Logistics happens. Fuel deliveries can be impacted by the whims of traffic, acts nature and groans from an aging national fuel distribution system. None of these excuses are of comfort when you need fuel to keep your operations moving. The good news is that there are steps you can take to maintain timely deliveries.
If you have large fuel tanks which hold weeks of fuel needs, then timeliness may not be your primary concern. Fuel tanks that only hold a few days’ worth of fuel must be more careful.
Improve Your Inventory Forecast
If you receive a delivery too early into a troublesome tank, then you are at risk of causing a fuel spill. In contrast if you wait too late then your tank could run dry. The first step is, therefore, to focus on making your delivery more timely. Do this improving your fuel forecast.
Your forecast should attempt to measure two key questions:
- When will a load of fuel fit into the tank?
- When will the tank run out of fuel?
The goal is to schedule the load to arrive neatly in between those two numbers with margin for error on both sides. To best accomplish this, you will need to understand your fueling patterns. Do your vehicles fuel before they leave the facility each day, or do they fuel when they return? Perhaps it is a mix of the two. Maybe they fuel throughout the day.
You can use your tank gauge to measure usage throughout the day. Program the gauge to take a reading every 4 hours as an example. The changes in fuel levels will show how many gallons are used between each reading. You can also your transaction data from your dispersal controller to see exactly when vehicles are fueled. Be sure to look at the usage allocation by day because usage throughout Sunday could look very different than usage throughout the week. These insights will allow you to better forecast tank levels and schedule deliveries without worry of spills or runouts.
Expand Loading Options
One potential delay in fuel deliveries happens at the fuel loading terminal itself. If your fuel supplier only has access to one terminal, when that terminal has delays then your delivery will be delayed. Work with suppliers who have access to multiple loading terminals in your market. That way their driver can go to another loading terminal where there is no wait. Avoid putting all of your fuel eggs into a single terminal if it can be avoided.
Some tanks simply need more attention. Sources of strain may be your tank size relative to usage, your site’s distance from a loading terminal, or perhaps uneven daily usage. Tanks that are prone to problems should be watched very closely.
A wise fuel logistics sage once taught trainees to, “Walk that load into the ground”. The increased focus process is known as “Hypercare” here at Diversified Energy Supply. The concept is to recognize potential problem orders beforehand and set checks along the way to ensure the troublesome load makes its way safely into the customer’s tanks.
Those steps include:
- Confirming the load with the carrier the day before the delivery is scheduled.
- Double checking tank levels the morning of the delivery to ensure the forecast was sound.
- Verifying the order was loaded onto the truck.
- Validating the load was received either verbally with the site or by using automatic tank gauge confirmation.
A “Hypercare” load should be flagged in your vendor’s system. Each step of the process should receive adequate attention. The dispatcher should document the completion of each step into the system. Automated alerts for delivery milestones should be sent to the customer where known challenges exist. The key is to work with a supplier who is both proactive and technologically skillful.
Let Us Show You How
Are you having challenges with timely deliveries? Access our Contact page. Diversified Energy Supply can walk you through how we create hourly forecasts. DES can provide examples in your market where alternative loading terminals may be helpful to you. We can also show you our automated Hypercare process which helps us properly service our customers’ most challenging locations.