Completing strategic initiatives
After six months in the role of CEC Chairman, Frank Stunnenberg talks to Insight about the challenges facing the organisation and discusses his key priorities over the next two years.
After his Masters and PhD in Chemistry, Frank joined Shell’s Research & Technology Centre in Amsterdam, where he held several positions of increasing responsibility – the last in Shell Additives. Although he enjoyed the fast pace and the global nature of the industry, things were about to change.
“The mid-‘90s was a period of consolidation for the additives industry,” he explains, “and Shell Additives and ExxonMobil’s Paramins were about to be merged into what is now Infineum. At this time, I took an opportunity to join Chevron Oronite as a formulator in Rotterdam.” Today, Frank is the Managing Director of the same Rotterdam Technology Centre he joined in 1997.
Through his career, Frank has played an active role in various industry activities including CEC working groups, ATC Performance Testing Subgroup, AAA and has been an ATC representative on the CEC Management Board. All this inside experience should prove valuable in his new role as CEC Chairman, which he took up in January this year.
CEC is the primary resource for the development, maintenance and distribution of a portfolio of standardised performance tests for fuel and lubricating fluids that meet the current and evolving needs of vehicle and equipment manufacturers and end users in Europe and beyond.
"In recent years we have seen several delays in the delivery of new test developments - something that, in my opinion, needs to be resolved."
"In order to do this, I hope to complete the strategic initiatives started by my predecessor, Peter Tjan, and developed by the CEC Management Board. These are designed to address the key challenges facing the CEC, as seen from the perspective of our four stakeholder organisations, ACEA, ATC, ATIEL and CONCAWE.”
Key challenges for CEC
Delivering new test developments in a timely and cost effective manner is clearly a key challenge for CEC.
“This is critical in maintaining and increasing support for CEC from both ACEA and individual OEMs,” Frank explains. “Here I expect a good contribution to come from our enhancements to the Test Development Process.” But, this is only one of the challenges faced by the organisation.
“In a world of increasing change, CEC also needs to be cognisant of developments impacting our stakeholders, and their perception of the added value we deliver.”
Unfortunately, this is not an industry with simple and aligned requirements and Frank believes that a real awareness of the diverse needs of the stakeholders is essential. “The process leading up to the new ACEA 2016 Sequences highlighted the real differences in the needs of the light-duty OEMs. As a result, the way in which they want to engage the other industry partners is currently being redefined.”
CEC strategic initiatives
There are several strategic initiatives that have been highlighted as priorities for improvement within CEC:
Progress to date
While there are clearly a number of activities that require attention here, much progress has already been made and the CEC Management Board has played a key role in ensuring the future success of CEC.
“The reorganisation of CEC in 2001 resulted in a very lean, fit-for-purpose organisation.”
However, cost stewardship and efficiency are still key values for the CEC Management Board. “We are pleased that the annual stakeholder fee has remained flat since 2007, despite rising inflation, which effectively means CEC has absorbed price increases through operational efficiency gains. In addition, CEC regularly returns fees to its stakeholders, when the level of our funds allows and from 2010-2016 the actual fees have been only 80% of the annual stakeholder fees.”
Interaction and awareness essential
It is clear that a key priority for Frank is improving the interaction with its stakeholder organisations. “Over the last few years AAA, AAC and CEC have streamlined their part in the test development process. We have learned that front-end loading of the test development process is critical and this starts with the quality of the Terms of Reference for a new test – and we are pleased that AAA and AAC are becoming more focused on this.”
At the same time, CEC has concentrated on improving the test development process. “Because this is a stage-gated process, with clear decision points for each step, it is essential that these steps are considered by the lead laboratory when preparing their offering for CEC. The same is true for the Chairman of the TDG who must have a good awareness of the decisions that need to be taken at each step of the process and an ability to lead a diverse group of stakeholders to consensus.”
Firm basis of engagement
A key element of the success of a new test development is the so-called ‘needs statement’. Clearly, if the lubricant or fuel is causing field failures then this is relatively easy to demonstrate. “For example, the field issues associated with low-temperature pumpability made the CEC L-105 test needs statement development fairly straightforward. But, for others, where the need is less clear, it can be more difficult.”
Frank highlights two examples where input from technical experts from each of the stakeholders, via a Special Project Group (SPG), can help to guide test development. “Firstly, the low soot wear concern in low viscosity heavy-duty lubricants, where the need is unclear. Despite the uncertainty, the industry partners have agreed on clear Terms of Reference for the SPG and the first meeting took place in May 2017. The second example is the new CEC L-112 oil-elastomer compatibility test, where the support from elastomer manufacturers was essential. By working closely with representatives of the elastomer industry the SPG ensured the replacement of obsolete elastomer materials and introduced seal materials that are used in vehicle production, thereby increasing the relevance of the test.”
OEM support is essential
It is vital for CEC to gain support from the OEMs for new test hardware. “We currently rely on test hardware from three OEMs: Daimler, Peugeot and Volkswagen. In the AAA and AAC discussions are taking place around replacements for the CEC L-078 VW TDI and the CEC L-101 MB OM501LA. TDG-F-113 is currently working on the development of the VW DISI, a test aimed at evaluating injector deposits in Direct Injection Spark Ignited engines. However, at the same time, with four ASTM engine tests included in the 2016 ACEA Sequences, it appears that ACEA is likely to continue to rely on ASTM tests.”
A recent development here comes from Toyota. “Toyota has put significant effort into understanding the mechanism behind turbocharger deposits and the way they impact the efficiencies of the turbo. Based on this knowledge, a lubricant test has been developed, which Toyota has offered to ACEA (for further development by CEC) for the next ACEA Sequences. The Terms of Reference have been agreed in the AAA."
"I’m pleased to say that Toyota may soon become a new sponsor of lubricant test hardware.”
Clearly, having a robust test development process is essential and Frank has a few thoughts about changes that need to be made to ensure it is fit for the future. “We have seen several instances of delay in the delivery of new test developments. Results of an analysis of these delays were presented in November last year at the CEC Workshop in Brussels and recommendations were made to strengthen the CEC TDG execution and support processes.”
“I hope that this activity, combined with our efforts to complete the strategic initiatives, will help to make the CEC a more responsive organisation, focused on the timely delivery of cost effective tests that are of real value to its stakeholders.”