Image: Courtesy of GasTec. They have a great video of their Bulk Propane Plant here.
We often think about tank monitoring on our commercial and variable usage customers (especially these 6 customers!) but we’ve seen in recent years the significant impact it can have when used for Bulk Tanks.
This post is focused on these use cases and how propane marketers can use bulk propane tank monitoring to drive greater profitability for their business throughout the year.
#1 Tracking Your Consumption Against Expectations
Whether it be the middle of the absolute frigid winter in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin or summertime down in sunny Nantucket, MA, bulk propane storage is always on the mind of owners, plant operators, and other personnel involved in the delivery of the LP Gas. Having enough product on-hand is critical to not only retain customers by preventing run-outs but ensuring you have the opportunity to grow your gallons with new customers.
The actual delivery of the product is tough enough but becomes trickier when your storage is low or even empty. In these situations, you’re forced to scramble for nearby resources — or in the worst case, you have to shut down your shop until you have product, leaving your customers in the freezing cold, your farmers not being able to dry their crops, or in the obvious worst-case, second-home owners not being to run their pool heaters for the end of summer party they’ve been planning for months.
How Tank Monitoring Helps
These situations are avoidable. By monitoring your bulk storage tanks, you are able to track consumption before your next inventory purchase. This provides you the insight to make inventory decisions well before you need them. Growing your gallons more than expected? You can look for advantageous pricing much earlier to secure better prices and decrease risk for your business.
#2 Taking Advantage of Inexpensive Propane Buys
It’s obvious that having product in your storage tanks is critical to the delivery side of your business, however, we’ve seen it be incredibly important to financials as well. When Belvieu hits $.45, you want to buy — and you want to buy a whole lot of gas. But what if 60% of your tanks are satellite locations? At that point, your team needs to get to those sites as soon as possible, deterring their current routes and schedules and potentially neglecting customer’s tanks in the process. All without truly knowing how much space is available in each bulk storage location.
How Tank Monitoring Helps
Having real-time insight into your storage tanks enables you to buy better. Monitoring can help you have a real-time look into your bulk storage inventory (and available space) in real-time, saving some serious time and effort for your team.
Better yet, propane marketers also are using their bulk storage monitoring in coordination with tank monitoring on their customer tanks to buy more propane at bargain basement prices. This enables you to identify the customer tanks where you can drop the most gallons in the least miles with a full bobtail or two worth of fuel. This creates more storage in your bulk storage tanks and enables you to buy more product at a lower price.
#3 Saving You Time and Tracking Historical Consumption
In delivering to your customers, purchasing product, routing a bobtail, or just checking for peace of mind — you always need to know your storage tank levels. Near or far, there is a cost to attaining insight into these tanks manually. Even if your 120,000-gallon plant is 50 meters away from your desk, those 20 minutes or more spent checking on a tank level could be spent doing something more meaningful then going outside, standing on a ladder, and manually checking the tank. Just as important, these levels change daily and having a historical look to see how quickly tank level is changing can be difficult even with the most detail oriented team.
How Tank Monitoring Helps
Your team’s time should be spent on the revenue generating activities of your business and monitoring just plain saves you time, energy and effort. This is especially true when your bulk storage facility is off-site and as your operation grows, so does the need for knowing real-time tank level.
Best of all, all this information is available in one dashboard, ensuring you can see your available storage in real-time in one view. You can track tank levels over time and compare it to your expected consumption to determine when you need to purchase extra inventory.
Huge Benefits of Tank Monitoring Your Bulk Storage Tanks
If there is one tank where you want certainty in where the tank level is, it should be your bulk storage tanks. Without a consistent flow of inventory from these tanks, your business will never be able to continuously deliver to customers in the way that ensures repeat customers, and generate the referrals needed to grow your business.
Propane marketers have been using bulk tank monitoring to the following benefits:
- Easily accessible real-time insight into storage levels
- Advantageous product purchasing through better insight
- Verification of delivery sizes from transport loads
- Countless hours of saved time and energy driving to location and/or checking manually
- (And can’t forget!) saving yourself from injury by falling off of a ladder when you don’t need to be 🙂
Know exactly your inventory levels so you can focus on delivering an exceptional experience to customers!
Learn more about Tank Utility’s Bulk Monitoring solution by contacting a rep here!