By Emily Newton, Industrial Writer and Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized
Understandably, fuel delivery businesses are adopting modern technologies to improve operational efficiency, cut expenses and get a leg up on the competition. They also aim to provide more innovative experiences to customers through streamlined logistics and deliveries.
Modern technology is playing a huge role, particularly when it comes to digitization and smarter processes. What fuel delivery technology is providing the biggest impact?
In fuel delivery, IoT can be used to monitor fleets, as well as tank and fuel capacities. Similar to smart energy meters, capacity sensors can inform providers, and drivers, when it’s time to top up a gas or fuel tank. This can help streamline deliveries so that clients are getting what they need at exactly the right times. The smart devices also gather locational insights, which can be leveraged to track delivery times, plan routes, and avoid obstacles or congested traffic.
Most importantly, it helps cut down on fraud and theft by offering real-time asset tracking. GPS integrated into trucks, fuel reservoirs, tanks, and so on can provide details on an asset’s location. When certain events happen, alerts go out to the necessary parties, like a vehicle or tank moving out of a defined geo-boundary. Fuel or gas capacities can be monitored in the same way, to pinpoint when tanks are being emptied, or to monitor for leaks.
All of the data feeds into an automated command system, meaning fleet managers don’t necessarily have to be staring at an administrative dashboard all day. They’ll receive alerts and notifications, whether on mobile or another company-issued device, and they can take the appropriate action.
Artificial intelligence and its data-driven offset machine learning can be used to automate many processes or tasks. Chatbots can manage simple customer service and communication channels without human input. The technologies also empower many different solutions like advanced robotics, digital-assistant platforms, and even facial recognition or procedural analysis tools.
When applied to fuel delivery and logistics, the result is an incredibly optimized system, such as seen in Amazon’s smart warehouses. Imagine fuel management balanced and facilitated through the lens of automated solutions. Deliveries are planned based on client expectations and demand, with minor adjustments to ensure proper inventory with little to no service disruptions.
Business analytics and intelligence can mean the difference between a sinking ship and one bursting forward with incredible speed. Analytics tools offer digitized reports, but today’s technologies make it possible to gather real-time and precise data. That leads to near-instant and more informed decision-making, particularly when it comes to managing the business, a fleet and handling other administrative tasks.
In fuel delivery, this can help manage things like employee wages, asset maintenance, inventory tracking, common delivery locations, contracts and so much more. It saves time but also empowers the same machine learning and AI solutions discussed in a previous point. The data that’s collected and processed through analytics can be fed directly into cognitive and neural network solutions, like machine learning tools for business.
Fuel deliveries aren’t always brought to gas depots and stations with defined or cleared locations. Sometimes the deliveries happen on properties that aren’t necessarily safe and may not have a centralized location for fuel. The customer may not prepare a property for fuel delivery, either. Tanks may be difficult to reach or be obstructed. There may be obstacles or damage, especially if there has been a storm or similar natural events. There are also several other potential problems to consider, such as snow, trash accumulation and large vehicles.
In those instances, it’s important to assess the delivery location beforehand. You must understand the limitations of the vehicles and transport hardware, as well as where the fuel might need to be moved or administered. Modern mapping technologies, such as land survey and geospatial systems, can aid with this. A representative could visit a property beforehand to take virtual scans of the area. That information can then be assessed back home, in great detail, to determine the necessary delivery steps.
In the past, an obstacle to more advanced computing solutions had to do with where the processing power was located. It was necessary to host an on-site data center to handle major operational tasks, but thanks to cloud computing, that’s no longer necessary. What’s more, edge computing allows a fine balance between remote and local computing solutions.
What does this have to do with fuel delivery and logistics? Cloud computing allows for at-scale digitized and data-driven solutions that can keep up with the growing demand for remote usage and access. Most importantly, once a system is in place, it can grow in scale to keep up with business operations, whether they remain locally or move into international markets. Plus, all that data collected by IoT sensors, smart technologies and business analytics tools have someplace to go that can be managed and accessed from anywhere, anytime.
A few years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine all-electric freight vehicles hauling huge loads, including fuel delivery trucks. That’s no longer the case, as more logistics companies move to sustainable operations. Even companies like Amazon and FedEx are adopting electric delivery trucks.
It may be a head-scratcher that trucks could instead be running on electricity or a hybrid system, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s going to happen sooner or later. Electric vehicles are an excellent way to cut costs, with reduced resource consumption being the primary focus.
While the current list composes some of the most common and prominent technologies that will play a role in the field of fuel delivery, it’s not exhaustive. There are a few other technologies that will certainly play a role, although how big depends on what happens in the future:
- Cybersecurity: As data-driven operations become the main focus, protecting digital assets from potential attacks and unauthorized access will become critical.
- Blockchain: This is more of an experimental technology in many industries right now, but it may signal unprecedented transparency within supply chain operations. It could also be the future of smart business contracts.
- Software as a service (Saas): Many subscription and cloud-based software platforms already play a role in the fuel delivery and logistics fields. Some examples include Salesforce, Slack and Office 365.
- Mobile apps: There’s no telling what a mobile app for fuel delivery might look like, but this tech will play a significant role going forward in remote operations and fleet management.
Fuel-delivery technology will shape the future of the field, whether you’re talking about machine learning and AI or all-electric vehicles. They come with a host of benefits, including increased operational efficiency, lower costs and expenses, and better experiences for the customer.Tags: technology