Fuel Management: More Than a Terminal
POSTED on November 1st, 2016 by Reza Tavassoli
When people think of fuel management systems (FMS), the first thing that usually comes to mind is some kind of terminal at the pump identifying users and vehicles via cards, key tags, and ID numbers punched on a keypad. In other words, they think of what is mostly the control aspect of a FMS. Although control is an important dimension of such a system, there needs to be more going on than that.
Consider this: how do you know whether or not one of your fuel tanks is leaking? What about theft? Although you have controls in place, it is not impossible that fuel is being syphoned directly from fuel tanks or tanker trucks. Are people recording all fuel deliveries as they should? Are the different types of fuel being ordered on time, allowing fleet operations to go on uninterrupted?
In order to catch discrepancies caused by the above scenarios (and others) and make sure that fuel is delivered in a timely manner, you need to reconcile the quantities of fuel that should be in the tanks with the quantities that physically are in the tanks, and always have a crystal clear idea of your tank levels.
You have now entered the world of fuel inventory management, and Coencorp’s Fuel Inventory Management module is here to welcome you.
Proper fuel inventory management is an absolute must when it comes to minimizing quantities unaccounted for. SiteManager’s Inventory module makes the entire process easy and accurate, leaps and bounds beyond any manual method. Reconciliation reports, period closures, and fuel costing are a breeze, thanks to the sophisticated yet easy to use Inventory module.
Paint a Picture
As Coencorp’s FuelZone System already handles fueling transactions (through its Fuel Distribution Management module), it is a breeze for it to take the physical measures of tank levels and use them to generate inventory reconciliation reports. This basic accounting practice can paint a picture of what goes on with the fuel, and potentially expose some serious issues.
If the difference between physical and theoretical levels of fuel is beyond a certain percentage (roughly 5% in the case of tank level measurements taken manually and 1% when using an electronic gauging system), then the matter warrants closer attention. There could be a leak in one of the tanks. Perhaps fuel has been syphoned out of one or more tanks. Maybe there is something wrong with the gauging system or the tank charts used to calculate volumes. Could employees be neglectful when it comes to recording deliveries of fuel?
The point is this: inventory reconciliation is an important tool in detecting the presence of one or more fuel related issues, and SiteManager’s Inventory module is just what the doctor ordered to generate those essential reconciliation reports.
Adhere to Regulations
For those who own underground tanks, periodic reconciliation reports are not only a best practice in terms of accounting, but also required by law. The specifics will vary from place to place, but the idea is always the same: show data indicating that your tanks are not leaking environmentally harmful fuel into the ground. Regulatory agencies will usually view discrepancies of more than X% occurring more than Y days in a row as a sign that there is a problem, with “X” and “Y” varying depending on where you are.
Coencorp’s FuelZone system can directly interface with your fuel gauging system in order to automatically generate those periodic reports, and automatically email them to recipients of your choice. This way, you save on the administrative labor of periodically producing reconciliation reports while remaining in line with the environmental rules and regulations in your neck of the woods.
If a Tree Falls in a Forest...
Speaking of tank leaks, gauging systems usually have alarms in case such leaks occur. For those to be useful, however, one needs to be onsite in order to see them and react. As 24/7 on-site presence tends to be a rare thing, Coencorp’s Fuel Inventory module features a function that pushes tank alarms by email and SMS to the appropriate recipients. In a tank leak scenario, reaction time is absolutely crucial as soil decontamination can be extremely costly.
Get It When You Need It
Coencorp’s Inventory module can send an email and/or text message to recipients of your choice when tank levels reach certain levels.
This way, you are sure that suppliers are notified when time comes to order more fuel. This works even better when Coencorp’s FuelZone is interfaced with a gauging system because the whole process becomes automated, from tank level readings to fuel deliveries, as the Inventory module can detect deliveries using tank probe readings.
The Inventory module also features period closures, which essentially serve as a reset button. Once a period is closed, all discrepancies and fuel costs are attributed to the period (the time between one period closure and the next), and you get a fresh start.
Period closures are useful because the segregation of inventory data and reports to their corresponding periods allows for easier high level analyses (pertaining to fuel costs, consumptions, etc.), helping management make inventory related decisions with a clear picture of what goes on period to period. Also, if reconciliation reports lead to finding a problem and with a possible solution, period closures allow administrators and controllers to see whether or not the solution had the desired effect.
Seeing Is Believing
Of course, I can go on and on about how useful FuelZone’s Fuel Inventory Management module is, but nothing beats the back and forth of a live presentation. So please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss fuel inventory management, and how Coencorp can help make it a walk in the park.
Reza Tavassoli, MBA
(866) 263-6267 ext. 205