As heating oil prices are at all time highs – over $3 more per gallon than it cost 20 years ago and almost 40 cents more than the dramatic spike in 2008 – distributing the resource effectively is an important part of serving your customers. Greater accountability and transparency for deliveries will be important, as will reports on usage to help your customers conserve energy and reduce heating expenses.
In addition, the cost of delivering the oil is increasing as gasoline and diesel are similarly priced. As a distributor of heating oil, you need to optimize delivery routes and prevent emergency or middle of the night runs.
The best way to accomplish all goals, both for your operation and for your customer’s peace of mind, is to monitor heating oil tank levels on the cloud.
However, rolling out a system like this requires upfront investment and the ROI is only achieved when it works properly. So what things do you look for when sourcing a monitoring system to ensure success?
Here are 3 important tips:
A Strong Software Platform
There is plenty of data out there that can be collected by sensors. The challenge is converting that data into useful information that will benefit your organization. So when choosing a tank monitoring system, make sure that the software system is flexible enough to allow you to filter the data to get the information you need.
Useful tools include historical charts, trend analysis, and configurable alarms.
Make sure that the software is easy to use. Remember, the system is supposed to optimize the operation of your company, and not become a point of frustration.
You may run into a variety of solutions out there with a price that sounds too good to be true. Many tank monitoring providers focus a lot of time on the software side of the solution. While this aspect is extremely important, they may undervalue the importance of the level sensor and supply you with a cheap one.
How helpful will your monitoring program be if your raw data is corrupt or non-existent? Can you be profitable if you’re constantly troubleshooting sensors?
Make sure that you take time to compare and test sensor models from a variety of vendors before you commit to a system wide install. And remember, reliable technology comes at a cost. Don’t skimp on quality where it matters most.
Flexibility with Communication Technologies
Most homes now have an Internet connection. Depending on how you decide to implement the solution, you can simply utilize the Internet service provided by the homeowner. Or, to avoid the set up time, you can rely on cellular networks. But remember, some customers will get poor cellular reception – especially in basements, and in remote areas.
Be sure to choose a solution that does not discriminate based on communication technology. Develop a standard procedure but make sure you have a backup plan to deal with the unknowns.
Calling All Home Heating Oil Distributors
We provide a remote tank level monitoring solution that is not only very capable, but is getting less expensive as we find ways to save our customers money. We know you need a solution that is as easy to implement as possible, and affordable enough to make good business sense.
But we’d love your input! Call us today and let’s talk about your needs and how we can best provide you with a solution that works.
Learn more about remote tank level monitoring! Tank Cloud is the best place to start. Find out about Tank Cloud below: