We all know that fuel is a changeable and oftentimes unpredictable product. Fuel volume measurement is the most obvious and essential of tasks for any fuel station or carrier transport. Yet many have not updated their methods in years, still relying on non-digital tools.
The old “dip-stick” is still somehow an accepted way to measure fuel levels — even though it is about as accurate as measuring the width of a hotel lobby with your feet. Unsurprisingly, this method makes it impossible to ensure you are monitoring your stock levels reliably.
At best, this can have serious impact on revenue. At worst, it can even be dangerous.
This is especially true for fuel in the transit process, where it is most vulnerable to variances.
Why variances in fuel tank measurement occur
When working with and transporting the product every day, it is sometimes easy to forget that fuel is a chemical with unusual and sensitive behaviour. This is especially true in regards to temperature:
- Colder temperatures cause fuel to shrink. When transported through cold weather before arriving at a station will appear to have less fuel than when it left. However without accurate variance measures, you won’t know if that’s the cause of the variance. Or if it could be something more problematic like theft during transport.
- Warm temperatures cause excessive evaporation. Likewise, a transport in warm weather may expand volume on the way. But inaccurate variance measurement will be unable to tell you if the cause was heat — or something more sinister like leakage.
Differences in fuel levels may be detected and reported to head office. But the cause of these variances, or even the extent of them, remain a mystery. They could be small, and simply due to temperature changes. Or they could be significant, due to serious problems that you can’t afford to ignore.
Out-of-date fuel volume measurement methods pose serious risks
Differences in fuel tank records between transit stops can add up vastly over the course of a year and incur huge monetary losses. And the cost of using inadequate technology is more than just monetary:
- Inaccurate sales data — without accurate fuel levels, head office can’t determine how much fuel is being sold, and when a new delivery is required.
- Customer dissatisfaction — inaccurate inventory could potentially cause you to run out of fuel, leading to customer dissatisfaction and an inability to meet customer needs.
- Invoice disputes — suppliers and fuel site managers can be locked in arguments over who is responsible for the variance.
- Undetected theft or leakage — not knowing the cause of fuel loss means that fuel can continue to be stolen or leaked without your knowledge.
- Fire hazards — overfilled tanks are a safety hazard, and can cause disastrous fires and explosions.
Even if a dipstick was somehow an accurate method of fuel inventory management, the manual process of measuring, recording and transcribing fuel information — calling head office to report, and head office recording that number — allows for several stages of error. It is also an intensely time-consuming and intrusive process.
Ultimately, it’s an unreliable and outdated process that poses unacceptable cost and risk for a contemporary business.
How to gain control over fuel volume measurement
One thing is for sure: it’s time to ditch the dipstick. Ensuring accurate tank level monitoring is the first step in gaining control over delivery variances.
The second step is to know the reason for variances. A system is required that measures:
- Contraction or expansion due to temperature;
- The occurrence of theft;
- Leak detection and volume, and;
- The occurrence of water leeching into tanks.
And a system that records all of this efficiently and digitally can also save significant time and money.
Gain control over fuel volume measurement with Fuelsuite
Fuelsuite, the latest petrol station management system from EMS, offers total visibility over your sites — and guarantees accuracy in all parameters of fuel volume measurement.
Fuelsuite is a fuel management system that provides an essential delivery variance analysis using real time data.
It not only reports how much was lost (or gained) in transit. It also identifies if the variance was normal, or the result of something going wrong. This includes recording temperatures at various stages of the journey.
Fuelsuite also gives you the ability to reconcile the volume of a fuel tank against an invoice — providing objective evidence that eliminates invoice disputes.
Fuelsuite not only offers all of these benefits — but it offers them at an enterprise level. If an error or variance is detected, head office can immediately investigate directly, saving several hours of additional work.
Ultimately, Fuelsuite can save your business significant time and money. To gain accuracy and control across all your sites’ fuel tank measurement, contact EMS today.