Manufacturing companies are underestimating the potential cost savings and equipment productivity gains from effective lubrication, according to a study by Shell Lubricants*. Many businesses do not realise that some of the critical factors influencing productivity and profitability, including equipment reliability and downtime, can be significantly influenced by lubrication processes. For the industry in Germany alone, getting this right could mean potential savings in excess of £1.5bn.
Companies estimate that 92 per cent of their unplanned equipment shutdowns in the last three years were due to their incorrect selection or management of lubricants. This is having a financial impact, at a time when manufacturers are focused on competing for new growth by increasing productivity. 19 per cent estimate incurring costs of over £200,000 as a result of these shutdowns.
Yin Jie, Shell Global Sector Manager for General Manufacturing, comments: "The impact of lubrication on productivity and maintenance costs is often underestimated. At Shell Lubricants, we work together with customers to identify opportunities to help enhance equipment productivity and reduce operating costs by properly looking after the lubrication needs of their machinery. This is not just about selecting the right lubricants, but ensuring they are properly applied and managed. In doing so, we have delivered £105million in savings to customers worldwide over the last five years."
The international study of manufacturing companies across Europe commissioned by Shell Lubricants reveals a lack of understanding about how effective lubrication can impact equipment productivity and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Over half (57 per cent) of manufacturing companies surveyed admit they are unclear about how lubrication management can influence unplanned down time, and 53 per cent do not expect lubrication to help lower maintenance costs.
With a gap in staff expertise on lubrication, and only 27 per cent of businesses benefiting from regular visits from their lubricant supplier's technical staff, most are not well equipped to take action. 70 per cent think they do not conduct staff training on lubricants as regularly as they should.
Yin Jie adds: "It was surprising to see that only 43 per cent of companies believe product performance should be an important consideration when purchasing lubricants. A high-quality lubricant that keeps equipment clean of deposits and effectively protects against wear can help extend equipment life and reduce frequency of breakdowns. This could help manufacturing companies significantly decrease spend on spare parts and maintenance."
Shell Lubricants has published a white paper, Lubrication and Total Cost of Ownership, to address some of these issues and show the tangible business benefits that can be achieved through correct selection and management of lubricants. To learn more, see an infographic and to obtain a copy of the white paper, go to www.shell.com/lubricants.
* This study into lubrication procedures in the manufacturing industry was commissioned by Shell Lubricants and conducted by research firm Edelman Intelligence. It polled 176 manufacturing industry staff who purchase, influence the purchase or use lubricants/greases as part of their job in Germany, Russia and the UK from November to December 2015.