Discover Next Generation Fuel Delivery Technology
In the old days, fuel management relied on electro-mechanical counters. Later, microprocessors ushered in the second generation of fuel delivery technology. These controlled the forecourt and were hardwired to backend office systems that provided simple reporting. Eventually, the proliferation of low-cost PCs supplanted this system.
Enter the Internet Age and the advent of interconnectivity.
With the power of the internet, site operators can check integrated systems in real-time, giving owners a more active view of fuel management. Combine this with in-tank gauging, timely intervention for tanks and delivery discrepancies became possible. Operators and owners no longer had to rely on out-of-date reports.
Fuel delivery technology continues to evolve with each succeeding generation. Cloud servers have now replaced your local servers. Fuel island hardware is minimal. Tankers, people, and transactions are now connected instantaneously.
But—technology is only as good as its inputs. Fuel variances can make or break your bottom line. You can't afford to lose fuel to unidentified variances, like tank chart errors, meter drift, temperature, vapor loss, and fuel density. Minimizing inventory variance is fundamental to a profitable business operation.
Here we describe some of the reasons you might experience inventory variance and later, how the next generation of fuel technology can help you avoid them.
Tank chart inaccuracies are a common cause of fuel delivery discrepancies. In order to combat this, you need to set a baseline starting with the manufacturer’s chart at the time of delivery. You will want to factor in variables like how the effect of installation, tilt, and settling may have on the shape of the tank.
Similarly, the manufacturer assumes the tank is a near-perfect cylindrical shape, but errors in manufacturing and mistakes made during installation can introduce major errors into this equation. With a wrong tank chart, the Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG) will show inaccurate volumes.
The accuracy of your meters is questionable and they may be giving fuel away (a.k.a. drifting). You count on your fuel meters being accurate, but normal wear and tear can affect meter readings. Regular maintenance and calibration are necessary to ensure customers are paying for the gas they pump.
Because fuel is a liquid, it expands and contracts based on temperature. Liquid contracts when it’s cold, so the actual fuel delivery and the bill of lading may differ. Tank compartment temperature differentials could be the cause of the variance.
Below ground, the variance may happen for a different reason. Fuel can contract inside the tank when the outside temperature is warmer than the below-ground temperature. There would appear to be an inventory variance even though you received the right amount of fuel.
Vapor loss can happen during both the storage and transfer of fuel between tanker trucks, storage tanks, and dispensing pumps. It’s not uncommon for a small fraction of saturated vapor to be released into the atmosphere. A one-off release is no reason for alarm, but the cumulative effect for a large chain of fuel drops can add up to a significant business loss.
Temperature affects fuel density. One way to guard against fuel variance is to make sure the tanker driver weights the fuel truck before and after he fills up. You can then calculate the filled volume against the known density. (The density of fuel represents weight by volume.) You can use a digital density meter to measure a fuel sample
A fuel variance of fewer than 10 bps is possible using fuel delivery software after correcting for the above. But identifying the fuel variance is only part of the problem. You need the tools to triage variance issues.
Understand Your Fuel Variance to Triage Issues
Knowing sources of error is helpful, but only if you also know how to combat them. That’s where the next generation of fuel technology comes in.
First, put in place a daily record to track and reconcile fuel variance. Delivery reconciliation helps you save on fuel costs by collecting and analyzing site data. You can:
- Track all the fuel that enters or exits each of your underground storage tanks.
- Confirm fuel deliveries while fuel is being dispensed.
- Collect metered sales information automatically.
- Generate accurate delivery reports on a shift-by-shift basis.
Loss of inventory and accounting errors can create significant liabilities to your business. On one hand, physical fuel loss not only impacts profitability, but also could result in fines or notice of EPA violations. With physical fuel loss, you want to jump on issues right away and dispatch a technician for a timely fix. Our 24/7 software helps you identify and fix tank issues the first time.
Fuel variance due to flawed data can create more liabilities and even tax implications, hiding actual fuel losses. Profitable inventory management is only possible with good data. You need to know that the data being captured from your probes and meters is solid. Otherwise, you are flying blind. Without correct information, your ATG cannot measure inventory levels, analyze onsite conditions, or detect fuel loss with any certainty. Real-time data gives you full visibility into all your fueling capabilities.
Furthermore, next gen tech solutions are proactive. Technology gives you the ability to make decisions in real time instead of looking backwards. Back in the day, the reconciliation process was reactive. You likely wouldn’t realize you had an issue until it had become a very serious problem with major consequences. Today, with software solutions like Titan Cloud, the fuel marketer is armed with a proactive means of correcting inventory variance before it becomes problematic.
Machine learning. Algorithms. Optimization. Who knows what the future holds? At Titan, we do know that we'll continue to push the boundaries of what's possible.
If you haven't embraced cloud technology, now might be the time for a change. The old way of doing things is long gone.
The benefits of investing in fuel delivery technology are clear. Choose to be proactive in your business. Start making strategic decisions for a smoother, more profitable operation.
Titan will be with you all the way.