Swindon-based OATS, the pioneering data supplier to the global lubricants industry, is celebrating a double milestone this year with chairman Sebastian Crawshaw chalking up his 20th year in post and the business itself observing its 30th anniversary.
Sebastian, pictured, took over the firm when its founders, two lubricants specialists from Swindon-based Castrol and Esso, retired in 1993. At that time OATS provided paper-based data to the UK lubricant industry, allowing customers to answer the question ‘which oil?’
He quickly realised that the business needed to expand beyond the UK and so set out to create a global business and make the OATS green logo known all over the world.
It quickly built a reputation as the supplier of choice for lubricants data for the UK market, and expanded across Europe, providing multilingual distributor and help-desk services that allowed technical services to be centralised and streamlined.
The industry has changed dramatically since then, driven by key events such as The Kyoto Protocol, asset swaps, mergers and acquisitions between major oil companies and original equipment manufacturers along with globalisation of businesses and the explosion of the World Wide Web.
A pioneer of internet marketing, OATS introduced the world’s first online lubricants recommendation website in 1998, beginning the transformation of lubricants marketing.
Sebastian said: “The past two decades have flown by and I am sure the next decade will bring more of the same as well as some unpredictable changes.
“By 2020 any new cars being produced will require close to complete recyclability of materials. The management of water on a global basis may become the next big challenge.
“At OATS we continue to innovate and lead in responding to these changes.”
As well as its head office on Swindon’s Delta Office Park, OATS has an office in China servicing the Asian and Australasian markets.