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Fuel Oil News - Jul 18

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www.fueloilnews.com | FUEL OIL NEWS | JULY 2018 33 than most, according to Tank Utility CEO Amos Epstein. "In most cases fuel dealers are only delivering about half the tank capacity," Epstein says. The percentage of tanks in the industry that are monitored is estimated to be anywhere from 3% to as much as 10%, according to estimates by Epstein and other vendors. "It's a very under-penetrated industry so far," says Henry Popplewell of SkyBitz, Atlanta, Ga. Amid a proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and telematics products a lot of companies are targeting the monitoring needs of business, he says. In the fuel distribution business, considerations of deployment are ruled by projected return on investment, Popplewell says. "Those locations that have the most obvious and straightforward ROI should get the immediate deployment," he says. "And those are locations that are more problematic—whether it's a very wide geographic area or inconsistent usage or fluctuating demand, it makes sense to attack the problems first." Over time, wider deployment is likely to be driven by the value of the data that a system delivers, Popplewell says. Beyond issuing alerts, Popplewell says, software that is easily navigated to generate customized reports helps fuel dealers orient and execute. SkyBitz's system enables integration of tank monitoring data with dispatching and route planning software, and with fuel man- agement software for fleet vehicles, Popplewell says. David Montgomery, customer relationship manager for Angus Monitoring Service, began a recent webinar by saying, "Each company has a different motivational factor behind why they've decided to look into purchasing tank monitors. We know that delivery costs are the number one biggest expense that any com- pany faces, and that handling deliveries well is not just a matter of reducing expenses…" Unless a fuel dealer can stop guessing at what's in a customer's tank, Montgomery says, "it is impossible to achieve substantial results—especially since estimating with k factors has become less and less reliable." An instant poll conducted during the webinar asked attendees to identify the top two reasons they were pursuing tank monitors. Eliminating runouts and creating "stickier" customers were the top two. A recent national study of monitors found that the average propane delivery was just 41% of capacity, Montgomery said during the webinar. The same study found that the average oil drop for a 275-gallon tank was 142 gallons, Montgomery said. "There would be a huge benefit to improving those numbers," he said. Steve Williams, founder and president of Connected Consumer Fuel, Ridgefield, Conn., said that reinforcing or establishing loy- alty in a will-call customer can be a benefit of monitoring. A fuel marketer who receives an alert that the fuel level in a tank is low can call the will-call customer before that customer has a chance to shop around, Williams said. l F O N

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