Fuel up for effective logistics

A hi-tech fuelling station has helped transform operations at a council's waste depot when it comes to vehicle tracking and logistical costs

Effective fuel management is providing the perfect platform for training and sustainability at a council's waste and recycling transfer operations, thanks to the installation of a Multiserve fuelling station from
Oil Tank Supplies.

The Enterprise Group provides maintenance and frontline services to the public sector and utility industries. Following its appointment as principle partner to Gloucester City Council for waste and recycling services, Enterprise has completed a major regeneration of the council's main depot facilities.

The multi-million pound investment included a new office block and yard improvements for the recycling and waste transfer operations. Best practice and sustainability were key drivers for the investment - a point exemplified by the new vehicle wash installation which uses rain water collected from the rooftops and yard surface drains.

Another example was the decommissioning of an obsolete underground diesel storage tank. This has been replaced by an above ground, bunded storage unit which is more environmentally acceptable and easier to maintain.

The new fuelling station is based on a MultiServe unit supplied by Oil Tank Supplies. MultiServe is a self-contained facility incorporating pumps, fuel dispensing hoses and a control cabinet housing computer monitoring and the communications link for back office fuel management reports.

Ease of control
Users access fuel by using a key fob dedicated to specific vehicles. Each fuelling transaction is authorised by entering the vehicle mileage on the control panel. This data including amount of fuel drawn, date and time, is captured and processed by a web based service to provide stock control and fuel consumption reports.

"This information is used in conjunction with vehicle tracking technology to tune our operating costs precisely," explains Enterprise's waste & recycling manager, Lee Thompson. "We have a 15-year waste partnership with Gloucester City Council. Although this has been priced very carefully, we have to take into account inevitable changes such as increases in demand as the population grows.

"Fuel accounts for a large proportion of our operational costs so it is vital that we have accurate monitoring and good quality data to manage this efficiently. As well as recording the fuel usage the new station is equipped with a low level alarm and the software provides ongoing reconciliation of the tank contents for stock control and re-ordering."

Previously this was a time-consuming clerical task, relying on meters and manual records which were invariably prone to errors. "The information was only available once a month and at best it provided an estimation of our fuel usage but it wasn't foolproof," says Thompson.

"This was not satisfactory bearing in mind that we are now using over 40K litres of diesel a month. We have a fleet of around 100 vehicles. Fuel oil is only second to wages in terms of our operating costs and it is the most challenging on-cost to manage and forecast. With the new system, the current status is up to the minute and continuously updated, so we now have absolute visibility and control over the most important cost element of our operations."

He adds: "If I need to investigate any anomalies, the tank tells us how much fuel has been used and then I can look at the distance travelled with the tracker. This tells me what speed the vehicle was travelling and we can use this data to ascertain whether or not it was burning excess fuel."

www.oiltanksupplies.co.uk

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