When you’re on the lookout for a mineral oil supplier, proximity is just one of many important factors to consider.
Looking for a supplier near you is a great start. No supplier (us included!) can be everywhere and serve everyone.
But depending on where you need service, you may find a number of options available to you. So how do you choose? Here are a few key qualities to look for.
Mineral Oil Suppliers and Other Supply Chains
Though our focus is on specialty oil products, the following criteria are important to consider when choosing a supplier for virtually any raw material or production product.
What does product “quality” mean? There are objective, universal standards every supplier needs to meet. These include general characteristics such as consistency and reliability.
But in many cases, especially if you’re in a niche industry, a raw material that’s an otherwise “quality” product may not meet the specifications you need for your application.
This is where the technical expertise of your supplier is critical. A supplier that delivers an excellent product that’s perfect for the wrong application can do more harm than good.
Scenario: They Say They Can Do It
A supplier specializes in mineral oils used in the production of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and EPDM/synthetic rubber products. A pharmaceutical company engages this supplier with assurances that it can provide high-quality mineral oil at scale. Unfortunately, this supplier demonstrates a lack of technical expertise to understand that it must deliver a white mineral oil that is refined to U.S. Pharmacopeia requirements, causing costly production delays.
Solution: A mineral oil supplier with experience in medical-grade white oil would have been able to deliver the proper product from the start.
Beyond an understanding of your technical requirements, your supplier also needs to have sufficient production capabilities to fulfill your specialty product orders.
What’s important to look for here is whether the supplier has either:
- An existing product line that matches your unique needs or
- The research and development capability to obtain or develop a niche product for you.
A supplier may serve your industry by providing similar products, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it can reliably provide the product you need.
Scenario: The Product Is “Close Enough”
An organic farming operation is looking for a cost-effective crop spray oil for pest control. They begin working with a mineral oil supplier of refined white oil that can be used for this application. However, an audit reveals that the product is not OMRI-Listed (approved for use in organic farming). The farm’s status as an organic operation is now called into question because the product was not quite what was needed.
Solution: A mineral oil supplier that has developed niche product lines, including products for organic farming, would have the ideal product in stock.
You should have the utmost confidence that your supplier can get you the products you need, when you need them, consistently.
The proximity of your supplier’s facility (or facilities) to your supply points is only part of the equation. You also need to factor in the supplier’s capacity to fulfill large and/or frequent orders.
Every supplier makes its own cost-benefit calculation to determine how deep of an inventory to carry on behalf of its customers. The more stock the supplier maintains, the more supply security they can offer you.
Scenario: A Hurricane Forces Refinery Shutdowns
A hurricane devastates Gulf Coast refineries. As a derivative of petroleum, mineral oil quickly becomes as scarce as other petroleum products, such as gasoline. Personal care product manufacturers (cosmetics, lotions, soaps, etc.) turn to their primary and secondary suppliers for mineral oil, each of which is already out of stock because they’re unable to pull from refinery partners.
Solution: A mineral oil supplier with an investment in deep inventories and logistics expertise, including in emergency triage procedures, would have been able to supply its customers far longer.
Signal Fluid Solutions: Mineral Oil Supplier
If you’re looking for a supplier of refined mineral oils for a niche application, you’re in the right place. For decades, Signal Fluid Solutions has gone above and beyond great customer service to offer our customers:
- technical expertise
- a range of niche products,
- supply security, and
- logistics expertise
That is unparalleled among mineral oil suppliers!
With facilities across the U.S. and in Europe, and logistics solutions that include delivery by truck, rail, and barge, we’re probably able to serve your region—and if so, we’re always the best option among local mineral oil suppliers.