By Maura Keller
For many fleet owners and operators, fueling their fleets is one of the biggest expenses and challenges they face. But thanks to mobile, or onsite fueling, more and more companies are experiencing reduced fueling time, improved efficiencies, less equipment downtime and significant cost savings—making businesses more competitive.
Tim Johnson, senior vice president and general manager at Diesel Direct, said that mobile fueling enables greater productivity of today’s labor force and greater leverage of the assets Diesel Direct fuels.
“Our customers tell us our service actually saves the expense of one driver for every 10 drivers they employ and one truck for every 10 trucks they own,” Johnson said.
In addition to the monetary benefits, other benefits of mobile fueling include helping reduce the fear of fuel leaking from tanks onto the ground.
“We are also proud of the fact that our service results in a measurable reduction in the carbon footprint created by chasing fuel at truck stops and even idling at on-site tanks,” Johnson said. “And there is certainly a security value in the fact that you know you are getting every gallon you pay for, without the fear of disappearing gallons, which is a significant problem in this industry.”
Steven Leavitt, director of commercial sales and operations at Atlas Oil, agreed that the largest value of mobile fueling is the labor savings provided to any fleet.
“One of our expertly trained fleet fueling drivers can fuel an entire fleet faster and safer than having each driver refuel themselves at a retail or card-lock facility,” Leavitt said. “The cost of labor, when looked at on a per gallon basis, can be staggering. The price you see posted at the corner station may be the same for cash or credit but never includes the cost of labor or the down time associated with that truck. Also, this service saves the investment cost of an on-site fuel storage solution and the regulatory headaches that go along with it.”
And mobile fueling is right for just about any fleet operation that returns to its yard on regularly scheduled intervals. “These are the fleet operations most likely to see value from this service,” Leavitt said. “Traditionally these are your local or regional trucking companies, but many over-the-road companies utilize the service as well.”
Indeed, as Johnson explained, any fleet of assets, which are situated in one location or across several locations on a scheduled basis, would likely be a candidate for on-site mobile fueling.
“We have found as little as one asset can benefit from our service given the right urgency for that asset to be ready to work,” Johnson said. “However, our typical client has five or more assets.”
To communicate their mobile fueling services, Diesel Direct employs many modern marketing techniques including web-based and target search-based direct marketing. But in the end, Diesel Direct has found that having dedicated sales and partner teams strategically placed all over the country, with focus on local, regional and national fleet relationships, is the best way for the company to work with the market.
Outside of the obvious needs for a safety-conscious driver and a tank wagon truck, “truck to office” technology is a minimum requirement for today’s mobile fueling process.
As Johnson explained, you need the proper truck, fueling equipment, inventory management technology, tax reconciliation capabilities, fuel authentication software, geo-fencing software, billing software, data warehousing software and much more.
However, leading-edge technology is also a key requirement to make the process efficient for everyone involved. For example, an on-board truck computer directs Atlas Oil’s entire fleet fueling process.
“The truck computer validates the customer as well as which allowed trucks are to be fueled in their respective yards and the type of fuel product each asset requires,” Leavitt said. “Our drivers only have to operate safely and efficiently; we don’t write down gallons delivered per asset, as that is time consuming and inaccurate. The truck and driver are essentially paperless, unless our fleet customer requires a printed-paper receipt left behind after fueling their fleet. Most customers opt for a fueling detail report waiting in their inbox in the morning since most of our fueling activity occurs after hours.”
Johnson said that managing the hundreds of tax codes alone is a daunting task for many of Diesel Direct’s customers. “Our customers gain a real market advantage at the right rate with proper taxation, knowing—through our specialized technology—they are getting the proper fuel into the proper assets one gallon at a time,” Johnson said. “This service should not be provided by a hobbyist; a properly equipped mobile fueling truck with the necessary inventory management controls can easily cost over two hundred fifty thousand dollars. And that is the easy part.”
Diesel Direct also allows its customers to leverage their investment in the talent and digital resources necessary to interface with just about every cardlock and fleet program in the country.
“We even have the ability to tie our invoices to your existing card provider so that there is a seamless transition on credit and data management,” Johnson said. “The program, which combines on-site mobile refueling with over the road cardlocks and fleet card programs, is the right solution for some of our larger clients. We’ve invested in the infrastructure required to give them a one-stop shop for invoicing and auditability as well as integrated data in our cloud based business data warehouse.”
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