Evaluating Dispatch Software for Fuel Distribution
Investing in a fuel dispatch software is a make-or-break decision that can’t be left to chance. The wrong choice can lead to operational chaos and significant upfront expenses – a challenge faced by many fuel distributors using outdated legacy softwares.
So, we wrote this short guide to help you choose the right dispatch software and save you millions of dollars. Here are 12 factors you must consider:
- Support for multiple business lines: As you expand your business lines to cater to multiple products and services (lubricants, transport, wet hosing etc) your dispatch software should be able to provide a single platform to run operations across all your business lines.
- Product Flexibility and Customization: Every business is different. It’s vital to have software that can be customized to fit your existing processes – something which legacy systems fail to provide with their one-size fits all approach.
- ‘True Cost of Ownership’: Don’t get swayed by low upfront costs. Consider the additional maintenance, support, training, upgrades or any other additional hardware or infrastructure costs you might have to incur.
- Implementation timelines: Implementation and adoption are common hurdles with legacy Teams have to wait for months and years (after they have paid the money) to get the software up and running. One thing you can consider – flexible architecture of cloud-based systems with in-depth training and support makes it easier to implement and use.
- Customer Support: You should be able to solve all your queries just by lifting the phone. Most fuel marketers have been let down by the slow to no-response from legacy Be sure to ask around about the support team’s responsiveness – not just during the buying stage but also post-implementation.
- Integration Capabilities: For smooth operations, your systems need to talk to each other, enable seamless data flow, create a single source of truth for all your data across systems. Some common integrations you must look at are – back-office/ accounting (PDI, QuickBooks), Tank monitors, LCR Meters and more.
- UI/UX: If the software is built on antiquated technology some 40 years ago it’s probably not going to be a hit with your drivers and In the age of Uber and Netflix, the expectations from all software we use have risen up.
- Product Velocity: Take a peek at the speed of product improvements. How often are new features introduced? How quick are bug fixes? Are they communicating these to you? These are great signs for a software that’s constantly improving and is responsive to your needs.
- Leadership Team: Who you’re getting into business with is pretty critical. Ask the right questions to know if the team is centered on a strong engineering and product background or just a product on maintenance with a battalion of sales folks?
- Independent vs acquired company: Independent companies are most likely to be solely focused on your needs. Acquired companies usually shift focus based on the acquiring company’s strategy (e.g., they might prioritize C-Stores and sunset features that are critical to petroleum marketers).
- Team Composition: Know the team backing the A solid software company generally has around 50% of its staff as engineers. Do a quick LinkedIn search to see how many engineers are on the team. If all you see are salespeople and consultants, you’ve got to wonder who’s doing the actual coding.
- Will the software be a trusted ally for the next 10 years: Investing in a dispatch software is a money, time, and resource commitment – you cannot trust a system that was built decades ago and has no vision for the next 10 years.
A dispatch software is more than just a tool. It’s a partner that shapes your business’s future and that’s why it’s absolutely essential to consider all these factors around scalability, flexibility and cost before you invest precious dollars.
(607) 523-4103 – Nikhil Patel