insights

Russell Dupuy 29 Jan 2018 By Russell Dupuy

Dangers of the dipstick: How to ensure reliable, safe fuel inventory management

Accurate fuel inventory information is the backbone of a successful fuel station business.

Knowing what’s going on in your tank decreases the risk of profit loss – protects your business from price-related theft – and ensures prices are compliant.

But, if inventory is so important, are its measurements being taken seriously enough?

Ditch the dipstick

Here we arrive at the problem that is the “dipstick” – an age-old tool used for managing fuel stock levels.

As we all know, using a dipstick involves manually dipping a long rod into a tank to determine the amount of fuel inside.

It takes half an hour to do the job right, and it’s a dirty job. You come back smelling awful, especially when handling diesel.

And most service stations do this at 6:00 in the morning or 11:00 at night so as to not interrupt the daily operations of the site. Both highly undesirable times. It could be raining. It could be dark.

So no worker really likes doing it.

But not only is it an inconvenient job that no one wants to do. It’s also a dangerous and unreliable method of fuel inventory control.

Don’t put your workers at risk

Workers are exposed to hydrocarbons as they bend down to check tanks. And they breathe in toxins as the tank is opened to pull the dipstick out.

Injured and sick workers, or dealing with a Workplace Health and Safety lawsuit, is the last thing anybody needs.

Not only is it unsafe. It doesn’t work.

When the only way you can see inside your tank is by manually inserting a measuring rod, holding it at exactly the right angle for every tank for every dip, human error is expected.

Is it any surprise that, statistically, transcription errors run at a whopping 12%?

What’s most surprising is that this outdated method is still used widely today – especially when faster, safer and more reliable methods are readily available.

Some organisations have upgraded their dipsticks to Automatic Tank Gauges (ATGs), which measure the fuel inventory from inside the tank. While ATGs are certainly safer and more automated than the dipstick, they are rarely integrated; someone still has to go and manually print off the dip, and transcribe it, so you are still in danger of irregularities.

Know what’s going on in your tank

Knowing exactly what’s going on in your tank is invaluable to business success.

Switching to a digital fuel inventory method decreases risk and increases reliability. It provides:

  • Safe, hands-off capture of inventory information
  • Accurate and easily accessible measurement of critical tank data
  • Results based on real-time data

Being able to access all your critical tank data in real-time also means that if a variance does occur, you do not have to waste time double-checking your inventory measurements.

Manage fuel inventory at your fingertips

Get 100% fuel inventory accuracy every 30 seconds with Fuelsuite®.

With Fuelsuite®, fuel inventory data is retrieved from the ATGs and updated regularly to the Fuelsuite® application, which is accessible from all computers and most mobile and tablet devices.

Fuelsuite® updates inventory data every 30 seconds. You have accurate, up-to-date data at your desktop, at your fingertips. With no need for hazardous or unreliable methods.

Ultimately, Fuelsuite® can save your business significant time and money, eliminate a hazardous and unpleasant task and make your workplace safe. To gain accuracy and control across all your sites’ fuel inventory measurement, contact EMS today.