Mezahem Basrawi, CEO of Alhamrani-Fuchs Petroleum Saudi Arabia, is always moving forward; taking measured steps to ensure a strong future. This year, the CEO will witness Alhamrani-Fuchs turn 87 years old. And while Mezahem’s progression over the past 29 years with the company has been a gradual one, his impact has been anything but. Initially joining as Vice-President of Marketing in 2001, Mezahem was quickly promoted to become the President of Alhamrani Universal, a division that deals with banking technology, automated teller machines and point-of-sale. He was then promoted to COO and eventually to CEO.
Products that makes difference
Today, Fuchs is an international company with German roots that develops, produces and sells lubricants and related products. With around 60 companies and more than 5,000 employees worldwide, it is the leading independent supplier of lubricants offering more than 10,000 products and services including automotive lubricants, industrial lubricants, lubricating greases, metal processing lubricants and special application lubricants.
The company’s main supplier, Luberef, supplies Fuchs with the base oil, which makes up between 85 and 90% of the company’s product. The remainder are additives, sourced from companies like Lubrizol and Afton. Mezahem says the company’s consistent, open-minded and transparent approach has led to its relationships with suppliers being steady, healthy and long-term.
Fuchs boasts more than 100,000 customers from a wide range of industries including automotive, original equipment manufacturers, metalworking, agriculture, aerospace, and more. In Saudi Arabia, a team of more than 500 specialists work to guarantee its customers are beyond satisfied. Quality customer service is something Mezahem and, by extension, Fuchs refuses to take lightly, living by its promise that its technology will always give back.
While Mezahem understands that Fuchs has a solid position in the lubricant market in Saudi Arabia, there is the constant threat of lookalikes and cheap products that continue to enter the arena. Currently, these account for 15% of the total market.
"This is where I come in with the outlets and trained staff," explains Mezahem. "We educate consumers with their needs in mind. When other salespeople are representing products, they don’t worry about which product they sell. They just want to sell. But in our outlets, we make sure we are selling the genuine product and educate our consumers about counterfeits."
Care for customer
Fuchs is focused on continuously increasing its already high level of customer care. Every day, there is at least one seminar for a client about what the future will bring and what it means for their machinery. This includes new ideas on how to maximise the usage of oil, rather than how to minimise it. Mezahem says that it’s up to the client to apply the new knowledge, but Fuchs is responsible for educating them.
"We provide our customers with the highest quality of service – it doesn’t matter how small or large they are, or where they are situated. We give each and every one the same amount of care," he says. "There are no old customers. There are only loyal customers."
"There are no old customers. There are only loyal customers."
Fuchs has a specialised department that focuses purely on customer care. With the company holding a client list of more than 600 industrial customers, it’s quite a task to make that many calls each day. The team is provided with a base manuscript to check if the client is satisfied with the product, pleased with the most recent outlet service and if they would like an educational seminar. Mezahem stresses that the daily calls are not to sell products, but to provide personal check-ins, which also allow the customer care department to report directly back to him.
"It’s more-or-less an audit," he explains. "We are ‘auditing’ ourselves before anyone else audits us."
Fuchs recently introduced 70 service stations in Saudi Arabia to service cars that use its brand. No other brand is sold through its service stations, ensuring that all staff are brand experts and cater perfectly to the customers who come in. These stations are also channels for education, teaching about the oil itself and how to use it properly. To Mezahem, Fuchs is not just in the business of selling oil, but in the business of educating consumers. The staff working at these service stations also act as consultants and advisers. So, in the end, the challenge is to find the right locations for outlets and the best people to service incoming cars.
Education is the way
"We are not in oil sales as much as we are in consultancy, to make sure that our clients use the right amount of oil in their machinery so, from time to time, we do tests on their machinery to ensure the utilisation of oil is optimal," says Mezahem. "It’s all in the detail – in educating consumers on how to use the oil properly and why it’s best used that way."
The company has also founded the Fuchs Academy to meet the demands of a constantly changing industry. The academy is a global training institution, where technical training courses are conducted, and sales professionals develop their technical expertise. It educates those seeking to work in the lubricant industry, assisting them to adapt to a changing industry that will eventually see electric vehicles (EVs).
A regular, gasoline-powered vehicle has around 320 moving parts, but an EV has only 17 in comparison. It’s easy to imagine the minimal amount of lubricant Fuchs can sell to an EV versus a gasoline one. But in preparing for that future, Fuchs has already established itself as a provider of special oils for EVs.
"Now we need to educate Saudis on the lubricant industry, so they can contribute and become an important factor in the industry."
"Now, we need to educate Saudis on the lubricant industry, so they can contribute and become an important factor in the industry. We don’t have many experts on lubrication in Saudi Arabia right now. Weare dependent on expats," says Mezahem. "Education is the way."