The Commercial Vehicle (CV) Show has played an important part in the development of the transport depot refuelling equipment manufactured by Merridale. The company has been represented continuously at the show for some twenty years, since it entered the market in 1995 with the UK’s first fuel management software designed for Windows-based office computers.
This was an important USP at the time, enabling Merridale reports to be produced and exported to standard office PCs which were entering service at the time. A big advantage was that Merridale was able to keep up with continuing development as PC’s became more capable, whereas competitors’ systems were locked into bespoke hardware and software providing limited functionality.
By 1998, the Merridale software had been adopted by several national fleet operators and the system could be networked across multiple divisions using the contemporary GSM mobile telecommunications network.
After the millennium, Merridale continued to progress, whilst its main competitors were forced to introduce successive iterations of systems, many of which had to be marketed by withdrawing product support for earlier generation products.
According to sales director, Stephen Hannan, the CV Show has played an important role by providing a platform for discussion and communication between the system developers and the commercial fleet operators.
“Primarily we are concerned with the fleet operators’ operational requirements. We have to talk directly to them in order to understand their priorities,” he says. “By demonstrating our products, we can obtain valuable feedback and this in turn feeds our development and investment.
“Historically, the management of commercial depot refuelling has evolved from a padlock on the pump, to an extremely sophisticated data-driven management discipline. The presentation of fuel usage information has been carried forward, from dedicated back office computers, on to the Internet – with browser enabled dashboards providing real time status for multiple users.
“The scope of Merridale products has also grown from basic reporting to sophisticated data analysis and management. On the hardware side, we now have a full range of depot refuelling equipment. This covers tank contents management and alarms, fuelling control units and communications, as well as diesel and AdBlue dispensers.
“The integration of the tank management with the fuel management system represents today’s state-of-the-art. Bringing these two functions together provides the ultimate standard for stock reconciliation, remote alarms and control management.”