The Customer Challenge

The customer’s manually based systems were failing to capture all the volume of fuel being dispensed from the customer’s home base tank. As volumes per month were increasing this became a concern for our customer, as administrators were spending hours chasing down erroneous entries and recording, as well as being unable to establish any use analysis.

To compound the challenge, more than one branch was using this tank creating a requirement for inter branch reconciliation to ensure that the correct branch, plant, job and use data was being captured.

How we helped the customer

The business site uses a combination of heavy trucks and local plants as well as different divisions through the tank, with an average monthly volume of around 35,000 litres prior to engagement, which was calculated on the bulk delivery records not the dispensing records.

The site’s 15,000L bulk storage tank had a single manual Type 42 meter relying on manual transaction capture via pen and paper. It didn’t have any secure functions to prevent fraud, other than the pump being padlocked each night. Weekly tank dips provided information (approximate) on volume of fuel in the tank, and this highlighted the inability of the users to accurately record data as discrepancy between the dip and dispensed amount recorded was significant.

Using the FlowInfo cloud-based software solution combined with leading data capture technology, every litre of fuel used by the site was recorded and captured, even via the business fuel cards.

Outcome

The introduction of the FlowInfo Static Smart Meter technology solution initiated instant business oversight of the bulk tank to maintain control of the data. After a short training session with the drivers and operators, they could operate the system with ease and enter the required data into the meter using the keypad quickly and easily.

Any unaccounted for fuel (by litres) was quickly brought under control, and plant/vehicle efficiency was able to begin to be monitored and tracked.

The Benefits

By utilising the FlowInfo technology solution the customer’s business has improved accountability by:

  • Capturing all transactions through the tank: Our FlowInfo technology solution does not allow the pump to operate without capturing a minimum of 3 cross checked data points.
  • Accurate capture of the volume of fuel into plants and vehicles has enabled the customer to track efficiency and, in some cases, operator performance.
  • Allocation for fuel to each division is automated, no longer manually accounted for, resulting in reduced administration time by a combined 56 hours per month across two administrator roles.
  • Virtual elimination of unaccounted for fuel (direct from tank) and the Branch has the capability to track actual plant performance on any individual contract.
  • The plant/vehicle overfill report showed some loss by a spillage and/or filling fuel cans – in some cases the filling of cans was legitimate, in others it was not resulting in capture of business fraud.

Cost Benefit

The customer has seen significant cost benefits not just from fuel savings but also staff and administration time, through being able to manage the home base tank accurately. As a result, the customer has been able to embark on a maintenance programme for efficiency of their assets and implement a driver education programme for fuel reduction whilst operating and driving the business vehicles.

The reduction of unaccounted for fuel, estimated at 8,000L (approx. $8,200/month or close to $ 100k per annum) more than covered the cost of the technology solution. Unaccounted for fuel meant that fuel was not being billed on to the customer or was ‘lost’ fuel. The reduction in ‘wasted’ administration hours has improved productivity in other areas for the admin staff resulting in faster job sheet processing and more accurate invoicing to their customers.

As the FlowInfo Static Smart Meter can be managed remotely through the Internet via Wi-Fi or through wireless 3G/4G connectivity, any changes of a temporary nature, for example a loan truck while the customer’s owned truck is being repaired, can be added to the system and updated almost immediately. All transactions at the site were updated to the cloud-based server within an average of four hours after the transaction had occurred, making ‘real-time’ monitoring available to the client for the first time.

The Future

Working with the customer to look at their business holistically to support them with technology and data management solutions to manage their fuel, alongside a reduction of their outgoing costs and administration time has resulted in a positive outcome for our customer in the long term.