You’ll no doubt have read about JLM and its range of DPF products. But, in this exclusive interview, which is hot on the heels of the JLM global launch of the diesel Catalytic Exhaust Cleaner and its petrol counterpart, PMF speaks to Gilbert Groot, the company’s Managing Director.
Five Quick-fire Questions
1. Complete the statement ‘I’m at my happiest when…
“We get a positive review from a customer. I can’t get enough of them!”
2. Your greatest challenge?
“It’s not to design great products, but to convince users of their quality.”
3. In your spare time?
“Apart from kick boxing, I am a proud tour guide when showing visitors my home turf.”
4. Who do you most admire as a leader in business?
“Richard Branson. He has that rare knack of combining business with pleasure.”
5. Five statements that best describe you?
- I’m persistent
- I always try to be optimistic
- I’m not easily influenced by others
- I respect others
- I dare to take risks
Born and raised in Alkmaar in the Netherlands (the chees capital of the world), Gilbert’s connections with the automotive industry run deep.
“I used to build automotive aftermarket brands for others,” he said. eventually decided it was time to create and build my own brand; something I could be even more proud of. And so, I founded JLM Lubricants in 2010. Although we started from scratch, I had relevant experience and most importantly a strong professional network within the industry.
We started with two key product lines; valve saver products for LPG and CNG powered cars and DPF cleaners.
“JLM has since grown to become the market leader of valve saver products,” he continued. “With the DPF cleaner, we were pioneers in the car industry. On the back of this, we won many international product awards and today, JLM products are available in all EU countries via distributors, including Kalimex in the UK. Our headquarters are based at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and we have a second office in Cologne, Germany. We have distributors in Japan and South Korea too.”
Speaking of his role at JLM, Gilbert confessed to being, “A combination of a scientist; a technician; a salesman and a roving brand ambassador. I’m really hands-on… in fact my team would say I can be too hands-on at times! I’m not a technician by trade, but I have a keen interest in technology and in developing innovative products. I work closely with our chemists and our research team.”
Like many MDs, Gilbert spends much of his time on the road, he explained: “I travel frequently… short trips of two to three days, mostly within Europe. When working, I’m an early riser. We’ve dispensed with the traditional model of nine to five office hours because we work with clients from different time zones. So we tend to work round the clock, that way we’re flexible and can focus on doing the work whenever it has to be completed by.”
Unsurprisingly product development features high on JLM’s agenda, as Gilbert said: “As a team we discuss how we can improve existing products and create new ones on a daily basis. The same goes for the packaging of our products and our marketing.”
When asked why a mechanic should choose and trust a product with the JLM name on the label and why motor factors should recommend the company’s products to the trade and motorist alike, Gilbert didn’t hesitate: “JLM offers exceptional quality products designed to support the professional motor mechanic in their daily work. Mechanics tell us they appreciate the fact that our products match our promises and motor factors can recommend us with confidence. In the last month, we’ve launched the two Catalytic Exhaust Cleaners. Initial response and feedback from motor factors and the trade has been incredible.”
Gilbert was quick to point out that JLM is both a leader and a follower when launching new products: “When we follow, we always add the JLM twist to a product, namely, something extra, something new. When we lead, we innovate. We disrupted the valve saver market by introducing an industry standard for these types of additives. We are at the forefront of the industry for cleaning DPFs with chemicals (either fuel borne or clean & flush), as opposed to the norm of dismantling the DPF and sending it to a specialist workshop for cleaning. We can’t rest on our laurels. What matters above all else is motor factor and customer satisfaction. We will never take this for granted.”