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Africa Outlook

Castrol
SA

CASTROL SA

Liquid Engineering

As a world leader in oil and lubricant manufacturing, Castrol are moving with the times when it comes to designing an oil fit for the modern consumer


Writer Emily Jarvis

Project Manager Ben Weaver 


Here’s a thought. When you are driving your car to work every day you don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about the engine lubricant. Although it is an essential component in your engine, it receives no more attention than the margarine in a sandwich. Castrol knows that for an engine to work to the absolute best of its potential you need oil that has been developed alongside the engine itself; which is exactly what the company has been doing for over a century.

There can be no doubt that Castrol is the world leading manufacturer, distributor and marketer of premium lubricating oils, greases and related services to the automotive, industrial, marine, aviation, oil exploration and production industries around the world. The company is headquartered in the UK and operates in over 40 countries, employing approximately 7,000 staff worldwide. In nearly 100 other markets, the company are represented by third party distributors who market and sell their products locally. Further, the Castrol delivery network extends throughout 140 countries, covering 800 ports, and the company has partnered with over 2000 distributors and agents globally.

Put simply, nothing comes close to matching this internationally renowned business in terms of specialisation or longevity.


Top of the Line Products

Castrol offers lubricants for virtually all domestic, commercial and industrial applications. For automotive lubrication (including motorcycles 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, car petrol and diesel engines), their products include an extensive range of manual and automatic transmission fluids, chain lubricants and waxes, coolants, suspension fluids, brake fluids, greases, cleaners and maintenance products. Additionally, their product range extends to include those suitable for agricultural machinery, plant, general industry and marine engineering uses. “All our products have a global chemical registration status and meet compliance in all locations where the product is used.”

As a premium brand and market leader, Castrol products are priced competitively. “We’re slightly more expensive than most products on the market, but what most people don’t know is that we invest that money right back into our research and development. Going forward, we continue to make breakthroughs in R&D, just as we have continued to do so consistently for the last 100 years.  Consequently, our products have often been used at the forefront of historical achievements such as land speed records.”

Castrol is the company it is today because of the close partnerships built with customers over the years; developing products to specifically meet the needs of the customer. “What sets us apart is that we work very closely with our partner companies. We’ve got a long history with firms such as BMW and Volkswagen and we’ve worked with them developing technology to suit their purposes. In terms of our depth of partnerships we are second to none. There are more cars on the road in Africa that are born with Castrol oil in the engine than any other oil. So we have a great relationship with manufacturers, they’re developing their technology with us, from basic cars to supercars such as Lamborghini.”


Changing Attitudes Among the Markets

It must be said of course, that you don’t reach these levels of recognition and success without having to overcome some pretty big challenges along the way. Everything that Castrol manufacture and all processes involved along the way are done with the very highest safety standards in mind. When Castrol supply lubricant to a customer or supplier, they have a stringent checklist designed to help customers become more aware of safety issues.

Moreover, Castrol understand that lubricant is, in essence, a form of oil and the company recognise the impact this can have on the environment. As a result, high standards are in place across the board which educate staff on protecting the environment and striving for greener operations.

Along with ensuring their operations are as green as possible, Castrol is seeing other changing attitudes among the markets it traditionally sells to. “There is a strong move towards synthetic products and synthetic oils, which is where our strengths are. Many manufacturers are demanding more sophisticated lubricants and oils, which plays more and more to our advantage. We are getting a really good performance out of our products; there are growth opportunities out there that we are looking closely at.” Accompanying this positive outlook is the rise of the emerging middle class in Africa, which is further strengthening the market for Castrol products and services.


Flexible Recruiting Techniques

To take the best possible advantage of these growth opportunities, Castrol makes a concerted effort to employ South Africa’s best and brightest. As such, the company is flexible in terms of how they recruit. “We will use different techniques depending on the position we have to fill. We have a solid graduate recruitment programme as well as a direct entry system where we recruit the right person for the right job from other industries. We also have a strong BBBEE push to find the best black talent out there, and we consider ourselves as being at the forefront of empowering Africans.”

Castrol’s recruitment efforts also benefit from the company’s links with its parent company, BP. “We share a lot of resources with BP, so we enjoy a combination of the cultures of Castrol and BP so that we get a nice diversity within the company. Additionally, we have programmes to identify high potential talent for accelerated development. Our development programme is excellent because of the breadth of BP we offer great sales, marketing and finance expertise that can give employees great exposure to all kinds of skills and disciplines.”

As well as recruiting the best available staff from a wide array of backgrounds, Castrol also takes measures to ensure that each and every member of its staff is up to date with the latest breakthroughs in the field. “We are at the forefront of pioneering technology with our 13 R&D centres globally, where we develop and test hundreds of new products every year. We work closely with leading industry OEMs, with whom we supply a broad range of lubricants designed for particular operating conditions and environments.” With the market demanding much more for much less, engines getting smaller and smaller; all coupled with the desire to conserve fuel whilst still gaining power from the engine, the demand for an oil that can keep up with these changes is huge. Therefore, it is vital that Castrol staff are trained in the latest R&D technologies and products coming off the manufacturing line.

Meanwhile, Castrol continue to work very closely with customers. Through the company’s many partnerships and R&D into the latest industry developments, Castrol are seeing a positive future with plenty of growth opportunities, which the company is confident it will reap the rewards from for another century.