What you need to know in order to stop fuel theft for good.

Technology is a crucial component of efficient fuel management systems. Without it, you may experience more shutdowns, more leaks, and more problems. 

When you’re forced to shut down a fuel tank, management immediately worries about lost fuel sales. But the full impact goes far beyond lost revenue at the pump: When customers have a bad experience with your store, you lose an unknown number of sales that can be difficult to quantify and even more difficult to combat.  

But how do you know if you have the right systems in place or if you could be doing better? To answer that question, we surveyed convenience stores on their fuel tank monitoring and management systems and what motivates or hinders their tech decisions. 

You can find Titan Cloud's full State of The Fuel Industry report for 2022 here for more great insights.

What Motivates C-Stores to Adopt Technology 

It should come as no surprise that most convenience stores reported that they adopt more technology to increase efficiency. When asked how they plan to achieve this goal, industry leaders told us they plan to pursue better tank monitoring, smarter alarm monitoring, and additional compliance management tools. As such, we see in the survey that these are also the most common technological investments businesses have made this year respectively. 

These areas are some of the most vital to convenience store operations and often come with the largest fines when something goes amiss (not to mention the potential news headlines that your business risks with an environmental spill). It’s not a huge surprise that companies are willing to invest in these areas when they can easily justify the expense of a new system against the cost of fines and mistakes. In fact, this is what we hear most new customers say.

What’s more surprising is the number of companies that struggle to adopt more technology into their daily operations despite their organization’s want to do so. In fact, over one fourth of convenience stores say they’re slightly digitized, but they've encountered blockers when implementing more technology.  

Additionally, 65% of convenience stores plan to add more technology into their tech stack. Of these stores, 35% rate themselves as highly digitized and 30% say they are moderately digitized.  

Interestingly, convenience stores that already utilize technology are often the most interested in adding to their digital tools. Once companies experience how they can streamline their processes and reduce costs—in terms of fines and also in terms of overhead, errors, etc.—they're eager to apply the increased revenue to all areas of their business. Simply put, they increase their investment in their own tech stack. 

Regardless of where they’re starting the year, most convenience stores want to add more digital tools into their portfolio. The difference is how well they anticipate being able to adopt them and the kind of blockers they’ll face. Most stores begin their digital transformation with tank monitoring, alarm management, and compliance technology - areas that come with big fines and time-consuming manual processes.  

Regardless of where they’re starting the year, most convenience stores want to add more digital tools into their portfolio. The difference is how well they anticipate being able to adopt them and the kind of blockers they’ll face. Most stores begin their digital transformation with tank monitoring, alarm management, and compliance technology - areas that come with big fines and time-consuming manual processes.  

Operational Challenges to Adopting Technology 

Whether driven by a need to improve processes or to increase profit, one clear obstacle to such investments appears to stand in the way of 61% of organizations: the financial cost of adopting new technology. As noted before, we at Titan Cloud have been told that this is often why a store’s first digital tools combat areas of the operation that has risks of hefty fines, because it is much easier to justify the cost of the technology against the cost of the fines. 

But that isn’t the only blocker keeping companies from making an investment in their long-term success. 

While only about one fourth of convenience stores believe their current systems are “good enough”, nearly half worry about the time, effort, and cost they will have to invest to implement new technology. 

Even though most convenience stores want to invest in more technology in the upcoming year, not all of them will be able to. The biggest blocker convenience stores cite is a lack of resources, like time, money, or bandwidth.  

However, there’s a reason that the most digitized companies are also the most motivated to seek out more technology: They already know that the long-term savings and increased profit are worth the near-term costs. And often, those costs aren’t nearly as hefty as companies believe. 

Issues and Benefits of C-Store Technology 

But technology isn't perfect. Some convenience stores reported challenges with the technology they have. The most common complaints were: 

    • Getting timely and accurate inventory data 
    • Addressing issues that impact fuel sales in a timely manner 
    • Managing distributors and haulers effectively  

    However, for the most part, convenience stores are happy with their tools. When asked about the benefits of their current technology, c-stores reported:  

    • 24/7 visibility 
    • Real-time data 
    • Easy-to-use features 
    • Affordable pricing as their biggest wins  

    It’s important for your company to find the right partner for your needs. One of the biggest pieces is to find a tool that can be customized to your needs and is reliable. Too many stores think they have alarms set only to realize they’ve been changed when it's too late—like when water gets in customers’ tanks and ruins their cars. 

    The Ideal Technology  

    People want technology to make their jobs easier, but many fear that the effort (and money) needed to go digital isn’t worth the reward. But while some digital tools require outside support or have a large learning curve, others will have an almost immediate impact on your bottom line.  

    Look for a solution that creates and captures all your data onto a single platform. Having a single source of truth enables everyone to locate, analyze, and act on the information they need when they need it, including field technicians.  

    Keep reading to discover how Yesway used Titan Cloud as their single source of truth. 

    How Titan Cloud Solves Problems 

    Being asked to suddenly manage the technology and compliance needs of a convenience store chain that has quadrupled overnight might lead one to say ‘no way,’ but for Yesway, that was not an option. 

    Yesway’s growth is attributed to acquiring small convenience store groups in the Southwestern United States. In 2019, they acquired Allsup, a regional chain in New Mexico with 300 stores, and the company’s portfolio exploded. The firm realized immediately it needed a new compliance system that could handle this instant growth. 

    At the time, Yesway’s compliance platform was managed by a third-party provider, which was not equipped to handle the increased demand placed on it. The compliance team routinely encountered delays in tank monitoring, unnecessary alarm dispatches, and overly complex spreadsheets and data applications used to track compliance. The tank portfolio that Yesway inherited also had a variety of installation dates and equipment, and different federal and state environmental requirements to satisfy. 

    Yesway selected Titan Cloud Software as their new fuel tank monitoring and management system, enabling the company to store all related data on a single platform. This enableds everyone to have access to complete and trustworthy data to drive business decisions, to better monitor what is going on with individual fuel tanks, and to record all pertinent activity data to remain in full environmental compliance. 

    The Titan Cloud software includes critical features for managing fuel tank systems, including date tracking, electronic file management, and ATG alarm workflows. All of these have enabled the company to become much more efficient in managing its fuel tank system, increasing profits, and cutting operational costs. 

    You may also be interested in this great content.

    Titan around the forecourt
    Watch
    Environmental compliance software for convenience stores illustration
    How Compliance Professionals Can Manage Risk with Confidence
    Read More
    Convenience store perspective on environmental compliance and software solutions
    Tank Talk: C-Store Perspective on Compliance Software
    Listen