Elvin Hajiyev, Co-Founder and CEO of Technol: Possible to reach greater and more distant markets with the right planning and effective strategies
Operating in the lubricants sector, Technol is one of the most important Azerbaijani Companies in terms of production volume and market dominance. Appealing to a wide customer mass in the domestic market with its rich product range, the company also exports to the Middle East and Central Asia.
Technol, which does not make compromises on product quality or innovation, has expanded far beyond Azerbaijan. Due to the company’s accredited laboratory and technical infrastructure, the company, which recently exported to South Africa, is confident in its ability to build on its achievements.
We had a pleasant conversation with Elvin Hajiyev, the company’s co-founder, and CEO, about Technol’s position in the Azerbaijani market, the projects on its agenda, and its future objectives.
Could you tell us about Technol’s general outlook?
In 2017, Technol began its operations. Our facility is located in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan’s chemical industry city, on a 1-hectare plot of land with 5000 m2 of indoor area. We have a raw material reservoir park with a total capacity of 4000 tons. Our monthly production capacity is approximately 3000 tons. Our company employs approximately 70 people, including both white-collar and blue-collar employees. We have many activities at Technol, such as production, sales, product, and brand development in various segments of the lubricant industry.
What is the product range of Technol?
As you are aware, the lubricant sector interacts with many other sectors and includes products from various segments. Technol is a company with a large customer mass that offers hundreds of various products based on their needs. Our product line is divided into four categories: automotive, industrial, grease, and additives.
We produce various products within each group based on the customer’s equipment and vehicle type. Hydraulic oils, compressor oils, mineral, semi and fully synthetic engine oils for passenger cars and heavy trucks, calcium and lithium-containing greases, antifreeze, and other additives are some of the examples.
In the last two years, we have increased our activities in the grease category. We have serious targets for greases in both domestic and export markets.
Furthermore, we closely follow technological developments and OEM processes. We try to apply the innovations to formulas and product development areas. We have R&D studies on hybrid and electric vehicles, new-generation industrial lubricants, and greases, and we plan to develop them further.
What are the main priorities and values you set as a company?
Our top priority is to maintain high-quality standards. With our investments in laboratory and business systems, as well as audits, we always keep this issue at the forefront. Our laboratory is ISO17025 accredited and is inspected regularly. Many of our products have OEM approvals from engine manufacturers such as Mercedes and Cummins, as well as API certificates. We continue our approval processes in accordance with the contract and customer requirements. We do not compromise on quality or product standards under any circumstances. Adaptation is our second priority. In the modern world, technology, economic conditions, and the political agenda change very quickly. It is extremely difficult to keep up with these changes while adhering to traditional management styles and patterns. Our goal as a company and as a team is to be as agile as possible in order to survive and continue on our path. In some cases, we switch strategies twice in a single year. While such unintentional events have a short-term negative impact on the team and customer portfolio, they benefit the company and brand in the long run.
Technol’s only objective is not to increase production and sales figures; the company aims to become an organization that offers comprehensive services in the automotive and industrial sectors and to continuously renew itself by closely following sectoral developments.
Could you give us an overview on the lubricant market of Azerbaijan?
Azerbaijan’s lubricant market is developing and expanding. We have seen a significant increase in the number of passenger cars imported into the country, particularly since the pandemic. According to our research, the market has grown by 4-5% in the last two years, resulting in an annual volume of around 70 thousand tons. Aside from automotive, there is an increase in industrial groups. Lubricant consumption reflects the growth of the country’s economy and various production sectors. Huge development projects have been launched in our liberated regions and cities, particularly since the victory of the second Karabakh war. These projects involve many foreign countries and companies, including local and Turkish firms. Infrastructure, construction, agriculture, and tourism are all receiving significant investments. This benefits the economy and has a positive impact on the lubricant industry’s growth. On this occasion, I would like to remember with mercy our martyrs who gave us the Karabakh victory and wish our veterans a long life.
At Technol, how do you evaluate your position in the Azerbaijan market?
Our primary mission at Technol is to add value to the country. Whether we are working with government agencies or the private sector, our strategy is always to provide high-quality products, and pre- and post-sales services, expand our customer portfolio and develop long-term collaborations by increasing customer loyalty. We understand the benefits of being a domestic producer, such as our ability to develop products in response to demand on time, our storage and transportation capabilities, and our agility. I believe we are in a good position in the domestic market because of our laboratory and technical support services. We intend to take our achievements even further and to further increase our brand value within our country and abroad.
Elvin Hajiyev, Co-Founder and CEO of Technol, is confident that the company’s production power, agility, and technical infrastructure will carry its success even further.
Speaking of abroad, let us hear about your exports to the Republic of South Africa last summer. What is the importance of this export move for your company?
Although our mission is to create value within our country and contribute to both the economy and the final user by producing alternatives to imported products, exports are also important to us. We export to about ten countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, which we refer to as “near geography.” However, receiving an order from a mining company in the Republic of South Africa last summer was a very unexpected and eye-opening event for us. Azerbaijan’s lack of direct access to the world’s open waters has always been seen as a logistical handicap and therefore limited export opportunities. This was the same for us. However, we have found that with proper planning and effective strategies, we can export to much larger and more distant markets. Many obstacles can be overcome once a quality product, proper pricing, and a business plan are in place. We now intend to export not only locally but also internationally.
Following its export to South Africa, Technol realized that with proper planning and effective strategies, it could expand to distant markets. The company now intends to export not only to closer spots but also distant geographies.
How did the Russia-Ukraine war affect your company? What challenges or opportunities did you face in this process?
Russia, as you are aware, is an important country in the lubricant sector. Russian firms have a sizable market share in both finished products and raw material supply. It is a trading country, particularly in the supply of Group I base oil. There were significant fluctuations in raw material supply, prices, and trade at the start of the war. The sanctions on Russia have made it impossible to transfer foreign currency through banks. All of these changes have a negative impact on the long-term supply chain. We are also witnessing profoundly serious logistical issues. Due to the war, alternate routes must be used in some areas. We are observing these problems with customers we previously exported to Ukraine. On the other hand, due to sanctions, lubricant producers in Russia are having difficulty obtaining additives and other types of oils. This naturally leads to a decrease in the number of ready-made Russian products on the market as well as the opening of new markets. Countries and businesses that do business with Russia are beginning to look for alternative products and countries, which gives us an advantage. We have received a large number of requests and inquiries for ready-made and finished products in Russia in recent months. But, of course, we, like everyone else, want this war to end as soon as possible. It may appear to create small opportunities in the short term, but the war has a negative impact on everyone in the long run.
Could you tell us a little bit about your company’s future goals?
Although it is difficult to set long-term goals in today’s world, we are attempting to draw our own course by closely monitoring developments. Our objective is not only to increase production and sales figures. As Technol, we hope to grow into a company that can provide a variety of services in the automotive and industrial sectors. These services include a wide range of activities such as the establishment of service centers, the production and sale of spare parts, laboratory and product development, and technical consulting. We want to add value by increasing the customer relationships, business experience, sales, and distribution network that we have developed over the last five years. Regarding the general vision of the sector, I believe that the rapid development of hybrid and electric vehicles in the automobile sector, as well as possibly hydrogen vehicles in the near future, will result in a reduction in the use of internal combustion engines and thus lubricants. Environmental issues, as well as the resulting economic and political sanctions and changes in OEM requirements, will undoubtedly have a long-term impact on the sector. As a result, we are also considering the possibility of developing specific products by focusing on industrial and various niche areas.
With its products that meet international quality standards, accredited laboratories, OEM approvals, R&D studies, and advanced technical infrastructure, Technol leads the Azerbaijani lubricant industry. Its product range and customer portfolio give the company a significant competitive advantage.
Do you have a special message for your stakeholders in Türkiye?
First of all, thank you for your time. Türkiye is a very important and valuable country for us. As in many other fields, we closely follow Turkish producers and companies in the lubricants and chemicals sector, support them and attempt to benefit from their experiences. We send our warm greetings and love to our esteemed Turkish people, brothers and sisters.
About Elvin Hajiyev
Elvin Hajiyev, a young and visionary businessman from Azerbaijan, was born in 1988 and graduated from high school in Baku before moving to the United States for his university education and the United Kingdom for his master’s degree. After studying abroad, he returned to his home country and worked in the food, service, and manufacturing sectors. Mr. Hajiyev realized the Technol project with his partners in 2017 and achieved significant success as the company’s co-founder and CEO. In just five years, Technol has risen to prominence in the Azerbaijani lubricant market, with significant export potential to South Africa and other countries in the region.