“When we initially talk to dealers, we don’t try to get them into our bulk oil programs,” says Bill Wermuth of Viscosity Oil of Willowbrook, Ill. “Our goal is to get them to understand what they’re getting into and that they need to make an investment. For them to feel the investment is worthwhile, can produce a good return and reap all the benefits this type of program can offer, they need to do three things.”

1. Operational Issues. When dealing with bulk oil, quality is essential. As a result, dealers must maintain their tanks and pumps to ensure containers are clean to avoid contamination. Responsibilities for spill containment and other environmental regulations must be maintained. Someone must have responsibility for all operations, from ordering product to product delivery and controlling packaging procedures.

2. Customer Issues. “When it comes to the customer side, dealers need to realize to be successful, they’ll be doing things in a different way with the customers,” says Wermuth. “The dealer must understand he’ll be acquiring oil at a lower cost and some of that savings must be passed on to his customer. He may pass it through to the customer in terms of a lower price or more convenience. If he just puts it all in his pocket, he won’t see any improvement or volume change.”

3. Marketing Issues. Succeeding with a bulk oil program requires a deeper understanding and knowledge of the dealer’s customer base. “To be successful, they must understand their market better in terms of their competition and what their customer is looking for. They’ll need to be willing to make changes in their operation. Whatever that change is depends on what that market tells them,” Wermuth says.

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