Does purchasing fuel for your inventory seem like it should be the easiest thing in the dealership, but instead it is a paperwork riddled process that invokes groans, eye rolls, and audible sighs?
Why is that?!
It doesn’t have to be anymore! Onsite fueling and fuel management systems are back in a big way at auto dealerships.
The environmental regulations of the last thirty years forced every dealership with gasoline storage tanks to take a hard look at the liability, cost, and risks of potential cleanup costs for any spills associated with their tanks. Most decided it wasn’t worth the financial risk and it was better to let the retailer down the street carry the burden of the risk, so they removed their tanks.
That was when gas was $1 a gallon. Now, with gas hovering just below $4 a gallon and significant strides in fuel management technology, many dealerships are starting to reconsider the benefits of onsite gasoline storage tanks and fuel management systems.
“We’re getting a number of calls from dealerships in Westchester County and others that are looking to save money, reduce paperwork and accurately track fuel consumption by stock number across their inventory. They are beginning to put tanks back on their properties and are implementing fuel management systems,” says Don Dettlinger of Syn-Tech Systems, the makers of the FuelMaster fuel management system.
What benefits do they know about that you don’t? There are five big ones.
- Paperwork Reduction
- Cost Recovery/Expense Tracking
Money – By paying bulk or rack pricing to the gasoline suppliers instead of retail pricing at the local gas station, dealerships are saving the retail markup on every gallon pumped, and that can add up to significant cost savings across a large inventory.
Time – How long does it take for your attendant to put a few gallons in a vehicle?
Probably 15 minutes or more. Typically, it works like this:
The attendant gets the key and stock number, gets a purchase order from accounting, drives the car off property to the fueling station, puts gasoline in the vehicle, gets a receipt and hands over the PO to the station attendant, returns to the dealership and hands the receipt to the accounting department. How much time, and money, is wasted on one transaction?
Here’s how it looks with a fuel management system. The dealership attendant gets the key for the vehicle, pulls the vehicle up to the dealership’s pump, types in the stock number on the fuel management console, fills up the vehicle, parks the vehicle and grabs another key. Inside the accounting department runs a report and updates the expenses charged against that stock number. The sales manager knows within seconds, instead of hours, what the costs are when negotiating deals.
Paperwork reduction – All of the fuel transactions are electronic and performed onsite. The only paperwork is the check to the fueling company and the sales order to the customer. No more purchase orders to the retail gas outlet for every vehicle fueled.
Cost Recovery/Expense Tracking – With all fueling transactions being handled onsite, electronically, and by stock number, accounting for costs by stock number is instantaneous and immediately available to sales teams on their sales information programs. The only manual data entry is performed by the attendant entering in the stock number at the fuel management console.
Convenience – With your own fuel you no longer have to wait for the gas station to open, wait in line with other retail customers, or worry about the retailer running out of gasoline when you need it most. You can fuel your inventory whenever it makes the most sense for your business.
You may be thinking, “Yeah…but that sounds expensive.” It is probably a lot cheaper than you think with a return on investment in under a year. Many counties, such as Westchester, allow gasoline to be stored in aboveground storage tanks, which alone offers significant cost savings over underground storage tanks, and the benefits listed above easily justify the reasonable expense of implementing a fuel management system.
Don’t let the unknown dissuade you from considering a fuel management system. The benefits are worth a call to gather more information to see if a fuel management system makes sense for your dealership.
Image Credit: MSVG