transforming retail petroleum

Russell Dupuy 30 Jul 2018 By Russell Dupuy

Digital transformation: A sneak peek at the next technology wave for fuel management.

Technology in fuel management has already taken the industry places that were inconceivable 20 years ago.

Gone are the days of manually dipping fuel tanks. Today we can check fuel tank levels almost without lifting a finger.

But today’s technology, as far as it’s taken us, is only the beginning, and the future may already be here.

What about the issues that still pose a challenge to fuel sites in terms of day-to-day operations and compliance? How will the next wave of fuel technology solve those?

First: The limitations of the current industry approach

Many of today’s fuel management solutions allow you to monitor their ongoing status through online processing in the cloud. Data is sent from a fuel tank to an online server, available for us to access at our whim.

This gives us a powerful way to capture, store and collaborate on fuel information wherever we are.

It’s certainly a world ahead of the old dipstick method. But it only goes so far…

  • Relying solely on the cloud isn’t enough to cut it. A lack of connection between different cloud systems can create vulnerabilities for data loss. For example, the cracks between a monitoring system for your fuel tanks and the monitoring system for a point-of-sale may not be delivering uniform data about your fuel consumption.
  • Cloud monitoring is also purely reactive. You see that you have a leak in one of your tanks and then you react to fix it – infinitely faster than in the past, but still incurring some loss and environmental risk.

In order to stay compliant, avoid risk, prevent fuel loss and operate at peak efficiency, fuel sites need complete visibility and control over their operations. Even today’s technology presents continuing hurdles in ensuring remote fuel data is accurate and accessible in real-time.

Fortunately, the next wave of technology is already tackling these hurdles head-on…

Fuel Management

The future of fuel management will be all about addressing the limitations of the past. 

In two words: digital transformation.

This means a total transformation of the petroleum retail environment – marrying the physical and the digital to make fuel management software truly proactive.

A quick explanation: digital transformation harnesses the ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’ enabling live sensory data feeds to the Cloud that can then unlock the power of  three technologies – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning (DL):

  • AI essentially takes a human process and completes it in a way that is less error-prone.
  • ML takes this a step further and actually makes adjustments based on the history of changes that it has made or changing environments.
  • DL uses data gained from many separate machines operating in many separate locations. Is it based on high fidelity, high resolution and high frequency data that creates new data abstracts.

Though this technology may sound advanced, digital transformation is actually already here and is set to revolutionise your fuel site.

How can this technology apply to your fuel site today?

One example: the issue of hose flow rate…

Digital transformation enables predictive analytics to proactively determine whether or not a pump is delivering the right amount at the right flow rate.

This is achieved by establishing behaviour patterns for each hose, so you can tell if the hose is not performing within the parameters of its own behaviour.

You can then isolate issues that affect compliance – like customers being under delivered petrol at the pump or the potential existence of fuel leaks. This then allows for the instantaneous detection of fuel leaks via the analysis of pump behaviour – a process which might take up to three weeks with cloud monitoring.

By knowing this behaviour, you also remove the loss of income that comes with over-dispensing.

Another example: digital transformation can also provide predictive analytics for fuel pricing. With it, you can determine the impact of pricing strategies on not only your business but also your compliance.  Imagine knowing the effect of moving your fuel price up or down 5 cents long before you actually make the change.

Good news: That future is actually here.

Fuelsuite is leading the charge towards digital transformation.

It is creating a technology platform which is truly proactive in preparation for the emerging landscape of petroleum retail. It’s a platform which:

  • Is agnostic to any piece of equipment – it doesn’t rely on multiple cloud based fuel management systems.
  • Completely removes the proprietary nature of fuel site equipment as a factor in fuel monitoring.

And the opportunity to drive digital transformation doesn’t just end at the fuel pump.

More fuel sites are seeking predictive analytics for other parts of their business – from pie machines to refrigeration and lighting, all the way through to leakage in piping systems.

Fuelsuite technology can be integrated into all of these as well.

Digital transformation may seem like a futuristic ideal, but a great deal of it can already be harnessed for your business today.

For more information about the future of fuel, you can download our e-book here.

If you want to bring the future to your fuel sites, get in touch with EMS today or give us a call on 1300 367 783 and learn how you can implement Fuelsuite in your business.