Remote Fuel Management solution verifies deliveries, catches thieves, places orders automatically and much more.
Powelectrics Ltd., a leading British, Midlands based developer and manufacturer of customized embedded electronic devices and solutions describe how their wire-free GSM/GPRS capable telemetry device has been successfully deployed to remotely monitor the level in fuel storage tanks, providing a range of benefits to fuel customers as well as their suppliers.
With the cost of fuel continually increasing the need to manage fuel stocks has never been greater, and when the business is reliant on delivery vehicles then the volume of fuel used and fuel availability is critical to ensure you continue to hit service levels and create value for your customers.
A premier national mail service have over 250 depots scattered across the UK and with fuel being purchased and managed centrally, there was a daily requirement for the depots to provide manual stock levels so they could order in time. When deliveries did occur there was no way of making sure the volume matched up with the invoice, or that it happened at the right time. The depots are busy places and it was no good if tankers arrived to fill the tanks when the vans were all filling up ready to go out on their rounds.
It was impossible to know what was being lost to petty or planned theft and also to know what the stock levels were at the end of each month for accounting purposes. At the end of the year, losses and unaccounted for fuel stood at £5M.
The suppliers were also facing challenges, with last minute requests to make deliveries as well as the other extreme of turning up to fill a tank and there not being enough spare capacity.
The Metron2 Provided the Solution
The solar-powered Metron2 enabled a simple installation with no need to go to the expense of providing mains power. The in built display made testing very quick and easy and doubled up as the local stock level gauge. The Metron2 uses the GSM mobile phone network and therefore facilitates low cost communications with no need to install expensive and troublesome phone lines.
The hydrostatic level sensor was easily dropped into the tank using existing openings and provided a highly accurate volume reading. The sensor compensated for the changes in air pressure, accommodated different tank sizes and shapes and provided a very robust measurement.
This setup transmitted to the server the volume of fuel in the tank as frequently as every ten minutes. This data provided the basis of various management reports as well as automated actions such as the raising of purchase orders, communicating with sites about deliveries and also an anti theft alarm.
The data was interfaced to the fuel suppliers routing & scheduling software, with visibility provided to the client so they knew when deliveries were going to take place and even which vehicle and driver were going to perform them.
The system interfaced with multiple financial packages to create purchase orders, invoices and audit functionality.
A “days to empty” report provides a quick visual check that tanks aren’t going to run out.
This is a great example of how suppliers and customers can co-operate to create significant efficiency improvements leading to lower costs for both parties.
- Errors have been found with the invoicing and credits issued (£20k in a single month).
- Both petty and planned theft has been detected and thieves caught with integration into a 24-hour alarm response centre. An average of two thefts a month have been foiled with a number of arrests.
- Deliveries are optimised to suit both the fuel supplier and customer reducing logistical costs.
- Data collection, analysis and management is automated releasing 3 people from manually collecting and allowing the customer to work more strategically with their fuel assets.
- KPI’s are easily monitored by the customer and the supplier ensuring contractual compliance and increased efficiencies.