More Than a Fill-Up
Fuel is simply too expensive to ignore. It has been the No. 1 equipment-related cost item for years in most operations. For some fleets it has surpassed the cost of labor and become a fleet’s leading expense item. Combine this with costs associated with environmental regulations pertaining to fuel storage facilities, and it’s easy to see that management attention is highly desirable for any operation that has its own fueling facilities.
Outsourcing the Job
You can probably do the job completely in-house, but that’s a bit like doing your own taxes. You’re more than likely going to miss something, something that might cost you a lot of money because you might never know you missed it until it’s too late. Like the availability of tax consultants, there are people who offer services that provide greater control, with less effort and better results for environmental compliance than what one is likely to accomplish alone.
Veeder-Root is one such company. Gilbarco Veeder-Root Fuel Management Services and Solutions is described as a Web-enabled system that provides management control for environmental compliance and equipment uptime. “Our fuel management services program is targeted at the monitoring and management of fuel,” said Kent Reid, the company’s vice president of strategic development.
The program helps limit compliance risk while providing fuel supply system uptime through continuous monitoring and real-time analysis of data transmitted wirelessly for remote diagnosis and resolution of any problems. The company’s experienced specialists oversee data from state-of-the-art infrastructure that is remotely monitoring tens of thousands of sites around the world today.
“We have two levels regarding compliance,” Reid said. “Many of the requirements of federal regulations concerning underground fuel storage tanks can be met with the installation of an automatic tank gauge. This is a device that monitors the entire fuel supply system at a location. A basic service is to monitor the data from such systems, archive it and report it to the customer so that he can be assured he is in compliance. We, of course, provide guidance or warnings when compliance tests have not been completed successfully.”
There are also a number of alarms that can be generated by an automatic tank gauge system. If an alarm were to occur, Reid said, “At the customer’s option, we can simply provide notification that an alarm has occurred via email or text so that the customer can manage the situation and take care of the problem. Or we will manage those alarms for him, in which case we will provide troubleshooting, dispatch and then whatever action is necessary to make sure any problems are solved as quickly as possible.”
In conjunction with its Gilbarco and Gasboy brands, the company has the ability to connect directly with fuel pumps using electronic meter registers that read customer ID cards and bring that information into the system to report on vehicle mileage and fuel consumption. Such registers can be installed on mobile fueling equipment for on-site fueling and management control. More information is available at www.gilbarco.com and www.veeder.com.
Veeder-Root is not the only company offering wireless fueling data capture and analysis. E.J. Ward has a proven automated fuel management solution that integrates both hardware and software. The company has also developed a program designed to help fleets reduce their carbon footprints. Called Go Green, this program provides fleets with the resources needed to manage their green fleet initiatives through advance reporting, improved driver behavior and proactive maintenance scheduling, according to the company.
The Ward Go Green program includes equipment to track and monitor vehicle idling through which idling can be minimized. It also supports proactive preventive maintenance and notifies customers when vehicles are scheduled for or need maintenance. The Ward Go Green program includes technology capable of tracking driver behavior as well, which gives the fleet information necessary to determine if training is needed to improve driving habits.
The company has a team of green fleet specialists who are available to work with fleets interested in developing a customized solution to improve their vehicles’ environmental and operating performance. More information about the Go Green program and Ward’s automated fuel management solutions is available by visiting www.ejward.com.
About the Author: Tom Gelinas is a U.S. Army veteran who spent nearly a decade as a physicist before joining Irving-Cloud Publishing Co. While at Irving-Cloud, he worked in various editorial capacities for several trade publications including Fleet Equipment, Heavy Duty Equipment Maintenance and Transport Technology Today. Gelinas is a founding member of Truck Writers of North America, a professional association, and a contributing writer for Utility Fleet Professional.