insights

Russell Dupuy 29 May 2019 By Russell Dupuy

Demystifying fuel loss through integrated wetstock management

Over the last couple of blogs, we’ve spoken a lot about the performance of your fuel management system, and how to go about improving it. But often I find people aren’t very likely to make a huge change if they can’t see a reason WHY.

Because it’s so common for fuel loss to only be judged as acceptable or unacceptable (depending on the amount), many don’t see the value in fully integrated wetstock management systems.

And those that do, often don’t have the right knowledge to implement a system that can deliver the fuel loss insights they need.

It’s important to firstly understand why fuel loss is such a big deal, and why measuring it is simply not enough to keep you profitable, compliant and reliable. From here, you can understand both the benefits and limitations of automated systems, and how to ensure yours is going to explain the unexplained – rather than raise more questions.

When is a loss not a loss? The importance of identifying fuel variance

When it comes to fuel, why you’re experiencing a loss is just as important as identifying a discrepancy in the first place. That’s because some losses carry consequences other than direct profit loss, and can’t just be built into pricing and forgotten about.

There are five common areas of fuel loss, all have different causes, associated risks and consequences.

These points alone should make it clear why simply labelling fuel loss ‘acceptable’ or ‘unacceptable’ is an inadequate approach, and incredibly risky.

While the deep costs associated with fuel loss are problematic, it’s not the only consequence you should be wary of.

It’s important to consider the costs of:

  • Fines from regulatory bodies
  • Reputational damage
  • Environmental harm
  • Untrustworthy suppliers or staff
  • Physical loss of stock

Automation isn’t the (only) answer

Ok, so fuel loss might be a bit more serious and complex than first anticipated. But you’ve got an ATG and all sorts of other equipment on site – you’re prepared for an unaccounted fuel loss… right?

The short answer is no.

While an automated system offers benefits that far outweigh manual processes, it’s not necessarily going to be a magic fix on its own. You need to consider the limitations of relying purely on your ATG:

A lack of industry-wide protocols

It’s very rare for your equipment to be completely standardised – especially across multiple sites. Your fuel sites will have a mixture of equipment from different manufacturers. With no standard protocol existing within the industry, these pieces will be unable to be integrated or ‘communicate’ with each other. Therefore, they run in isolation, and fail to deliver a ‘full picture’ view of your fuel management.

Forgoing future function for today’s price

If your tender specs for equipment is generic, likely the equipment a manufacturer will provide will be generic, too. If you aren’t clear about exactly what you want and need, and fail to put serious consideration into the required future scalability of the asset, you will likely be tempted to compromise these features for the short-term focus on price.

A bare minimum attitude

It’s commonly accepted that a certain percentage of the fuel you sell is unexplainable loss, and is recorded as a loss-gain in the business. Sticking to what you know, crossing your fingers and going about business as usual is tempting, and still all too common across the industry.

While these issues have all been generally accepted, changes in the industry, including retail competition and external compliance pressures, are driving improvements to wetstock management and business bottom lines.

The problem is, few retailers have the granularity in their systems to get a clear view on where they stand.

Gain a new outlook on wetstock management

Being able to see the big picture is the only way you can truly explain your fuel loss, and avoid the costly consequences. To achieve this, you need to do away with the ‘bare minimum’ approach and consider what is required to identify and decrease fuel loss discrepancies.

This includes the ability to see:

  • Where your fuel loss is coming from
  • Exactly if and when it starts to differ from normal, in real time
  • Why it’s happening and what is causing it

Automation offers some great benefits to your wetstock management and hasn’t gone to waste just because in isolation it can restrict you. It just needs a bit of help.

In order to gain competitive advantages, meet expected compliance requirements and, most importantly, properly manage and account for your fuel loss, you need an integrated wetstock management solution.

Implementing a wetstock management system allows you to unlock the potential of your individual equipment. Integrating your existing technology to source as much accurate and relevant data as possible means never being left in the dark on fuel loss.

On top of demystifying fuel loss, an integrated wetstock management system also provides:

  • Compliance – knowing where and why something is going on means the ability to fix it before a fine arrives
  • Real time alerts – take immediate action on any issue as soon as it happens to minimise risk
  • Reduced maintenance costs – know where a problem is occurring and how bad it is, eliminating unnecessary works
  • Perpetual stock management – know exactly how much wetstock is on hand at all times and when to order more

Solve the mystery of fuel loss with Fuelsuite

Fuelsuite is a wetstock management system built specifically to fill the gaps in automation equipment and site knowledge. It brings together your fuel inventory, reconciliation, logistics, price and ATG alarms within one fuel management solution.

EMS is the creator of Fuelsuite, and a leading provider of fuel management solutions globally. If you’re looking for the tools to effectively manage your fuel loss and fuel management systems, click here to contact EMS.