The action of taking control sounds so much easier than doing it. To take control requires the power to direct something or someone and, if successful, could be the catalyst to ensure that you stay ahead of the competition and improve your business’ performance.
Managing a forecourt presents many challenges and to maintain all elements of the forecourt environment is time consuming and challenging. Taking inventory from tanks, reconciling sales, calculating deliveries and managing attendants are just some of the daily responsibilities of a site manager. To optimally manage your forecourt, you need control over your wet stock and site operations.
Wetstock Control + Site Control = Forecourt Control
In our Blog Series, we've covered the sources of fuel losses and why it matters, discussed the advantages and disadvantages of manual and automated forecourt reconciliation tools and established that control over your wet stock and site operations is needed for effective forecourt reconciliation.
Wet stock management is the process of keeping accurate control of the purchase and sales of all fuel delivered and dispensed on a forecourt. If, during this process, the amount of stock delivered into a storage tank, subtracted by the amount sold is equal to what is left in stock, your fuel stock inventory balances and you’ve reconciled your wet stock. If not, there’s a variance that might be due to losses, either physical, that happens during incidents within a fuelling system, or adjusted losses due to poor or inaccurate data.
There are various aspects that form part of a Wetstock Management solution such as Inventory Management & Forecasting, Alarm Management, Compliance Management, Delivery Management and Reconciliation but the intricacy of all of these aspects are dependent on the size and complexity of your operation. As with most things in business, there is never one solution to fit every site or network’s needs.
For the site manager or owner, visibility of your stock levels and accurate dipstick measurements are deemed necessary to enable effective control over your wet stock. This is however easier said than done and therefore the industry has shifted towards automating this process.
An Automatic Tank Gauging system monitors your fuel stock, manages your deliveries and addresses fuel losses on your forecourt relating to wet stock, ensuring environmental control, risk management and allows for centralised data management to optimise operational profitability. Different ATG’s offer different functionality and the correct solution is dependent on the amount of linked probes and upgradable functionality.
Site management encompasses various aspects of back-office systems and forecourt equipment. With so many activities taking place at the same time, it can be a bit overwhelming. Controlling dispensers, attendant tagging, price polls and the c-store, how can you be everywhere at the same time?
Today’s forecourt environment and customer expectations have shifted the necessity for a Forecourt Controller to a requirement. It is nearly impossible to maintain effective site management practices without this vital piece of technology. Most Forecourt Automation architectures feature a forecourt controller as the central piece of technology that enables forecourt software to fulfil on its promise. With various makes and models available in the marketplace today there are notably 2 types of Forecourt Control Systems (FCC) that contend for the biggest market share, being a Software Forecourt Controller or an Embedded Forecourt Controller.
When investing in Forecourt Automation solutions, be sure to research the quality, scalability, upgradability and integration capabilities of your forecourt controller whilst closely comparing pricing factors. An integrated solution greatly simplifies installation and training and is more cost effective as it reduces additional hardware components.
Reconciliation allows you to optimise your site operations and continuously improve your business processes. Automation can result in an optimised site operation with the following visible improvements:
Monitoring of pumps & tanks, attendant activities, cash-in-hand and sales of wet and dry stock
Improved Business Processes:
Delivery, sales and reconciliation,
Monitoring of site & attendant sales
Preventive maintenance to avoid downtime
How do I know if I'm Effectively Reconciling my Site?
The below questionnaire can assist you to identify whether you are effectively reconciling your site activities. If you answer “No” to more than half of the questions, Forecourt Automation could potentially assist you with enhanced site reconciliation.
Depending on your most immediate site problems, you can approach automation in a scalable and upgradable manner, ensuring that you invest according to your requirements.