How a Logistics Operations Platform Can Eliminate Costly Retain Issues
By SkyBitz • Published March 14, 2018 • 4 minute read
What should petroleum and chemical transportation companies do with bulk fuel and lubricant retains? You can’t load the products you need next because you have retain in your compartment. The next terminal you stop at may not allow you to load. This is an all-too-common problem for companies that deliver fuel and liquid bulk, and without the right technology to prevent retain, you could be leaking profits.
Let’s take a look at two common methods of handling retains and how they cost your business — and how using the right petroleum logistics solution can help you avoid these issues completely.
Method 1: Leave extra fuel or lubricant product in your truck overnight.
This method is a logistical nightmare. Not only do you have to worry about local regulations, but you have no zero point for reconciling inventory the next day. Which products will you need on the next shift, and do they match what’s left in your compartments? Can you go to a terminal with excess product on board?
Many terminals will not let you load if you have retain onboard the truck, so dispatchers may send a driver outside of a logical route to deliver the remaining gallons before going to the terminal. If drivers have to go out of their way, this cuts into your profits while delaying billing by two or more days.
Retaining product also makes it difficult to quickly preload the truck before a new price change occurs. The inability to react quickly can keep you from gaining additional margin on the next sale.
Method 2: Pump off fuel or lubricant retain back into your bulk tanks.
This method simplifies inventory reconciliation, but at the price of more than doubling your operating costs without billable action. Pumping products back into your bulk tanks can take more than 30 minutes and requires additional paperwork. If you have multiple drivers dealing with retain this way, those labor costs add up fast.
Looking for missing gallons at the end of the week or month can cost your company hundreds if not thousands of dollars annually in time and resources. In addition, adding this process at the end of the normal workday creates more potential for costly accidents.
The Best Solution: Avoid Retains with a Logistical Planning Solution
The only way to deal with retains without losing money is to avoid them altogether. Petrochemical and tank logistics companies can achieve this using a logistical planning solution that combines wireless tank monitors, advanced forecasting algorithms, and a robust dispatching system.
This combination of technologies allows you to look at the amount of retain on the truck, compare it to forecasting models and real-time data feeds from tank monitors, then find a location within a defined distance to deliver your retain. With this level of automation and visibility into your tanks, you can improve asset utilization and work toward eliminating retains.
Eliminate Retain and Reduce Distribution Costs with SkyBitz SMARTLynx Dispatch and SmartTank Monitoring solutions
SMARTLynx sophisticated forecasting and degree day algorithms and integrated SmartTank wireless tank monitoring solutions allow petroleum distribution and chemical transportation companies to manage all of their inventories more effectively, make deliveries more efficiently, and save time, miles, and margin.
With real-time visibility into truck inventory and uncompleted orders, dispatchers can find a tank that can hold the truck’s retain gallons near the driver’s last delivery location or the truck’s current location. They can instantly dispatch a new order to the driver without placing a single phone call.
Wireless tank monitors that automate level measurement integrate with a dispatch logistics software that manages your truck and customer inventory to give operations managers the visibility they need to reduce costs and maximize profits.
Don’t waste another day dealing with expensive retain issues using inefficient methods. Contact SkyBitz today to learn how SMARTLynx and SmartTank can revolutionize how you do business.