can contribute to cost savings far higher than the price of the lubricant itself. By keeping one step ahead, Shell and Certas Energy can offer customers a service that is cost-competitive but, most importantly, ‘total cost of ownership’ aware, helping fleet operators unlock the financial opportunities that effective lubrication can provide.
To find out more, please contact Certas Energy Lubricants on 0345 266 6055 / CE.Lubes@certasenergy.co.uk
 This survey, commissioned by Shell Lubricants and conducted by independent research firm Edelman Intelligence, polled 395 decision makers in the Fleet sector in 8 countries (Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Russia, UK, US) from November to December 2015. The full details can be found in the report, ‘Powering efficient fleets: How lubricants can help achieve the lowest cost per kilometre’.