“I saw an opportunity to improve the efficiency of industrial machinery through specialized solutions.”
- Year selected
- René Freudenberg
Interlub seeks to be the world’s leader in developing and providing customized, environmentally oriented solutions for critical industrial processes and machinery, where friction and wear is involved. For large manufacturers in Mexico, Interlub is smoothing out the road to success. Entrepreneurs Rene Freudenberg and Roberto Iberri improve the efficiency and longevity of their clients’ expensive industrial machinery by replacing conventional industrial lubricants with specialized solutions. Interlub has been able to gain market share by avoiding the saturated conventional lubricants market, focusing instead on the minority of lubricant applications that demand high-touch service and specialized – often made-to-order – products. By helping customers identify their needs through a high-touch customer service and consulting model, Interlub has won over nine of the ten largest manufacturing companies in Mexico. With the support of these high profile clients, Interlub’s brand recognition has spiked and sales have increased substantially since 2006.
Interlub has a history of seizing opportunities in challenging markets. In the early 1980s, the Mexican petrochemical industry operated under a system of import substitution, and specialized lubricants were not available. In 1984, Rene’s father, Peter Freudenberg, decided to fill that niche. Peter didn’t know much about lubricants, so a few months after founding Interlub, Peter sought out Roberto, who was working in a larger lubricants company in Mexico at the time. A chemical engineer from Guadalajara with a strong technical background and extensive experience in quality control, Roberto served as an advisor to Interlub before joining fulltime in 1986. In 1994, the Mexican crisis turned the market on its head, and in just a week the peso lost nearly half its value. Interlub was able to pivot, maintain profitability, and begin exporting products, serving clients as far away as Japan.
Peter’s son and current president of Interlub, Rene, has built a fast-growing business on this resilient foundation. Raised in Guadalajara, Rene studied business administration in Germany before earning an MBA from Tias Nimbas in the Netherlands. He then went to work for the multinational tire company Continental AG. Rene gained valuable international experience working in Germany, Belgium, England, and Spain after graduation, but returned to Guadalajara in 2004 to rejoin the family business. Soon thereafter, he moved to Brazil to launch Interlub’s Brazilian subsidiary and distributor. In 2006, Peter retired and Rene returned to Mexico to take over as president of Interlub.