We often see the convenience and travel center industry moving toward larger stores and forecourts, adding additional lanes and dispensers to new and existing builds, especially for peak sales periods. For those well-capitalized companies, this is a great initiative. Unfortunately, for smaller regional operators, the cost of forecourt upgrades can be daunting.
However, running FASTER and more-efficient forecourts and, for that matter, FASTER compliance, supply, and maintenance teams, is easily achievable for fuel operators, large or small.
Here are just a few ways to improve your forecourt without major capital investment:
- Improve your dispenser fuel flow to the optimum range. The target goal should 10 gallons per minute for gasoline-based grades and 35-45 gallons per minute for truck diesel-based grades. Underperforming dispensers can drastically reduce your gallon throughput from 25 to 50%, slowing down your lanes and causing backups during peak demand. Innovative software is readily available to help track your transactions and flow rates and make recommendations regarding dispensing positions that are under-performing. Providers may also offer troubleshooting support to help maintenance teams diagnose the true cause of the slowdowns versus trial and error. As you speed up your fuel flow, customers can quickly fuel their vehicles, visit inside of the store, and move on with their day.
- Quickly identify when a dispenser position is no longer transacting and could be out-of-service. Often, throughput can be dramatically diminished when a dispenser is out-of-order and repairs have not been performed. Innovative software is available to notify companies when a dispensing position has not generated sales transactions over a short period of time. This could help identify dispensers in need of investigation and repair. Some software suppliers can also estimate the impact of the downed fueling positions, helping the operator to prioritize the ones to fix first.
- Identifying issues related to manifolded tanks can also be detected using innovative software. By tracking the inventory levels, deliveries, and transactions between the connected tanks, operators can easily view how the tanks are balancing and operating. Some slowdowns occur when the tank siphons are partially-obstructed or a manifold is not performing properly. This can also cause delivery issues when the load does not flow equally between the tanks as expected.
- Track Water-in-tank to ensure that you identify harmful water as it develops or is delivered to the tank. A large amount of down-time can occur once water reaches a certain level, causes product phase separation or contaminates your customers cars. Innovative software is available to quickly inform operators when water levels have reached a certain threshold or have grown from previous days.
- Address serious tank gauge alarms before they become larger issues, resulting in a shutdown of your tanks, fuel systems, or dispensers. Applications are available to notify you online or via email and text when serious issues are occurring in the fuel systems. Quicker resolution can ensure that all your tanks and dispensers are operating optimally.
- Track dispenser meters that may be holding back fuel that may put you in jeopardy of violation and being “red-tagged”. Two to three days or more of downtime could be realized by the time the issue is corrected along with the risk of costly and embarrassing fines. To determine if your meters are working properly, innovative software is available to track the difference between the movement of the dispenser totalizers and the quantity of fuel actually leaving the tanks. Large variances can indicate that meters or blend-rates are not set properly and may need adjusted.
- Audit your deliveries from suppliers, terminals, hauling companies and drivers to ensure your company is getting every drop of fuel you are paying for. Innovative software suppliers can determine your deliveries via net and gross and take transactions during the delivery in order to compute your loads. Then, a comparison can be made between the calculated deliveries and your Bill of Ladings to make sure that large variances or shortages are not occurring. This process can be automated to free up your accounting teams for other tasks. Various metric reports can then be generated to validate your deliveries based on supplier, terminal, hauler, and even drivers.
When it comes to staffing efficiency, here are some additional tips to save you time and money:
- Automate your 30-day compliance and inventory control reporting to free up your teams to tackle other tasks. Software is available to fully-automate compliance reporting and notify your company when compliance issues arise. No longer deal with faxes of ATG tape or driving around to pull manual reports from your tank gauges.
- Work with a company that can merge a disconnected group of newly-acquired stores on different networks into a single online platform quickly. If your company is growing through mergers and acquisitions, work with a software supplier than can connect multiple locations into a single platform when the sites exist on different networks. Unique suppliers have collection methods outside of the use of the company VPN, insuring that customer and credit card data is never jeopardized.
- Automate your inventory level capture to identify tanks getting close to runout or send inventory files into your dispatch software at a specific cadence. Eliminate faxes and emails to keep up with every day inventory level management.
Contact us for a free consultation and to see a demonstration of our system. www.warrenrogers.com.
At Warren Rogers, we focus on the above controllable issues as well as many others. With our online portal, fuelWRAp 3.0, and dedicated analyst support, operators can gain a 360 degree view of their forecourt performance. Our exception-based portal and reports are designed with the user in mind….cutting through the “data noise” and unnecessary graphics, report generation time, and page scrolls of other applications. We also provide you with the impact of dispenser downtime so that your maintenance department can prioritize their repairs based on revenue, profits, and impact to your customers.
fuelWRAp 3.0 is also available on mobile, desktop, and tablet. Each one of the issues noted above can be detected and reported upon with fuelWRAp 3.0. You can learn more at www.warrenrogers.com. Ask for a demo today!
About Warren Rogers Associates
Founded in 1979 by Dr. Warren Rogers, Warren Rogers Associates pioneered the development of Statistical Inventory Reconciliation Analysis (SIRA) as a means of monitoring underground fuel tanks and associated lines. SIRA was certified in accordance with EPA requirements and has been used by petroleum marketers for more than thirty years to provide UST leak detection compliance. Warren Rogers also invented Continual Inventory Reconciliation Analysis (CIRA) for fuel management, which has become the industry standard.
Today, Warren Rogers specializes in statistical analysis and precision fuel system diagnostics for the retail petroleum industry. The Warren Rogers system is fully deployed in the cloud to provide customers with real-time access to fueling data anytime and anyplace. Recent initiatives include the deployment of a secure procurement application for delivery forecasting and product dispatch, the development of KPI Measures of the financial impact of tank system maintenance activities, and advanced delivery audit. In addition, all Warren Rogers solutions are PCI compliant and eliminate any reliance upon the use of a customer’s VPN for access to store devices. Warren Rogers holds numerous U.S., European and Canadian patents for these applications. For more information, please visit www.warrenrogers.com