This is the fourth of a 5-part series in driving operational efficiencies in fuels, lubricants, and chemicals distribution. This is based on our 15 years of work in fuels, lubricants, and chemicals logistics.
Real-time inventory visibility reduces theft, increases delivery efficiency, and ensures product integrity.
Imagine a grocery store without barcodes. It’s not hard to visualize issues with accurate checkouts and inventory control without barcodes.
In the 70’s and early 80’s before barcodes were ubiquitous, grocery store managers watched checkout lanes like hawks. It was too easy to ring filet mignon for $1/lb. Sometimes cashiers made an honest mistake, while other times they did so for a friend.
Barcodes do not stop theft and inventory control issues, but they certainly make a significant improvement while providing other benefits such as real-time inventory visibility.
Sending a truck out with no barcode scanning is like running a grocery store without barcodes.
A mobile app for bulk delivery provides the same controls for grocery stores with barcode scanning.
When you deliver bulk products with a mobile app versus paper tickets, you get:
- Compartment loading
- Automatic truck/trailer inventory tracking
- Real-time visibility to all trucks’ inventory
- 3-way matches to prevent cross fills
- Non-delivery tracking such as flushes
Mobile apps help drivers load by compartment, showing what was in the compartment prior to the trip. As drivers deliver, compartment inventory is automatically reduced and available in real-time to dispatchers.
3-way matches with barcodes enable drivers to select the product, scan the truck compartment (or tote) and tank to confirm all three match. Matching reduces the chance of contaminated deliveries and provides an electronic audit for the driver to show exactly what steps they took. No questions asked. I scanned the compartment and tank to confirm the correct product.
Mobile apps with real-time inventory visibility can’t prevent theft, but they can monitor inventory, inform you of any misappropriation, and discourage bad behavior — just like a security camera watching a cash register.
Real-time inventory visibility can prevent theft of up to $100k/year from one driver alone. Tracking hose flushes and loaded vs. delivered variances, as well as verifying tanks to prevent over delivery can conservatively identify variances of 5 gal/day. At $10/gal, that is $300/week. Without a mobile app, who knows how much you are losing on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
Maintaining product integrity can save thousands of dollars per year. With one issue/year/truck you would save $5k/incident from remediation costs, assuming there are no legal costs related to the customer discovering this problem.
Manufacturers such as ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron are increasing their focus on product integrity. They expect distributors to have tools and processes in place to avoid contamination and provide driver delivery actions.
Implementing inventory control and visibility is the fourth step to best-in-class bulk logistics. Inventory control and visibility enables the other components in our 5-part series to drive logistics efficiency and customer service.
- Route optimization – better routes, centralized dispatch (click for part 1)
- Driver delivery app – paperless, route compliance, driver efficiency, consistent workflows (click for part 2)
- Tank forecasting – order generation for ALL tanks (monitored and non-monitored) (click for part 3)
- Inventory control and visibility – track truck inventory, prevent cross fills
- Customer service – email advanced ship notifications, proof of delivery, driver on the way
To improve your delivery efficiency, you need tools to make data-driven logistics decisions.