Interview with Apu Gosalia

Apu Gosalia, Vice President Sustainability & Intelligence with FUCHS PETROLUB, has been recently appointed as Chairman of the UEIL Industry Statistics Committee (UISC). In this article he talks about the development of a new set of industry data and its importance to the lubricant sector.

1. What drew you to the work in the newly created UISC in the first place?

Actually three reasons: First, I believe that historically we at FUCHS always tried to fulfil the responsibility part, which comes along being the largest global independent lubricants manufacturer, and that is to engage in and support our valuable lube industry associations, such as the UEIL. Former CEO Dr. Manfred Fuchs and former FUCHS Executive Board member Ingo Pauler served as presidents of the UEIL in the past, while Thomas Schultz, former member of the FUCHS Europe Executive Committee, currently serves as UEIL Vice President. Therefore I was willing to take over the lead in this newly formed committee of the UEIL, when Thomas approached me with this request last year, together with Valentina.

Second, my feeling was that with the experience gathered over the years working on lube market intelligence at FUCHS, which I partly also always shared anyway with the industry in presentations at base oil and/or lube conferences, such as the UEIL Congress, I could add some value and expertise to the UISC.

And third we know, that there exist a variety of data sources on the European lubricant market. These range from official numbers provided by the governments and agencies of countries such as Germany, France and Italy, through to unofficial data estimates from countries such as the United Kingdom. However, the sector as a whole still lacks an impartial source of market data for all countries of the EU 28, especially also Eastern European countries. And we should not always only complain about those figures missing, but rather try to work on creating this missing lube market intelligence for our industry comprehensively, through a cooperation of the willing in the future. That is the aim of the UISC.

2. What does UEIL add to the publication of industry statistics that other parties might not?

As the European association for the sector, the UEIL is truly independent and impartial. It can develop industry statistics from its position of authority as the representative body for the sector across Europe.

Moreover, as association for the sector, UEIL can talk with authority about what is occurring within the sector at any moment in time and can communicate this to the relevant other authorities in Europe as well as its own members. Finally, the UEIL also provides the monetary budget, to work with independent statistical agencies, who can create data models upon our request and in this way support our approach of creating new data and filling in the blanks of missing reported market figures.

3. UEIL has produced some statistics in the past called EuropaLub. How are these new statistics different?

EuropaLub was made available as a hard copy set of data, mainly including the lube market figures of countries, who report them anyway through their own national agencies, such as BAFA for Germany, CPL for France, etc. The missing data for other countries and product groups was developed using some rudimentary arithmetic calculations. Moreover the EuropaLub booklet always only covered some 15 countries in Western Europe.

Since then times have changed, businesses now require more sophisticated data sets to support effective business decision- making and as mentioned before, we also need figures for Eastern European lube markets. The UISC uses a sophisticated algorithm developed with the support of an independent statistical agency. It is important that a reputable organisation develops a set of tools to produce data estimates which are valid and reliable to supplement data that already exists from official sources.

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