How can you differentiate between the various depot refuelling management systems currently on the market? When it comes to flexibility and scope, some have, and some don’t.
Clancy Plant – the equipment arm of the Clancy Group plc, found that its existing fuel controller unit was wanting. “It wasn’t giving us the data we needed,” says head of sales and corporate accounts, David Janes.
The Clancy Group is a multi-utility business, renowned for its expertise in civil engineering for nationwide water distribution pipelines and infrastructure. Clancy Plant is responsible for some 1400 vehicles, deployed throughout the country in support of the group’s operations, delivered by Clancy Docwra.
“For operational reasons, we wanted to allocate fuelling keys to the entire inventory,” explains David Janes. But as the fleet expanded, we simply ran out of capacity on the database of previous fuel controller units. We were having to remove line items in order to make room for new entries. Then of course we had problems that some vehicles were unable to fill up because they were not on the system.”
“It was a case of enough is enough and time to look for a new system,” he said. “From online research we created an initial shortlist, which then led to a subsequent recommendation for Merridale from another user.”
The refuelling point at the Harefield depot is based on four 15,000 litre tanks. These are configured as a balanced storage facility, split equally between road diesel for vehicles and gas oil for the off-road plant. In addition to a replacement for the fuel controller unit, the upgrade included the provision of tank management systems to enable the real-time status monitoring of current wetstock levels.
The other main hardware element is a Merridale Auditor GX refuelling control unit covering the dispensing of AdBlue (engine exhaust fluid) as well as diesel and gas oil. Set up for use with vehicle ID proximity datatags, this unit authorises and records details of all fuelling transactions.
The data stored by the Auditor unit is polled daily by Merridale using a GPRS communications link. Having secured the data, this is then processed and collated by the Merridale FuelWorks service to deliver customised management reports and an online dashboard presentation which can be accessed from any Internet browser facility.
Best practice is a top priority for the Clancy Group, since most of its operations are associated with the quality of the natural environment. All Clancy Group commercial vehicles are speed restricted and fuel usage is closely measured in order to understand and manage the group’s carbon footprint.
A full-time data analyst is employed to ensure fleet audit compliance. Important tools to do this include vehicle tracking telematics as well as monitoring plant and vehicle refuelling.
“The new set up has been operational for 10 months and meeting all of our operational requirements,” says David Janes. “There were a couple of queries in the early days, just testing the Merridale after sales support, which worked very well. Fuel usage monitoring has now settled in as part of the group’s routine procedures. It is there and forgotten about now. So as far as I am concerned it is working perfectly. If I don’t hear of anything it has got to be right.”