Engine oil production: What do you know?

Read time: 3 min
Published: 27 January 2023

Interview with Massimo Giusti, Production Manager for lubricating oils at Pakelo, who highlights the importance of having a well-organised production line.

What could a Production Manager’s slogan be, if not:
“There’s no such thing as a problem”... right? Because there’s always a solution.

With a diploma in mechanical engineering, Massimo joined the production team at Pakelo in 2004, where for the first time he was exposed to dynamics entirely foreign to him, but which he had always enjoyed. Over the next ten years working for Pakelo, he enjoyed professional growth in all key areas of production: from unloading the inbound raw material to blending, packaging, and finally storing the finished product. His passion continued to grow, establishing himself as a point of reference for the entire production team, until roughly four years ago he was appointed manager of the entire lubricating oil production department.

How important is it to be a producer and why are Pakelo Lubricants considered a tailor-made product?

Keep in mind that we offer a niche product, and as such it tends to satisfy all client needs. The strength of being a manufacturer lies precisely in our capacity to develop an ad hoc product for every industry, demand and volume. We are a family-run company and proud to be so, because we compete as an independent firm in markets typically dominated by oil giants. We stand out from our competitors because we are able to satisfy “special” orders in a very short time. Our strengths lie in our boutique production and the ability to operate on a customised basis, meeting all those needs calling for a fast and flexible organisation. Pakelo lubricating oil is therefore a product distinguished by its non-standardised process. We produce customised series that are exported to more than 40 countries worldwide. And to enable this you need a very efficient and controlled lean production system, like I always say “minimum effort, maximum output”.

So, what is the work flow like in production?

First and foremost, we always have a supply of raw materials: bases and additives. This is the only way to ensure a constant and proper flow of goods. The first task is blending. In production, this is the most challenging part of the process because you must be able to accurately and methodically blend the raw materials, following a very strict schedule in terms of timing, quantities, temperatures and mixing times. And with more than a thousand catalogued formulas, you need qualified staff. The second step is packaging. This is a very delicate role at Pakelo. Operators need to pay close attention to the product they're using, empty packaging, labels and palletisation, because every package has to be perfect. The last stage is shipping. Positioning the material on the pallets, wrapping and loading are key aspects in making sure the client receives the goods in perfect condition.

So how do you organise your production? 

The most important thing is continuity. My job is in fact to coordinate a large team and make sure they know exactly what to do. I am lucky to have such a great team that looks after so many projects every day.

One of my priorities is to train staff and make sure everyone does their job to the best of their ability. Everyone in production needs to always know what they are doing and why. A few years ago we introduced a new warehouse management system (WMS) allowing us to keep track of all materials in the warehouse, blending, all packaging and even shipments. All these things together can be summed up as improved production efficiency.

How important is the time factor?

Time is a key consideration. In recent years we have steadily worked on improving production processes, and adopting the Lean method has greatly aided this effort. In fact, we’ve managed to produce and process 20% more. Reorganising the oil production line in light of the new expansion will be essential in moving forward while keeping an eye on changing market demands.

What are Pakelo’s main plans for the coming months? And how do you imagine your department in the future?

Pakelo production has changed a lot over the years, and we have all needed to adapt and reinvent ourselves to meet the endless market demands. The aim is to make all processes smoother by introducing new tools and personnel. In the coming months, the focus will be on getting the new production site up and running. It will give us the opportunity to increase the number and quantity of blends produced. Needless to say, we’ve grown a lot in these past 90 years and we have no intention of stopping now. 

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