Logistics for petroleum distributors involves a lot of moving parts. This is particularly true for companies who still depend on a manual process, like spreadsheets, to keep track of orders, loads, deliveries, and data for their routes. Often, inefficient logistics negatively impact petroleum distributors bottom line.
Logistics should never be considered just another process as it’s the whole mechanism that keeps petroleum distribution rolling out smoothly. Fleet logistics optimization can help you turn petroleum distribution into a reliable revenue driver, as your success so often depends on getting the right amount of product to the right customer in the shortest amount of time.
With the right logistics platform in hand, companies can gather real-time data and automate their workflows to meet demand while increasing their efficiency. Let’s look at three benefits of utilizing logistics platform.
1. Build the Most Efficient Routes
Companies often rely on their traditional understanding of routes and shift planning, but the industry’s technology has changed. If operators keep running the business as usual, opportunities to increase efficiency will be missed.
Petroleum distributors who utilize logistics platform, like SMARTLynx, can gain insight into their operations and find improvements and cost-saving measures that weren’t visible before. For example, dispatchers can use logistics optimization tools to:
- Plan using real-time data gathered from GPS-tracking and tank monitoring systems, to view all orders in a region, territory, or city. This information can be used to map routes and compare trucks in a certain area.
- Map orders to build the most efficient routes and build automated recurring routes.
- Gather crucial data about current and past deliveries, loads, transfer, and events, to optimize routes for efficiency.
By providing dispatchers with actionable data, logistics optimization planning can help you make plan more effective routes, by ensuring deliveries are performed when efficiency is at or above the industry standard of 75%.
2. Dispatch Sales Orders in Seconds
Perfect order fulfillment is described by The Supply Chain Council as, “the percentage of orders meeting delivery performance with complete and accurate documentation and no delivery damage”. The concept seems very simple, but as many fuel distributors know, supply chain management can be complicated in practice.
Often, petroleum distributors say that they cannot react quickly enough to unexpected supply chain events due to outdated processes and execution systems. To keep all internal stakeholders informed, logistics optimization tools provide:
- Tank forecasting that automatically calculates historical delivery data against low-level thresholds, multiple tank levels per location, and additional tanks in the same vicinity as low-level tanks.
- The ability to organize orders per truck.
- High and low temperature weather forecast for the next 10 days per zip code to calculate order creation, delivery, and K-Factor burn rates.
3. Automatically Reconcile Product Inventory
Maintaining an accurate picture of orders and inventory isn’t just for accounting purposes. Accurate numbers are the key to helping companies fill orders promptly so customers are not disappointed, as delays and stock-outs can cause customers to take their business elsewhere.
Keeping track of and reconciling product inventory when it’s on the move can be challenging, and is the reason why many distributors are turning to a logistics optimization platform, like SMARTLynx. Using this platform allows distributors to:
- Auto reconcile product inventory per shift.
- Automate BOL data validation and accounting updates for unbeatable accuracy with no manual intervention.
- Auto approve billing packets for EFT processing.
- Provide clients with up-to-date delivery and billing information.
The most difficult aspect of petroleum distribution is often knowing your customer’s inventory. Logistics optimization tools eliminate the guesswork of tank efficiency while allowing petroleum distributors to completely automate invoicing, billing, and receipts. For the first time, technology is allowing distributors the ability to automate their manual processes and keep customers informed with real-time data.