Logistics company AV Dawson Ltd operates a fleet of over 20 HGV vehicles, a number of company cars and over 30 separate items of plant, such as forklifts, at its riverside facilities in Middlesbrough. With an annual spend of over £1.5 million on diesel; fuel management is a crucial business procedure.

Dawsons have both riverside facilities and a railhead, handling every type of cargo and rail freight from consumer products to steel beams. As one of the North East’s largest distribution logistics companies, Dawsons also provides site facilities and resources for a number of independent firms.

[quote]As well as being more efficient in terms of its scope, the Merridale system has helped to reduce costs by speeding up the fuelling process.[/quote]

By 2008 problems were occurring with drivers queuing to use an ageing fuelling point which was both slow and limited in capacity, this led to the company investing in a new fuelling point incorporating diesel, gas-oil and engine oil. Following a detailed competitive evaluation, AV Dawson selected a total system solution proposed by MIS Fuel Monitoring Ltd of Wolverhampton.

Russell Spink, AV Dawson’s senior transport manager explains, “As well as being more efficient in terms of its scope, the Merridale system has helped to reduce costs by speeding up the fuelling process.”

“Prior to this, we had one fuelling station with quite a slow pump. We had a lot of subcontractors fuelling, as well as our own trucks, so technically we had sixty to seventy vehicles filling-up every day. This meant that in the evening, drivers would wait one, two or even three hours to re-fuel. Some of those drivers would be on time and a half, which meant more wage costs for the company.”

“The slower pump in the new installation is actually faster than the pump in the previous system, so we can now have two vehicles filling up on fast dispensers at any one time. Drivers hardly have to wait at all to re-fuel; this results in a happier and more time effective workforce” he adds.

Flexible Fuel Management for AV DawsonAs part of the Merridale fuel management system, each vehicle carries a unique smart key and drivers are issued with an individual PIN number. This identifies to the system which vehicle has fuelled and who was driving at that time. Each attendance to the pump is fully recorded and dated, ready to be automatically transferred to the database managed by Merridale’s FuelFX software.

Detailed and flexible report and graphic structures within the FuelFX software enables management to determine if any particular vehicle or driver is performing poorly over any specified period. This provides managers with the tools to instigate substantial cost reduction techniques.

“The Merridale system allows us to look at the costing for a particular area. If a forklift truck is in use, it should be working to make money for the company, if it is stationary and ticking- over all of the time, it is wasting fuel. The new system allows us to monitor if the correct amount of fuel is being used and, if it isn’t, we can speak to the driver to stop that happening.” says Russell Spink.

[quote]The electronic tank monitoring means that in a few clicks of a button, we know what’s in the tank, and we can top it up if needed. We are saving money by ordering smarter.[/quote]

Since the Merridale pumps are approved for resale, the reporting software can be used for the creation of accurate invoicing to customers. This has made life easier for the accounts department as every transaction, the time and amount of fuel drawn is recorded.

The new 70,000 litre capacity fuel tank has also proved to be a wise investment for AV Dawson. In-built electronic tank monitoring eliminates the need for manual tank dipping, and provides a far better control of the valuable tank stocks.

“We now fill the tank about twice a month”, says Russell Spink, “our previous 35,000 litre tank had to be filled nearly every week. Having doubled the capacity of the tank, we can now benefit from cheaper fuel by ordering 70,000 litres at a time, if need be. The electronic tank monitoring means that in a few clicks of a button, we know what’s in the tank, and we can top it up if needed. We are saving money by ordering smarter.”

Some fuel companies will not deliver less than 20,000 litres. This meant that, on occasion, we previously had to fill up all of our vehicles before we could refill, to ensure there was enough capacity in our tank for a delivery. The greater capacity in the new tank means we no longer have to do this” he adds.