Bearing in mind the the tendency for some manufacturers of Fuel Management systems to declare their legacy equipment obsolete and in need of costly upgrade, we asked Merridale Technical Director John Russell to comment on the Merridale approach to operational service life and ageing equipment.
In recent years Merridale has won several orders because some of its competitors attempted to pressurise their customers into taking up costly upgrades to either the system hardware or software to ensure that their equipment remains operable. Indeed we have even seen some start-up companies taking advantage of this ploy by offering non OEM authorised upgrades to existing systems as a slightly lower costing alternative to the official upgrade.
“Such tactics simply underline the strengths of the Merridale equipment,” says John Russell. “Since the inception of MIS Fuel Monitoring Ltd in 1994 there has been continual support for all software and hardware supplied without any need to upgrade whatsoever. In effect this means that many of our older customers, some of whom invested in Merridale units over 15 years ago can and are still benefitting from its functionality today.
There has never been a need for any compulsory supportability upgrades to ensure maintainability. It is not that we have kept still over the years it is simply that the Merridale ethos has always been to provide a long term solution from the outset and that is why we now provide the Merridale ten year support pledge with every product sold.
Clearly there will always be room for improvement and the Merridale development team use every opportunity to benchmark and use customer feedback to update operational functionality of both new and existing equipment. Based on this desire to engineer improvements that may be retrofitted to legacy equipment a number of significant developments have been offered as official manufacturer supported improvements.
- Upgrade of Merridale FuelFX software to meet all current MS Windows based operating systems.
- Development of interfaces to tank gauges for Environmental Agency reconciliation requirements. This includes many 3rd party gauges as well as the Merridale FT high accuracy gauge launched a few years ago.
- Ability to integrate third party data with Merridale captured data and to produce export files to most leading Fleet management programmes including export to Excel.
- Optional data downloading capabilities via GSM, GPRS or Ethernet connection including full networking capabilities.
- System refurbishment packages to bring up to the latest “G” series standard thus re-energising older systems to extended working life covered by the Merridale 10 year pledge.
- Provision of Magstripe card readers capable of reading third party agency cards.
- Development of systems and fuelling equipment capable of meeting UK Trading Standards strict standards for the resale of fuel legally.
In addition to these technical developments the company has invested also in service support, working together with approved Merridale Distributors to deliver:
- Long term extended warranty fixed price cover for products and support (even on legacy equipment) with periods up to five years.
- Annual and biannual service and calibration visits.
- Help desk support service for Merridale Software to deliver maximum return on investment.
“Customers can be assured of the stability of our company and trustworthiness of buying Merridale products,” says John Russell.
Merridale is a financially viable British manufacturing company with full in-house design and development capabilities. We have the expertise and resources to meet the challenges presented by the current economic climate. Our client base has grown continually for many years until we have reached a point where the Merridale name is associated with reliability, quality and support.