Can Fleets Influence Fuel Cost?

October 12, 2018

 

 

Fuel accounts for 30% of transport expenditures, so it’s no wonder that fleets are always looking for ways to save on fuel.  Traditionally, this has meant route optimization or improving driver behaviors. But can fleets save fuel directly at the pump?  G7 says ‘yes’.

 

 

Fuel stations in China today are still relatively “low-tech”. 90% of filling stations are still using offline systems, developed over 10 years ago. Imagine, these systems not only pre-date mobile payments, but smartphones altogether. Waiting 1-2 weeks before extracting pump data is not unusual.  Any immediate crisis would be near-impossible to mitigate in a timely manner. Therefore, in conjunction with petrol companies and station owners, G7 is bringing fuel stations to the next generation.

 

Challenge #1: Cost of upgrade

A basic filling station upgrade has a significant cost attached to construction. A semi-networked station would require a computer room, desktop, network cables, hub, etc. While not labor intensive, these systems, when they malfunction, require field technicians to drive out, and render the pump unusable. Station owners would like simplified technical solutions but with remote maintenance and real-time visibility.

 

Challenge #2: Outdated payment terminals

Ask any Chinese consumer how much cash they are carrying and you’ll likely get a blank stare. In every aspect of retail, mobile payments like Wechat Pay and Alipay have taken over. Nevertheless, many pumps are still relegated to archaic cash-based systems, or prepaid IC cards.

 

Challenge #3: Inventory management

At many stations, inventory is still manually managed.  Station owners will drive to each station to take a reading on fuel levels and make estimations on how much to refill. Underestimate, and lose an opportunity at a sale. Overestimate, and risk having fuel sitting idle for long periods of time.

 

G7 and the Next Generation Fuel Pump

Bypassing conventional networked systems, G7 is helping stations leap directly into the IoT generation with a minimal fuss. G7’s 4G-enabled touchpad device is installed directly onto a pump or skid tank enabling recorded data to be transmitted directly to the cloud.

 

Data is accessed according to designated permissions.  Station owners can view, in real-time, the financial transactions at the pump as well as fuel levels.  A mobile app specially designed for station owners puts all that information in the palm of their hands.

 

​For both station owners and fleet managers, refueling data is especially critical. A single network outage could mean significant lost revenue. To account for this, G7 has established handshake measures that ensure the full transmission of each datapoint. If the corresponding data receiver does not signal a complete event transfer, the system will restart the transmission again, repeating until the transaction is acknowledged. Should an outage occur, data is stored directly onto the device until network can be restored. The G7 device can store over 1500 transactions.  Daily data back-ups occur ensuring that any lost records can be restored.

 

Equipping station owners with fully-networked pumps also allows for easier integration of new payment methods.  QR codes on the pump mean that drivers can scan and pay, shortening time at the station, while reducing cash risk for both drivers and the station employees.  Drivers on the G7 platform have e-wallets issued by their fleets, so that any expense can be directly reimbursed, or even bypass drivers altogether.

 

​Automated “intelligent” fuel systems, allow for unique payment schemes which would normally be too complicated for paper or excel. For example, fleets or even drivers can have variable payment models attributable to specific shippers or transaction volume for the carrier.  Drivers can also weigh pros and cons ​of each fueling station, perhaps choosing stations with shorter wait times.

 

This has huge benefits for petrol stations as well. There are many parties involved in a station business: station owner, station manager, pump agent, etc. Each party is a potential site for fraud. By automating processes and moving the financial transaction from offline to online, data accuracy is maintained, all with fewer hands to dirty up the pot.​​

 

Finally, G7 equips stations with an intelligent online liquid level meter to manage the inventory of the petrol station.  The quantity of fuel at the station is constantly synchronized to the cloud, making planning and forecasting smooth and simple.

 

G7’s mission is to constantly help fleets find improvements for their business and this now happens through G7 helping fuel stations “go wireless”.

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