Mexican Company That Breaks Paradigms

Interlub Group SA de CV

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Interlub Group is redefining the traditional lubricant industry, co-creating intelligent solutions to address the less common and most critical challenges in friction and wear on machinery in more than 35 countries around the world. Interlub Group offers tailor-made products which help companies to increase their competitiveness and productivity and to reduce the ecological impact. They provide very low-cost solutions for solving very big productivity problems.

The company is an example for thousands of Mexican SME companies. Over the years, they have shown that with a clear strategic approach, passion to create value for their customers and betting on scientific innovation, a difference can be made.

Interlub Group always seeks to generate a positive impact on the environment and improve the quality of life for people worldwide. In addition to making great contributions to the entrepreneurial and university ecosystems in Mexico, they consistently support the achievement of some SDGs such as: Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Sustainable Cities and Communities; and Responsible Consumption and Production.

Authors

Andrea Jiménez González

Andrea Jiménez González

Xavier José Esparza García

Xavier José Esparza García

Marco Uriel Gomez Uribe

Marco Uriel Gomez Uribe

Sandra Gudino

Sandra Gudino

School

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

Professor

Alejandro Rios

Alejandro Rios

Innovation

For Interlub Group, each client requires unique solutions. The company avoids generalizing the needs of its customers and offering off-the-shelf products. Instead, they assist the customers in the process of discovering new opportunities for high-impact improvements with their consulting methodology (SmartTouch). Once the need is detected, INTERLUB's Research and Development team develops a tailor-made tribological solution for the customer. "The goal is not only to minimize the ecological impact, but to reduce lubricant consumption (on average 30%). These goals are achieved by using a combination of synthetic and water-based, eco-friendly materials."

The significant contribution to the value chain of its customers has fostered long-term relationships with Interlub Group. This link is kept alive because over the years, Interlub's consultants continue assisting their clients (Owens Illinois, Ternium, Tenaris, Arcelormittal, Grupo México, CFE, Cemex, Continental, Crocs, FerroMex, Bimbo and Rotoplas, among others) to find new opportunities for improvement.

“Our innovative business model is a machine for new innovations and new product," said Daniel Pandza, director of innovation-culture.

The strategy of having a flexible business model to accompany their customers in the journey of improvement and co-create tailor-made solutions has contributed to solid growth over the past 10 years. Thanks to this business model, the company has managed to position itself as the leader in custom-designed lubricants for the most important Mexican and foreign industrial companies around the world. Interlub's customers not only save money because of the reduction in lubricant consumption, but also, they recover valuable hours in productivity and dramatically reduce their maintenance costs. “It's an exponential impact," Pandza added.

Mexican Company That Breaks Paradigms

Inspiration

Interlub's founder Peter Freudenberg and his team realized that traditional lubricant suppliers did not solve some of the most critical problems faced by a large company's maintenance teams such as minimizing the frequency and duration of machine shutdowns which strongly affect productivity indicators. Additionally, they realized that a machine could be exposed to operating conditions which are very different to the ones it was designed for, including geographical location, ambient temperature, hours and loads of use, etc. Also, maintenance personnel normally apply the same traditional lubricants, regardless of how poor the protection of the mechanical components are, because of the operation under those extreme conditions. These factors increase the maintenance costs in industrial plants up to 40% due to production downtime, replacement of mechanical parts and high consumption of lubricants, which ends up by having a negative environmental impact. "All these reasons were the basis for developing products along with a business model that could solve the customer's major pains in different industry sectors like mining, automotive, glass, food and steel, and at the same time reduce the environmental impact by using synthetic lubricants in the industrial activity."

Since the inception of Interlub Group in 1984, they have believed that "We as companies, as organizations, are responsible for the sustainable development of our planet. We have shown that we all can do something for the environment and or the world," Pandza explained.

Overall impact

Interlub has the potential to have an impact worldwide in the industrial lubricants market due to their innovative business model and their advanced scientific investigations. Their products are scalable and could reach customers in any country.

"Currently, most of the oil and grease lubricant products have a very limited capacity to reduce friction. They are non-biodegradable and are extremely harmful to the environment. Thanks to Interlub's vision focused on the client, the company is always looking for the market needs and has developed a variety of tools and techniques that can assist the consultants to make recommendations about the optimal solution that better fits the customer's requirements and are less harmful for the environment."

The evolution of Interlub's products help to have an effect in several fields:

1. Industry of Lubricants: Thanks to the good quality and efficiency provided by Interlub's products, manufacturers can have a reduction in their costs, increase their productivity and increase the durability of the machines.
2. Environment: Their eco-friendly lubricants and water-based release agents reduce the harmful impact on the environment and use renewable resources.
3. Economy: With the increase in productivity of the machinery, the companies improve the use of their resources and raise their profits.
4. People: One big objective of the company is to enhance the human talent by creating great working conditions and ensuring the professional growth of their employees. The company promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and no hierarchies, which foster the team spirit among their collaborators. Furthermore, by providing water-based release agents to the customers instead of solvent-based release agents, the workers from other companies who are in contact with Interlub's products are less exposed to harmful agents, which improves their working conditions.

Business benefit

Thanks to its innovative business model and products, Interlub has substituted the imports of specialized products in Mexico and has tripled its sales in the last 10 years. As a result, the company has positioned itself as the tailor-made lubricants leader for the most important industrial companies in Mexico and in the world. Sixty five percent of the billing is in USD/EUR because the company provides solutions for global customers. Interlub has 1,000 customers in Mexico and 1,500 in other countries through its distributors' network. Thanks to the agility of its technology platform, Interlub Group has developed more than 2,000 unique formulations for its customers.

Their clients have benefited from their solutions which have improved the functional operation of their machinery. It has been documented that the clients have saved at least 75 tons of lubricant annually with the use of Interlub's innovative products. The company has registered more than 70 success stories of satisfied customers (e.g. a customer in the steel industry is saving $800,000 monthly due to less production downtime and maintenance costs). On average, the customers reduce 30% of their lubricant consumption. In total, all 70 companies have saved around $50 million.

“We dare to challenge these big companies … and show them that we can challenge the status quo and we can make a positive impact," Pandza noted.

Interlub Group has designed a unique operating model that achieves to deliver their customized products on time and ensures the compliance of the quality, environmental, security and hygiene standards. This encourages Mexican manufacturing companies to substitute the petrochemical lubricants and look for this specialized technology made in Mexico.

The constant evolution of Interlub's technological capabilities guarantees great benefits for its customers as technical consultants advise them which tools and products are the best to have, to help the company face the challenges of wear that it constantly deals with.

“Our organization is an example for the entrepreneurs in developing countries today that they should not be afraid of asking old questions but finding new answers that can have a positive impact in the world,” he added.

Social and environmental benefit

"Most of the lubricating oils are mineral oil based, are non-biodegradable and are hard to dispose in an efficient and safe way. This has led Interlub to find a better solution that will reduce the use of these products and their accompanying pollution."

The collaboration with scientific researchers from different disciplines has permitted Interlub to develop new technology inspired in nature. They have found the way to create some ecological solutions from greases, oils and release agents with the objective of reducing the impact in the environment. For example, thanks to their technology, they have been able to reduce the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emitted into the atmosphere. These compounds are dangerous pollutants that dissolve in the air and their accumulation takes part in smog formation. This was a big concern for Interlub, so they created a product that has many attributes to avoid the dissolution in the air, which could harm the environment.

Interlub is constantly working on continuous creation of innovative solutions. Their research and development team has already begun to explore other scientific disciplines and collaborate with the most prestigious and recognized research centers in Mexico and the world.

“We want to inspire leaders and organizations to create a work environment where talent can thrive,” Pandza noted.

Interviews

Daniel Pandza, Director of Innovation-Culture and Communication

Héctor Kelly López, Coordinator of engineering and innovation projects

Photo of interviewee

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Interlub Group SA de CV

Interlub Group SA de CV

Zapopan, Jalisco, MX

Business Website: https://interlubgroup.com/

Year Founded: 1984

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

Interlub Group creates and provides their customers with tailor-made solutions for lubricant use in critical processes and machinery where friction and wear are involved. This increases the functional life of machinery, decreases lubricant consumption and teaches customers how to improve their processes while taking care of the environment.