“Our track record speaks for itself. So this is not just PR hype – it’s what we have done.”
Stephen Hannan, Sales and Marketing Director.
How can we start this by using an Olympics metaphor? Well for a start, marketing fuel management is definitely very competitive. There are no prizes for coming in second place however. If we can compare it to a race, then I suppose the best analogy would be an on-going knockout relay.
For sure there is no sentiment when it comes to purchasing capital equipment. Customers need to be reassured that their investment is not only cost effective but also fit for purpose. That means it must deliver the functionality required to control fuel usage efficiently – a fundamental business requirement. By definition, capital expenditure is a long term investment, therefore value of stock, costs of ownership and through life support will usually out-weigh the initial purchase price.
MIS Fuel Monitoring was one of the pioneers in the development of a Windows based fuel management software. Branded as ‘Merridale’ this was marketed as an integrated solution incorporating commercial pumps, depot fuel dispensing and electronic monitoring. As well as providing functionality for analysis and management reports, the significant breakthrough was the ability to record and download fuelling transactions direct to the office computer.
Over two decades new contestants have entered and left the market but none of these has been able to match Merridale’s track record for continuity. System technology and reporting software have continued to evolve to meet different operational requirements from small single site businesses up to multi-depot enterprises. This has allowed Merridale to remain consistently at the forefront of commercial fuel management today.
There are still a number of Merridale users today who have equipment in service which has a direct link back to the original core product specifications. And as the numbers of users have increased, this steady growth has brought several important advantages.
Most significantly, MIS Fuel Management has achieved financial stability as a business. This is not only important to its owners and employees; it also benefits our customer because this underwrites the future of the company. Customers can be assured that future product support is sustainable and will be available as long as required.
In terms of product development, Merridale has benefitted also from the experience gained from its diverse customer base. Most new design features have been customer led, feeding a cycle of on-going improvements. The Merridale solution encapsulates our customers’ expectations. We are not just inventing something against some theoretical ideas without any reference to the real end-user requirements.
Software updates are delivered free of charge to all registered users. And revisions are managed pragmatically to ensure that there is always a route to upgrade for every product development. As a result Merridale can claim that it does not have any so called ‘legacy’ equipment or built-in obsolescence. That is not the Merridale way.
Merridale’s approach assures the customer that their investment is safe. Whatever they buy will be upgradeable for the future. Our track record speaks for itself. So this is not just PR hype it is part of our ethos. It is what we have done.
Merridale’s most important USP is the fact that it is a one solution supplier. This covers all the kit necessary for stock management, dispensing into the vehicles and usage reporting. This all comes under one umbrella with Merridale. Customers are not faced with a mix and match approach and the inevitable confusion about responsibility for service support issues.
This philosophy extends to service support. An immediate response is of little value if this results in an unqualified site visit simply for fault finding and diagnosis. With Merridale the emphasis is placed on getting the problem fixed. Our priority is minimal downtime for the customer. This is interpreted in the more purposeful ‘time for completion’ of the service requirement, rather than an arbitrary ‘time to attend’.
“Proof of Merridale’s stature in the market is evident. There are over 3,000 customer installations in the UK. Judging by feedback and aftermarket sales we believe that around 90 percent of the units sold are still operational.”