Fuel Dispatch Software providers should have expertise beyond their software platform to provide great experiences for petroleum distribution employees and customers.
Some believe it’s only a matter of time before venture-backed startups dominate the legacy transportation world. This false narrative overlooks the overwhelming complexity of the logistics market. Petroleum Distribution software is not immune. Technology startups are often rewarded for a “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality by venture capital firms willing to throw money at a product until it meets expectations.
The start-up founders often run the business to raise money and get someone else to take it on. There is little room for understanding the fuel logistics market and its complexities. Great code does not necessarily mean great software; disruption is not always needed.
“In the height of the technology boom, startups could secure millions in funding in mere days. With increased market volatility, we’ve seen a broader shift in the [venture capital] landscape as investors become more cautious. Investors have shifted from a growth-at-all-costs mindset to a focus on the path to profitability and scalable growth. No startup, not even the rocket ships of logistics technology, will be immune to these trends.” says CEO of Convoy, Jett McCandless in an article published by FreightWaves.
Disruption in the Fuel and Petroleum Dispatch Industry
In a world where disruptive technologies are redefining traditional business models, some industries remain resilient to radical transformation. Taxis were overpriced and inefficient in serving their customers. Uber disrupted this scenario and brought cheaper transportation to the masses. Similarly, eBay and Craig’s List replaced classified ads and pawnshops. In all cases, disruption succeeds when a more extensive market can be created through better customer experience.
The Unique Challenge of Fuel Dispatch Software
Fuel Dispatch software is not subject to disruption in the same way. New entrants in this space face complexities that are often underestimated. There is a different language and lexicon that must be learned through experience. Start-ups often sell at a loss to get this knowledge and expertise, leaving buyers wondering why they paid to educate their new vendor.
It takes time to develop a robust product. Most software companies aren’t successful until their third or fourth software version. Start-ups typically offer customized solutions to gain market share. It is an attempt to be everything to everybody until they can figure it out.
The problem is… custom solutions require custom support for the life of the solution.
Real tension arises as the start-up seeks sustainability in the market. They must transition from custom code to a repeatable solution that offers long-term support. This is more pronounced if investors are involved since they demand a return on their funding at some point. Once the new “product” is formalized, all the customizations done to that point are at risk. Some functionalities are alwasys dropped, and you are especially at risk if you have customizations.
The Advantage of Established Companies
Established companies,like BizSpeed continue to drive innovation in the fuel dispatch software industry through mobile and web technologies. BizSpeed initiated mobile fueling apps before iPhone and Android were developed, demonstrating a commitment to keeping customers at the forefront of technology.
We believe it makes a difference to have a large pool of customers across the US with customer support, project personnel, and installers who visit customers. Talking to customers, drivers, dispatchers, business owners, executives, and truck maintenance makes us and our software better. And it takes more than one conversation to learn the ins and outs of lubricants, propane, and fuel delivery.
Customization is an Investment
While it might be tempting to engage a software company who offers unlimited customizations at a low cost, there are significant challenges to consider. A common misconception is that you can easily transition away from their platform while obtaining precisely what you desire at a minimal expense. However, it is a significant time and training investment, as well as integration costs.
If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, you don’t have time to do it again.
With over 30 years of commercial and custom software implementations ranging from large-scale SAP to small 8-week custom apps, BizSpeed’s President, Chris Henry, emphasizes that a customized app is an ongoing investment. Customization sounds great until you realize you must keep paying to get bug fixes or new features.
A software rule of thumb is when you have more than 25% customization for a package, you can start to consider a custom app. Custom apps for companies with even 50 or 100 trucks are rarely practical. Unless you have an experienced CIO who understands your business, you have the scale (e.g. a propane distributor with 5000 trucks), and understands the complexities and long-term costs with customized apps, you should avoid custom solutions.
While BizSpeed was in our early stages in the 2001-2007 years, we offered to customize our software. We learned. We transitioned all customers to a standard package with a model that lets our customers configure versus customize. All of our customers have access to all of our features.
The Power of Configurable Fuel Dispatch Software Solutions
For fuel dispatch software and petroleum logistics software, established solutions offer support through configuration, not customization. These solutions enable organizations to tailor their workflows without the burden of extensive custom development. By embracing configurability, companies can streamline their operations and adapt to evolving market needs efficiently.