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INSIGHT


OATS Managing Director, Mike Skypala, asks some of the Lubricant industry’s influencers to join him in gazing into the sector’s crystal ball and making some predictions for the decade ahead.


One year ago I left the grocery retail sector to join an industry that is now starting to face as much, if not more, pressure for change. Having now gained some insights of my own, the start of a new decade seemed the ideal time to seek the views of automotive and oil industry experts to help predict the shape the Lubricants industry over the next 10 years or so. The result was some common themes, but also some dissension in the ranks.


Of course, industry predictions require the context of a broader macro-economic, social and technological landscape. BCG’s (Boston Consulting Group) report “How to thrive in the 2020’s” claims business in general will need to improve its ability to learn and adapt; build stronger ecosystems; invest in artificial intelligence and the internet of things; continuously reinvent themselves, become more resilient to broader events; mandate diversity and combine business and social value.


Globalisation or nationalism? Building resilience means dealing with a multitude of global political trends: protectionism and populism; managing both desire and reality around climate


change and the movement towards a less consumerist society. All of this being driven by the relentless pace of a 24-hour news cycle and multiple social media platforms.


Industry consensus appears to predict a decade of greater uncertainty and even the potential collapse of global trade. Lube Magazine’s editor, Andrianne Philippou, offers this outlook: “Geo-political tensions and sensitivities will continue to disrupt trade and distribution flow through interrupted supply chains, embargos, trade tariffs and price wars. Expect more consolidations, acquisitions, mergers and some liquidations as companies come together or fail to overcome the restrictions and constraints in an international minefield.”


However, Christian Hartmann - Independent Consultant and Director of Lubey AG – offers a more optimistic, if controversial, outlook: “I share the OECD and World Bank’s view that the next decade will be a prosperous one. Why? Because the world has learned to live with the characters like Trump, Johnson, Putin, Erdogan and Bolsonaro. Plenty of money is available and there is no substantial crisis.”


Continued on page 38 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.155 FEBRUARY 2020 37


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