clients / case studies / businesses
To accurately collect and effectively interpret consumption data to maximize purchasing opportunities in a volatile market place
A complex yet efficient and easy-to-use Enterprise system, custom built by Ephibian
IntroductionPrior to their acquisition, TeamFuel was a $70M fuel procurement supply chain management firm that catered to shipping and transportation companies. In essence, TeamFuel would become the fuel suppliers to clients that owned their own 10,000 or 100,000 gallon fuel tanks. TeamFuel would optimize the fuel purchasing decisions for their clients, lowering their clients’ overall fuel bill. They needed a solution that would allow them remote operational control for clients spanning multiple states.
What did we do?While exploring with Ephibian the benefits that automation can bring, TeamFuel came up with various ideas for a system that would maximize potential improvements to its operations. To fulfill their mission while minimizing their costs, the firm had to provide services including remote, real-time fuel tank monitoring; monitoring and projecting fuel consumption rates; discovery, tracking and projecting fuel prices based on SPOT market trends; ordering and distribution of fuel; consolidated billing; monitoring tanks for EPA safety and environmental alerts; and provision of management reporting. These services were to be provided from their southern California office yet required for a widespread (multi-state) client base.
Ephibian created a system to enable TeamFuel’s fuel buyers to make effective and timely purchasing decisions on behalf of their clients. To accomplish this effectively, data needed to be collated from a wide range of sources. These sources included a variety of tank-based fuel sensors, market sources for fuel prices, suppliers’ delivery pricing, and weather data reflecting factors that influenced fuel delivery. The data then needed to be consolidated into a central knowledge system, and displayed in an intuitive manner.
One key for consistently delivering cost savings for their clients was factoring in “split-purchasing”. Split purchasing allowed TeamFuel to deliver cost savings to multiple clients by scheduling a delivery across multiple clients. While doing so may have been uneconomical for either, splitting the delivery cost across two clients afforded cost savings to both. By working closely with the fuel procurement experts within TeamFuel, we were able to learn about and factor in these subtleties. Byworking closely with them to learn their business, then including these factors into our solution, TeamFuel’s could successfully deliver economical value to their clients.
- Designed and implemented an enterprise solution that included data integration and a custom intranet-based software application
- Delivered a single dashboard view gave fuel purchasers rapid insight into fuel levels, consumption rates, and predictions of when fuel deliveries would be required, on a per-client basis
- Built in various levels of alarms to notify TeamFuel purchasers if/when replenishment decisions were becoming critical
- Presented consumption, replenishment and alarm/safety compliance data to allow staff members to make the best procurement decisions
- Incorporated around the clock polling of tank monitors
- Custom-built tank monitoring scheduling software was included
- Automated tracking of the fuel SPOT market for current fuel prices, and calculated day- week- and month- trends in terms of the rising/falling fuel prices
- Included a mechanism where delivery companies could post their data regarding service areas and delivery fees was built-in since this could fluctuate on a daily basis
- Incorporated weather data feeds; so that poor weather conditions could be factored into the analysis. Poor weather could impact fuel delivery prices or halt deliveries altogether.
- Provided specific functionality to help fuel purchasers evaluate split-delivery possibilities
How did we do it?
- The solution created a computerized profile, including consumption patterns, for each of TeamFuel’s clients’ tanks
- To maximize pricing opportunities the system uses aggregated data from multiple tanks, market tracking algorithms and competitive bidding features
- The back-end system captured remote consumption data involved the development of an analog polling system to remotely access and read a variety of meter-types which housed the data associated with the various fuel tank
- Tank fuel-level and consumption trend data was coupled with the fuel-price trend data from national market sources for bulk fuel purchases and was plotted for 1, 7 and 30-day fuel price trends
- Data related to weather prediction was aggregated into a data warehouse and displayed through a web interface that also displayed consolidated inventories, usage patterns, retail purchases, market trends, compliance, savings reports and accounting figures
What was the result?With the benefit of this custom-built enterprise system, TeamFuel was able to improve its customer service to its clients that included Southern California Edison, Frito-Lay, Disney, Maersk-Sealand, Coach, Toys `R Us, Con Edison, Florida Power, Laidlaw Transit and many others.
The software built for TeamFuel was a key to their business enterprise. Without the software Ephibian built and delivered, they would not have had the ability to remotely support a wide-ranging fuel replenishment business model. For example, without the remote polling for consumption data TeamFuel would have been in the position of physically visiting each location for the consumption data, or guessing at the proper timing to replenish the fuel tanks. Either case would not have been sustainable.
The software Ephibian developed as the backbone for TeamFuel services was key to their acquisition by Mansfield Oil.