Bechem: Lubrication Technology Adapting to the New NormalBy Alejandro Enríquez | Wed, 01/27/2021 - 06:00
Q: What role does the automotive industry play in Bechem Lubrication Technology’s operations?
A: At the global level, Bechem is involved in different sectors: cement, mining, aluminum, pharmaceutical, food, textile, aerospace, and automotive included. In Mexico, our main focus is the automotive industry, which represents about 85 percent of our sales, reaching OEMs and all Tier companies. We have over 200 products for this sector covering virtually all major components. Some clear examples are chassis, brake systems, the entire electronics interior, mechatronics, and seating systems, seat belt, and locking.
Q: How did the pandemic impact Bechem?
A: The pandemic had an impact especially on the automotive sector as it was initially not considered an essential sector. The industry’s proactiveness led to its status being changed to essential. As a company, we did not suspend operations as we took a home-office approach. Our priority was to keep our employees safe while remaining flexible and open to creating strategies to lessen the financial impact. Another important element was to maintain close communications with our customers. We needed to be ready as operations started to ramp up again.
Q: What trends does Bechem see in the lubrication segment?
A: Trends may change and this can be addressed as a challenge and as an opportunity. First, there is mobility. People are not transporting themselves from one place to another as they used to. As the market penetration of electric vehicles grows, there will be a mix of technologies that will change from country to country. In the case of Mexico, ICE vehicles will continue to play a relevant role. Fortunately, we can play in both the ICE and EV segments. One of our niche trends is conductive greases.
Another relevant trend involves regional production. Globalization might be pausing local and regional production to gain strength. Companies are rethinking where to relocate or locate their production. Mexico has a great opportunity in this scenario. More Tier 1s and OEMs could arrive in the country should the government provide the right incentives.
Another opportunity trend is the fact that OEMs and Tier 1s are looking for new solutions. They are open to new products that can induce better performance and thus, considerable savings.
Q: What are the lessons that Bechem has learned from the Mexican market?
A: As for our major lessons, flexibility and adaptability are key. Being a middle-size company in Mexico, it was easy for us to adapt our operations while being flexible to support our customers as they resumed operations. This has been noticed by our corporate office.
Important lessons can also be learned from the strategic placement of our technical team. By being located in different points of the country, our teams were able to support our customers despite travel restrictions.
Q: How are you keeping motivation levels up during these unprecedented times?
A: The most important element is empathy. As a leader, it is necessary to maintain perspective and assess the strategies carried out so far. Honesty is also the best policy, so we keep our teams posted on the strategies and challenges we are facing as a company while being transparent with our results. This promotes empathy from the company to the employee but also from the employee to the company.
Q: What are Bechem Lubrications strategies for 2021?
A: We need to remain as flexible as possible. First, we need to draft our best-case, worst-case, and real-case scenarios to have a clear picture of the conditions we are going to play under. The upcoming months will be key to understanding how the supply chain is stabilizing. Communication will play a central role with our customers as well.
In 2021, we are looking forward to expanding our business to other sectors. Bechem is actively working to develop new products to meet our customers’ needs, regardless of who they are. We have worked with many companies to create exclusive products.
Since the pandemic began, uncertainty has prevailed. Many industry leaders stated the industry will start returning to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2024, in this market conditions where the cases of infection are increasing, I agree that the market recovery is going to be slow and even more without any government incentives for the economy. Our job is to expand our project portfolio while embracing recovery.
Bechem Lubrication Technology is a German company founded in 1834 that focuses on the supply of specialty lubricants and metal-working fluids. The company produces a special offering of lubricants and noise damping fluids for the automotive sector.