Along the path of our 98-year history, we made a choice: To differentiate ourselves in the marketplace by selling on value, not on price. This simple decision has given us greater resilience to price pressures and more control over our future. Because when our efforts to improve customers’ operations bring value that reduces our customers’ costs, that’s all that matters. This value-delivery approach has opened new opportunities for us and for our customers.
VALUE CREATION IN ACTION. For tin plate manufacturers, the tin itself is their largest expense. Typically, for every pound of tin used to coat steel, 15% is lost in the plating process. Quaker has reduced that loss by as much as 10 times—to 1.5%, a savings of $3 to $10 per ton. Multiply that by millions of tons and you have significant savings. So although Quaker’s fluid is higher priced than the traditional product, in the end, our approach is a clear financial win for customers.
We are so confident in our ability to deliver value, we stick to this strategy even if it means saying “goodbye” to a customer. In Brazil, where the economy is still in crisis, one customer switched to a lower-priced competitor. Less than a year later, unhappy with the results, the customer returned to Quaker. Although Quaker’s price was higher, they realized the value they would receive would offset the additional expense. We believe that holding firm to our principles, even in weak economies such as Brazil, is the right strategic choice for Quaker. Instead of pulling back in Brazil, we committed to investing in good people and building close customer relationships and gaining market share. As the market rebounds, we will be well positioned for growth in better times.
OUR NEVER-STOP-IMPROVING MINDSET. We are relentless about finding new ways to improve our customers’ operations. In one case: We proposed to a long-time steel customer that if we changed their grease to a different technology, we could reduce their grease consumption without driving up the rate of bearing failures. Even though the new grease technology was more expensive, the benefits were significant and more than outweighed the cost. Today, the customer is using 75% less grease. The time between lubrication is longer and their workplace is safer. And an added benefit: Instead of experiencing five to six bearing failures per year, in 2016, there were no bearing failures at all.
A VALUE-SEEKING APPROACH CUSTOMERS CAN COUNT ON. A solution that creates a small savings at the process or plant level can have a huge impact on a customer’s bottom line when it is applied globally. Many large, global customers count on Quaker to help. At a steel account, we’ve agreed to an upfront savings target versus the prior year’s sales. In one project alone, we saved the customer more than $250,000 a year by designing and implementing process controls that included the capture and reuse of the fluids—and ultimately reduced their overall consumption.