Reaping the benefits of integration

Fuelsoft managing director David Kingsman
Finding one solution to help with several issues across the business makes for a healthy investment for the distributor. FON looks at the new and improved software packages that could make the difference
New module for the WP Group
Fuelsoft implemented a new Lubricants Warehousing module at the WP Group this summer to add to the bulk fuels software already in use. The new module incorporates recommended stock ordering, automated purchase order processing, multiple bin locations, put away lists, picking lists, despatch lists, management of bulk and packaged lubes, and customer and industry specific price lists. This provides the ability to upload cost and selling prices directly from the manufacturer.
David Fairchild, WP Group managing director, said:  “We are delighted with the new Lubricants Warehousing module developed by Fuelsoft. It has helped to streamline our warehouse and purchasing processes.”
Fuelsoft has also jointly developed a new Screen Popping module that allows the order entry system to automatically ‘pop’ the screen with the account details of the incoming telephone call.
John Allen, Fuelsoft software director, said: “We decided to upgrade our software with our development partner, Phoenix IT. They already specialise in screen popping software for Sage, so we knew the new product would provide our customer base with a very established and well respected application.” 
New integrated solution for Hingley & Callow
Fuelsoft and Touchstar installed and implemented their integrated solution at Hingley & Callow this summer.  The Touchstar solution allows scheduled orders to be transmitted directly to the Raven handheld computer in the cab, enabling the driver to print out their schedule of work and invoices eliminating the need to return any paperwork to head office. The in-cab computer returns confirmed quantities and images of the customer’s signature back to the application. The signature can then be included in the body of the invoice which can be emailed to the customer.
David Kingsman, Fuelsoft managing director added: ‘”We are very excited about the high level of integration between the Fuelsoft and Touchstar solutions. This will provide our customers with the ability to control the flow of data to and from vehicles that never return to a manned depot and improve their cash flow by invoicing earlier’.
A common solution to vehicle tracking
Identifying a single tangible saving within a modern business can be a challenge. Potential savings tend to be spread throughout the operation, but if they can be addressed with a common solution, things can get interesting.
Temperature shrinkage, spillage, vapour loss and leakage can all cause a product loss for fuel distributors. Some also lose fuel in transit due to human interference. It is a prospect that business owners are reluctant to consider, but with soaring fuel costs, should be monitored.
In response, Mechtronic has launched the Stocksmart vehicle tracking and data transfer system. Designed specifically for the fuel oil market, StockSmart makes vehicle, stock and driver monitoring straightforward.
Other tracking systems offer benefits, but can be expensive and involve onerous contracts, while not giving all the required information. Mechtronic has developed an affordable, web based system with no contractual ties, giving easy access to satellite tracking data from any computer.
Real time vehicle tracking can be presented on Google mapping or satellite picture.  Small ticket icons on the trail denote historical delivery information, and a geo-fencing feature shows entry and exit times for any designated location. A summary ticket report enables quick assessment of vehicle efficiency and allows users to spot unusual behaviour. Routers benefit from vehicle contents tracking and remote end of shift reporting, allowing efficient allocation of remaining stock.
A complete breakdown of miles travelled, driving time, stationary time and total working time gives StockSmart users a constant picture of vehicle activity.  
A unique UAP
In April, Toptech released a new unified automation platform (UAP) unique in today’s market. Leveraging two industry leading platforms, MultiLoad II and Toptech Data Services (TDS), provide a hosted automation platform designed to offer unprecedented flexibility, ease of use, and simplicity. 
The MultiLoad II acts as the control platform to manage all of the facilities loading process.  Each MultiLoad connects over the internet to TDS, which serves as the user interface to visualise consolidated load data, manage business data, run reports, and perform inventory management and balancing. 
MultiLoad will receive all database updates from TDS at regular intervals, so if the internet connection is severed, it will continue to function independently. 
Steve Wert, director of software technologies, said: “Toptech’s UAP combines cutting edge technology with the power and reliability of our existing products.  The result is a solution that allows our customers to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of cloud computing in concert with the process control features of MultiLoad.”
Kathy West, PFT Alexander, said: “This is exactly what the next generation of this robust system needs to fit the new alternative fuels markets. With the choices offered to size the solution to the immediate customer needs and the option for additional growth later, UAP is ideal for this market.”
User friendly software for small or large fleets
Building on expertise gained through eight years of supplying fuel control systems, Hytek has successfully developed the FC10 to come with web-based software as standard. Customers can access data securely from any PC around the world, making the product ideal for small or large fleets, multi-sites and multi-user applications.
Software comes with a number of pre-prepared reports supplying the regular information required by most fleet managers, or users can simply create individual bespoke reports from scratch.
Each Alpha FC10 can store information for up to 2000 separate refuelling operations. Hytek can also programme software and data tags with individual customer details prior to delivery, enabling a quicker installation.
Replacing an old fuel wizard system, two FC10 fuel control based Alpha pumps have been installed at a council in Norfolk. Technical engineer, Scott McClean who oversaw installation and provided end user training on the software package reported positive feedback on this user friendly system. 
Integrating every aspect of fuel management
Kan’to Instruments has continued the development of its web-based suite iNTELLIGENT GAUGING.
A well-proven platform provides both real-time and historical data in tabular and most importantly, graphical formats, for inventory and alarms’ management.
Recent additions to the suite include extensive search of historical data, opening and closing stocks for reconciliation, email and SMS alerts, and stock reports.
Kan’to managing director, Dimitri Papaioannou, said: “The future of this platform lies in integrating every aspect of fuel management and depot automation, for either distributors or end-users, with scalable capability to suit both.  Work is well under way in partnership with well-known organisations. Many features are in development as we speak, including remote system maintenance and diagnostics, and interactive use of the information on the web.  Other features include regular stock/status reports via email or SMS.”
The concept has also been marketed successfully outside the UK.