Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Ben Weaver
Castrol South Africa (SA) continues to leverage a brand name which stands head and shoulders above the majority of the global market competition, as its adherence to operational excellence and partnerships with some of the most renowned organisations drives the Company forward.
As a world-leading manufacturer, distributor and marketer of premium lubricating oils, greases and related services to the automotive, industrial, marine, aviation, exploration and production sectors, Castrol’s influence and recognition stretches far beyond the bounds of its UK headquarters with a presence in more than 40 countries as of 2016.
Employing more than 7,000 people in the process, and also supported by a series of third party distributors ensuring that its products breach every corner of the globe, Castrol is one of a select few Groups who can truly claim to enjoy worldwide success.
This is not to say that it adopts a one-size-fits-all approach, however, with the Company quickly realising that a commitment to local regulations and trends would be pivotal to its longevity.
While these trends often catch up on an international scale in time, the ability to strike while the iron is hot, especially in the emerging market of Africa, is key, and Castrol is currently honing two vital areas in its South African operations to that end.
Health and safety is clearly a key performance indicator in most manufacturing operations but in South Africa, there is still room for improvement, and Castrol continues to lead the way in introducing innovative approaches for the safety of its employees.
On a more all-encompassing, external level, the same dedication is being targeted towards its eco efficiencies, as the Company explains: “Castrol understands that a lubricant is, in essence, a form of oil and the Company recognises 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.
“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.”
Enhancing its portfolio of products and services in line with the latest consumer and industry trends is an attribute which Castrol has mastered over the years, and one which is facilitated by the sheer size of the wider international Group and its role as part of BP.
Offering lubricants for all domestic, commercial and industrial applications, all of Castrol’s products come with a global chemical registration status, ensuring that they meet compliance in all individual locations distributed to.
The size of this portfolio means that there is an unparalleled flexibility in the final customised solution that can be offered to customers, sharing knowledge across its sector arms to also suit the conditions of each environment sold into.
“Our global business operations provide worldwide assurance, improved productivity, improved environmental products and trusted advice focused on optimising our customers’ production processes,” Castrol SA affirms.
Adding to the value proposition even further is the competitive pricing, deriving from the fact that the Company is a firmly established partner of choice for a host of elite manufacturers.
The Company continues: “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 (R&D).
“Going forward, we continue to make breakthroughs in R&D, just as we have continued to do so consistently for the past 100 years. Consequently, our products have often been used at the forefront of historical achievements such as land speed records.”
Much more for much less
This R&D and subsequent involvement with some of the most exciting brands and events in manufacturing history is arguably what stands Castrol out from the crowd most, driven by 13 R&D centres around the world where hundreds of new, pioneering products are tested each year.
Working closely with the likes of Audi, Ford, Honda, JLR, Volvo, Seat, Tata and Volkswagen in the automotive domain alone, Castrol openly attributes its success to the partnerships built with such heavyweight OEMs over the years.
“What sets us apart is that we work very closely with our partner companies,” Castrol says. “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.”
These technologies are applied to vehicles from basic cars to Lamborghini supercars and have consequently become a yardstick of how the country, in general, is progressing from a manufacturing standpoint.
This is also true in regards to Castrol SA’s employment strategy, with the Company’s influence in South Africa having had a massively positive effect on the development of young artisans in the industry.
“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 B-BBEEE push to find the best black talent out there, and we consider ourselves as being at the forefront of empowering Africans,” Castrol emphasises. “Additionally, our development programme is excellent and the breadth of BP means we can offer great sales, marketing and finance expertise that can give employees great exposure to all kinds of skills and disciplines.
“With the market demanding much more for much less, engines getting smaller and smaller, and 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.”