Fuel delivery has always had some built-in inefficiencies. Like most fuel and lubricant distributors, Retif followed a “keep full” model when restocking fuel tanks and was spending too much money “topping off” customer fuel tanks and making emergency deliveries. Without an accurate view of customer fuel stocks it was impossible to determine who needed fuel or how much they actually needed.
Intrigued with the possibility of reducing the number of delivery stops, Retif engaged Numerex® to deploy iTank™, a remote tank monitoring managed solution offered as an IoT service. Retif started with a small pilot, installing tank monitors on all the Valvoline® tanks around Lafayette and Baton Rouge.
Retif personnel and customers now view tank fill levels and alerts in the iTank Management Portal. “It’s color-coded, so we just need to look at the ones approaching the 25-percent-full mark,” President, Kenny Retif commented. “You can pull up all of your deliveries in a section and take care of everyone in that threshold.”
While the technology is easy to use, there were some customers hesitant to change their fill schedule for fear of it affecting their cash flow. Retif provided clear communication to explain the solution, why it was being deployed, and how it would work, assuring customers it wouldn’t impact their service levels.
The initial pilot was a success and deployment expanded across more tanks in their seven state coverage region. To date, Retif has deployed over 1,100 tank monitors, many of which were installed by Retif personnel. “Ease of installation was also a big selling point,” Retif said.
Retif Oil & Fuel delivery personnel continue to keep customers happy with fewer but larger deliveries. Emergency deliveries due to product run outs have been practically eliminated. Customers have greater peace of mind knowing they can determine how much inventory is available in real time and low product inventory notifications can be set to alert designated users.
Since deploying iTank, Retif has reduced the number of deliveries by roughly 48 percent. Total ROI has been variable, but business analysis shows reduction in delivery expenses of over $10,000 per month in a six-month period.