It seems that technological changes are coming at us at the speed of, well – technology. From an app to deliver food to your door within minutes of your order, to the latest innovation that keeps your car in its lane while at the same time keeping it a safe distance from the car in front of you. In our world, it’s on-board computers, remote tank monitors and parts inventory management systems. In all cases, the technology was way out in front of the behavior, but eventually those who would benefit from the technology adapted to it and reap the benefits.
Embracing technology will lead to “simpler times”
Although we sometimes like to be nostalgic and think about the “simpler times” in our industry – a handshake was a contract, attrition only happened when a home was sold, and you didn’t have to compete against an on-line discount marketer – the truth is that for the past 50 years, the most successful companies took advantage of innovative technology very soon after it became available.
Many of us are starting to see around the bend as to the power of technology, and we – willingly or begrudgingly – are starting to accept that things are going to be different in 3, 5 and 10 years from now. However, most of what will be “usual and customary” in 5 years is actually available now – if only we could change the way we act. Changes in our behavior are hard to accept, and even harder to force others to implement.
Even the Walmart’s and Starbuck’s of the world took time to adopt new technology
Due to the resistance to change, many in the technology world are looking to surpass the roadblocks and to simply go out and get the job done. The largest retailers used to have inventory sheets on clipboards to track when replacement inventory needed to be ordered. Then there was an automated system that tracked sales at the checkout register and presented a report to the purchasing manager. That was better – but took time to adopt. Now, the purchasing manager – to his or her benefit – is totally skipped over, as the automated inventory systems also act as automated inventory replenishment systems linked directly to suppliers. That is how Walmart, Target, and Starbucks keep supplied.
Technology in the energy industry
Fuel distributors, a/k/a Fuel Dealers, are starting to look at their delivery businesses as inventory management systems. In this case, inventory is the oil in your customers’ tanks, and effective management is ensuring those tanks don’t run out. That is the way we have operated for decades. However, thanks to technology, we can start to bypass some of the human systems (changes in behavior), and realize tremendous savings from operating more efficiently.
The Back-office accounting systems (BOS) that are used in our industry are excellent at what they do with regards to setting up deliveries according to the needs of the individual customer. The relationship between the BOS and the experienced dispatcher is the unique DNA that makes our ecosystem work. However, with the advent and adoption of remote monitoring and routing software, the dispatchers are starting to look better, and BE better.
What’s coming to the energy industry
We see a time in the very near future where these challenges:
- Inventory: when to fill a tank, and how to best utilize your fleet
- Staffing: hard to find drivers and even harder to find dispatchers
- Cost: maintaining and insuring a fleet becomes more expensive each year
These challenges are met by an optimized system that works seamlessly with the BOS and the dispatchers, in the same way that Walmart gets the next shipment of X-Men pajamas (spoken like the grandfather of a 4 year-old) shipped to the right location at the right time, FULLY AUTOMATICALLY.
“Actionable Behavior” is all-too-often not acted upon. That is not a flaw in human nature, it IS human nature. That is why true optimization and automation takes that factor into account and allows you to run your business in more ways that don’t allow you to get in your own way.
Interested in finding new ways to optimize your fuel company? Contact one of Angus Energy’s optimization specialists to discover which options may fit your needs and budget. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us through the website.