BOSS Lubricants has established itself as a top player in Canada’s lubricants industry by honouring the company’s core values implemented when it was founded in 1992: providing quality products and superior service at fair prices. For 30 years, this family-owned and operated business has grown as it navigated the rollercoaster of boom-and-bust economies and evolved with the times to remain on the cutting edge of the industry.
From its inception, BOSS has been proudly Canadian owned, offering Canadian-made products that work in the diverse and often extreme Canadian climate. BOSS possesses an impressive line of products including gas and diesel engine oils, gear oils, tractor fluids, transmission fluids, hydraulic oils, synthetics, greases, coolants and various environmentally friendly products.
BOSS prides itself on providing a one-stop shopping experience for its customers. BOSS can fill tanker trucks, drums and totes as well as one-litre, five-litre and 20-litre pails. All products are tested by a third-party lab to ensure high quality standards are maintained on every product they sell.
This Trans-Canada operation wasn’t always so prolific. It started out as a small family endeavour, with Murray handling local sales and operations while his wife, Arlene, took care of invoicing and accounting. Their sons, Jarrett and Brad, helped on weekends and holidays, learning the business from the ground up. With Murray’s strong work ethic and knowledge of the industry garnered after two decades with major companies including Turbo and Texaco, the company grew and with it Murray’s reputation for quality and integrity.
In 1996, to get where he wanted to go, Murray welcomed in silent partner Bill Dickson, whose business and industry expertise helped steer the company to achieve the organic growth and success Murray was striving toward.
“Bill was a 14-year partner with my dad and was one of the key spokes in the wheel that gave us the experience, knowledge and financial help we needed,” says Jarrett Flegel, president of BOSS Lubricants.
This support and guidance allowed BOSS to find its long time and current headquartered location at 6303 30th Street SE in Calgary. To accommodate its growth over the 30 years, BOSS has continued to expand its operations in the facility by taking over bays in the building as other tenants have left.
“We came into this building in 1996 and we thought, ‘Wow, it’s too big for what our needs are’,” says Jarrett. “Now, so many years later, we have bought the building and occupy the entire space.”
BOSS has enjoyed an incredible impact on both the industry and the community. Over its 30-year tenure in business, the company has been active in the community, proudly giving back to the communities they serve. Murray has been a 22-year member of Rotary Calgary (Stampede Park), performing large community projects throughout the year. BOSS has also been a significant supporter of Youth Unlimited, which provides youth with access to fundamental work and life skills and has supported area food banks to help those in need.
Throughout the years, BOSS has also supported various sports and charity events including cancer foundations and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the company is a major contributor to the Gordie Howe Cares Foundation in support of the fight against Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In three decades, BOSS has supported many groups and causes in the places in which it does business, and it has grown to eight branch locations to better serve its clients across the country, all managed by the talented team at its headquarters in Calgary.
“We continue to keep expanding and growing our company. We have branches in Vancouver, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Regina, Brandon and Toronto while establishing 150 distributors across Canada,” says Murray Flegel, founder and CEO of BOSS Lubricants.
As BOSS continued to add branch locations, it slowly added more delivery trucks to its fleet and delivery infrastructure to make it one of the largest in Western Canada. The transportation side now boasts 27 tandem delivery trucks across the branches that perform local and outside city deliveries, and the fleet includes three semi-trucks that deliver stock trailers to the individual branches and distributors. This strong delivery infrastructure has only further fueled BOSS’s growth as it opens new opportunities and extends the company’s market reach for its products.
“One of the important things is that it’s been growth from expansion and entering new jurisdictions, new territories and new industries. We’ve grown from coast to coast now through our own branches and distribution network that allow us to reach anywhere in Canada,” says Steve Jakubec, general manager and controller for BOSS Lubricants.
During this period of unprecedented growth and expansion BOSS has had to face the challenge of ensuring that its products continue to be of the highest quality going forward while also ensuring sufficient storage space that could facilitate increased sales. Taking on this challenge, BOSS initiated several projects and upgrades in the Calgary location.
“In the last five years we have initiated multiple upgrades and renovations in our main location here in Calgary. Adding additional storage tanks, blending capacity and becoming ISO 9001:2015 certified has enabled us to maintain our high level of product quality and ultimately take on more sales volume,” says Brad Flegel, vice-president of Operations for BOSS Lubricants.
These upgrades and renovations at the Calgary location have allowed BOSS to double the amount of private labelling with OEMs and retailers it has done over the past five years. All manufacturing, blending and distribution is done out of the Calgary location, and as the company sales volume has grown so has its need for increased tank storage capacity and space.
Today BOSS can boast more than 100 tanks which provide a whopping total of 3.5 million litres of product storage capacity. This large storage capacity allows BOSS to have ample supply on hand for any of the high-quality products it provides to its customer base all within a controlled indoor environment while attempting to protect its customers from unnecessary price increases.
“Especially in the last couple years, there have been a lot of product shortages and we’ve been able to get ahead of it and try to build a buffer for our customers to make sure we don’t run them out of product,” says Steve.
From end to end, the renovated warehouse, plant and office reflects the image BOSS is working hard to embody as a company: professional, well organized, state of the art and pristine. BOSS has been rebranding and elevating the image of the company not only to customers but also to staff. The management team works hard to create a great environment for staff to increase productivity as well as morale and employee satisfaction.
“We believe our staff should have a great working environment, a safer working environment, a more positive working environment because we feel we owe it to our staff, and they will become more productive because of it,” says Brad.
To support the company’s commitment to quality, efficiency and to doing business better, BOSS became ISO-9001:2015 certified in 2017. In establishing the ISO manual and customizing the company’s platform, BOSS has created processes and procedures for quality assurance while adding productivity metrics from within the ISO framework that help management gather valuable data points. After the long hours put in by the senior management team and Chad Watson, BOSS’s Human Resources manager and safety officer, and years of documentation and fine-tuning the program, the team is extremely pleased to see the benefits of ISO compliance that reach beyond quality management benchmarks and boosting profitability.
“ISO is a custom-tailored platform around the company’s most important core goals: 1) Product Quality, 2) Customer Service and Support and 3) Workplace Safety and Environmental Stewardship. ISO has been great for the company and has changed how we do business and made us better overall,” says Brad.
This reinforces the company’s focus on quality as a core value, and to achieve quality products requires quality people. The Flegels know they have the best in the business working for them and in turn take care of them and treat them like family. The strong culture and positive atmosphere throughout the company keeps people engaged and invested in the work they do at BOSS. It has maintained a small-business feel despite its large client base and workload, and the phone is answered by a person not an automated system or a call centre. People come first, and both the staff and the customers feel the difference that makes. Relationships are key, and senior management knows everyone personally in the office and fosters in-person relationships with clients. That has led to a list of long-time customers as well as long-tenured employees.
“Some of our employees have been with us for 15 and 20 years. The tendency is for employees to stay long-term. We’re really proud of that,” says Murray. “We have five-, 10- and 15-year employment awards. We’re giving away more awards this year than we ever have before,” Jarrett adds.
In the end, the staff make the company successful, and the management team is proud to have such amazing people representing them day in and day out. Their knowledge, dedication, detail to quality, reliability and professionalism have earned the company its stellar reputation in the industry and it is what attracts customers and partners to do business with BOSS. Thanks to that reputation, in 2018 BOSS became an authorized distributor for Shell Canada’s lubricant line, which allowed them to sell Shell’s products to its customers.
Then in April 2020, BOSS’s relationship with Shell expanded as it started performing DFOA (Delivery For Own Account), delivering product to Shell’s customers throughout Saskatchewan and southern Alberta.
“We were able to create new revenue streams utilizing our established infrastructure. Basically, we started delivering litre one when they declared a global pandemic,” says Steve.
Delivery and its relationship with Shell have become important business opportunities for BOSS and a feather in the company’s cap to have a strong association with an industry leader like Shell. It is also appealing and convenient for BOSS’s clients to have extensive product offerings all in one place.
“What sets us apart is our service and product menu,” says Jarrett. “Now that we’ve brought on Shell and Mag 1’s product portfolio and expanded our own product portfolio, we have over 700 lubricant products we can offer customers – most of our competitors would have 100 to 200.”
BOSS has grown in an ever-evolving industry for the past 30 years, but its business model has remained consistent – ongoing investment in its technology, staff and relationships with customers as it provides top quality products and unbeatable service. The team is celebrating three decades of service in the industry, but they are not done yet. BOSS Lubricants will continue to expand its offerings, grow the business and elevate the branding of its impressive product portfolio into the future.
We are proud to say we’ve been in business for 30 years, but we aren’t done yet. BOSS Lubricants continues to evolve, expand and improve so we can help our customers do the same.
It has been an exciting journey since we opened our doors in 1992, and we couldn’t have done it without all the dedicated employees and valued customers who have supported BOSS Lubricants along the way. On behalf of the team at BOSS, I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to our customers for their trust and confidence in us over the years and for helping us become what we are today.
We are grateful to be a leader in the industry and we look forward to continuing to offer our great service and unbeatable product quality as we transition into the next 30 years of business serving customers across Canada.
Founder and CEO, BOSS Lubricants