Whenever I ask the question “do you understand your fuel variance?”, the most common answer I get is “yes”. Unfortunately, that “yes” usually only means “somewhat” or “kind of”.
Understanding your fuel variance is more than just recording a variance in stock. Knowing you have fuel variance is one thing, understanding what is causing it is another.
It can be easy to assume that your fuel variance is normal – especially if it’s consistent. But while it might be easy, it certainly isn’t safe.
Assessing your fuel management system is the first, and most simple, step towards protecting yourself and your site from serious risk, and ensuring you’re in control of your fuel variance once and for all.
What you don’t know will hurt you
More often than not, many operators aren’t concerned about their fuel variance – after all, having discrepancies is common. However, it can also be incredibly risky if you can’t be certain why you’re experiencing a loss and where it is coming from.
It all comes down to your fuel management system – how it works, how you’re using it and what you’re doing with that information.
50% to 60% of operations still rely on dipsticks as part of their fuel management process, leaving themselves open to major OHS risks, an increased risk of human error and glaring blind spots when it comes to wetstock movement.
That’s not to say everyone with an automated system is in a better position. Unintegrated and poorly calibrated systems are far from rare – lulling sites into a false sense of security when they’re really doing little to record stock variance.
Whether you’re using a manual or automatic system, if the system can’t accurately pinpoint the cause of your fuel loss, you automatically risk:
- Damage to your brand
- Site closure/down time
- Loss of revenue
- Loss of fuel through contamination or leak
- Repair costs
- Cost of mitigation or fines
So, how do you say – without doubt – that your fuel management system is working to reduce your stock variance?
It might seem confusing, but when you break it down it can be pretty simple to tell if you’re fuel management system is doing its job properly or not. In fact, there are just six questions you need to ask yourself to find out if you’re at risk.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
While fuel management needs can vary from site to site, there are several common factors which can potentially affect fuel variance at all sites.
We’ve created a simple checklist to help you better understand if your current fuel management system is effectively helping you to monitor your fuel variance, or if it could be doing a better job.
Is your fuel management system right for you?
To help you determine if your system is up to scratch, ask yourself whether your fuel management system answers ‘YES’ to these six important questions:
1. Is your system right for your needs?
Is your system integrated with other site systems? Is it practical and reliable for your site size and needs?
2. Is your system calibrated correctly?
Are the hoses dispensing the correct amount of fuel? Are the dipsticks or ATG’s accurately measuring fuel movements?
3. Do your staff know how to use the system?
Do all staff know how to use and read the system correctly? Are there good processes in place to maintain this behaviour? Are all staff consistently using your system the same way?
4. Is your system correctly recording your stock variance?
Do you have accurate daily stock variance readings? Can you ensure stock variance is being measured consistently every time?
5. Can it tell if you’re experiencing a loss?
Does your system notify you if your fuel system is experiencing abnormal loss/gains?
6. Does your system explain your fuel variance?
Do you have visibility over the cause of your stock variance, whether it be leaks, delivery shortage, over/under dispensing meters, fraud or evaporation?
Concerned that there might be some inefficiencies in your fuel management system? Get the downloadable checklist to share with your team and cover all your bases.
How does your fuel management system stack up?
Your fuel management system ticks all the boxes
If you’re confident in your answers and have a fuel management system in place that is right for you, your site, your staff and your stock variance – congratulations! You have a solid fuel management system in place.
For any boxes left unticked
If you didn’t tick off every question with confidence, there is room to improve your fuel management system. So, what are your options?
Taking the next step to better fuel management
Upgrade your current system
If you’re set on keeping your current system, it’s worth upgrading it so it meets all the requirements of the checklist. This includes:
- Ensuring your equipment is in good working order and calibrated correctly
- Taking a look at your daily procedures to make sure they’re sound and producing accurate results
- Training staff properly and regularly so they know how to use the equipment and to follow procedures
Upgrading to an automatic system that integrates with the rest of your systems is the final option, and one of the best when it comes to accurate and real time understanding of fuel variance. This is a great option if you:
- Have high environmental risk
- Need to lower your risk profile due to site location
- Have an above normal stock variance
- Are undertaking another site system upgrade
- Want to upgrade to the latest technology
If you decide that an automatic upgrade is best for your site, there are a few things you need to know before you make the switch. In next month’s blog, we’ll be discussing how to go about making the move successfully.
If you need expert advice about your best fuel management option, or are interested in upgrading your fuel management system, EMS are the leading experts in fuel technology. Click here to get in touch with us today.