Polacco Family unabridged
In this article we speak about ourselves through the words of Polacco Family, founder and owner of Pakelo engine oil brand. The third generation is now leading the strategic management of the company and it is the most influential voice to speak about vision and values guiding an independent lubricant producer in a global, competitive market.
ALDO POLACCO - President & CEO Pakelo Lubricants
Sometimes it is hard to get, even for professionals, that if you use the right lubricating oil, engine oil or whichever kind of fluid, you immediately get a better performance, and the vehicle lasts longer.
A lubricant oil is for machines what blood is for people. Nothing less, nothing more. It hydrates connective tissues; it oxygenates the body and it reveals the health status.
Like blood, even engine oils need specific analysis. You learn a lot about the mechanic part as well, may it be a tractor's or a racing car's part alike. "Silicon is also dust" - explains Aldo, President and CEO of Pakelo Lubricants - "you have to recognize it and if you find some in the oil it means that your filtering system is not working well. It's like having high triglycerides! But again, you might get copper, iron or lead and the problem would be different. Only through analysis you can find a proper solution." Aldo, like his brother Rino and his cousin Alberto (with which he exchanges the President role every 3 years) started very early working in the lubricant factory to understand how the production works. This is a philosophy that rewards only those of the family that really deserve it. "A fourth generation is getting ready, but it will enter the company like you would enter a gear: only if it will be and when it will be due time. It is a matter of responsibility towards the employees working here that we consider as part of the family."
Aldo likes beautiful things and traveling. His natural attitude led him to manage the Foreign Sales of the brand and the relations with high-profile Italian customers in Motorsport. In less than 20 years the company shed its skin, evolving from a local market to a European one to a global one. "Employees of our customers played an important role because when they eventually change workplace they use to bring us with them. This led us to work with a lot of well-known OEMs." How Pakelo started working in the racing world is sort of a confidential story. "In the 1980s there were many engine oil brands. But there was no one (not even big majors) eager to create tailor made lubricants for niches. And no one could do it as fast as we did. This was one of our aces in the hole." - explains Aldo. But it took a lot of pride and bravery as well. "We prepared a transmission oil sample for a famous Motorsport brand. They were enthusiastic since they gained a few horsepowers immediately! At the time there was room for big improvements, today it is not that easy. However, they asked us to give the sample to their oil supplier for analysis. But we decided to refuse to protect our know-how, risking to loose the customer. Long story short they started buying the product from us. And we've been working together ever since." The rest is history.
ALBERTO POLACCO - Vice-President & CEO
The story of Polacco family is connected with that of its territory and its people. Innovation, energy, trust are keywords to describe the path we are experiencing. Alberto Polacco is part of the board and it is currently Vice-President of the company. He overlooks the Operations, the Technical Department and the Control Management. He is a fan of lean management and optimization that he combines with healthy entrepreneurial caution.
It is important to consolidate before stepping ahead. Consolidate markets, outcomes, partnerships before leveraging. That's my philosophy.
It's not difficult to understand the reason why he has a passion for watches: he's projected ahead, but goes on gradually and treasures the past. Alberto likes racing on the track whenever he can. It's on a circuit that he understood how to envision the future anticipating curves: "If your eyes are on the road your hands will do the right thing, if you keep on watching the car or the dashboard you'll go astray. You need to focus on a far away point." But there's a lot more in a manager's life: "You need to 'oil' processes: to evolve from an artisan-based company to a lean company took a lot of effort. You need to work on trust relationship and with open confrontation with suppliers, competitors and with clients as well. Some of our customers have registration number #2 or #3. They've been customers since my grandfather Italo Rino founded the company in 1930. This says a lot about our customer retention. Our grandfather founded the company in 1930s and his idea was to stimulate and trust employees. He's always tried to make it more congenial for employees. People are the key component, and you need to motivate them and make companies compliant with their needs." - explains Alberto. In Pakelo's future he forecasts an increase in the company welfare and maybe an academy for customers (which is now active in the form of workshops). The biggest satisfaction to me is seeing employees wearing a corporate t-shirt in their free time because they're proud to work here."
RINO POLACCO, CMO & Co-Owner Pakelo Lubricants
At the beginning the company was called "Polacco Bros." and it was a little shop distributing American oils for the local market of earth moving machineries, agriculture and heavy duty. The founders' granddaughter Chiara (Aldo and Rinos' sister) used to misspell her surname when she was a little baby. She kept saying "pachelo". Elio and Giuseppe, the founders' heirs decided to rename the company "Pakelo" to give an international hint. That was probably the first marketing move in Pakelo's history. From 1990s, when the third generation joins in, Pakelo experiences a headquarter renovation, opens to new global markets and the brand gets stronger. The brand is in the hands of Italo Rino Polacco, a Daniel Day Lewis applied to the lubricant production world. He is a person that experienced many roles in the company before landing to marketing. He is a creative spirit and in the free time he dedicates to his own wine production.
He is the one that created Pakelo logo from scratch. "I wanted to study architecture but the call for the family business was stronger, so I tried to bring here my innovative and creative inclination." I really enjoyed renovating the headquarters. I contributed with the idea to create a sort of wooden bridge between old and new part of the building. It reminds a boat's bridge connecting the past with the future to create "a cultural ecosystem of reference." We do things technically advanced with taste, which is what makes us Italians in the first place.
Italianness is synonym of quality, hospitality, family feeling.. this is exactly what I want to preserve in Pakelo's attitude, despite of the growth.
We will enhance production capability but we'll stay in Italy. Confidentiality is a important part of our daily business. It is common rule to sign non disclosure agreements with many of our top customers. Today, Rino and the marketing team keep on searching new ambassadors that can embody Pakelo's values with originality, enthusiasm and imagination. They call them PakeloHeroes, and we're not only speaking of big athletes. Being a Pakelohero is a way of life, like Rino says.