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On the road again

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Building a strong reputation within any industry relies on strong relationships with the customer, and the petroleum distribution industry is no exception. In Marietta, Georgia, US, S.A. White Oil Co. has built a culture focused on quality customer service, efficient work processes, and improvements through investments in people and technology.

The challenge

Understanding different customers’ businesses has played a key role in how S.A. White Oil Co. has grown its operation over the years. With many of their fuel deliveries concentrated in the construction industry, it is essential for the team to understand variations in demand on a daily basis. Weather and the economy are constantly disrupting the distribution schedule across the state, meaning that constant attention is required from the dispatch and management team.

For instance, one customer has been working on a large-scale construction project with the US Department of Transportation. As the project has progressed, the equipment usage has varied. On some days, the equipment is being used 24 hours a day, while on other days, the equipment is only used for 12 hours. Furthermore, weather conditions can have a major influence on productivity. For example, severe rain, which is frequent in the region, can force the entire project to have to shut down. This can significantly reduce the need for refuelling at the customer site. Thus conditions must be continually monitored and the supply managed in order to avoid overruns.

Uncontrollable circumstances such as these have a direct impact on the distribution schedules and must be taken into account on a daily basis in order to run an efficient operation. The economy also plays a huge role, as distribution schedules change drastically when there is a shift in rack rates and as customers look for ways to take advantage of declining fuel prices. Asset depreciation and labour costs can also eat into profits when fluctuations with the economy and customer demands are constantly changing.

On the other side, as companies look to improve productivity and cut costs across operations, they must also recognise the risks when transferring manual processes into digital ones from a customer perspective. While overruns may seem counterproductive, S.A White Oil Co. has made efforts to perform efficiency checks so that its customers do not run out of fuel, which is the biggest mistake that can be made in the petroleum distribution industry. Transitioning to digital processes must be strategically planned across the operation, utilising best practices and the aegis of its partners for both short-term and long-term gain…

Written by Anton Albrand, SkyBitz, USA.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of Tanks & Terminals. To read the full article, and other great technical articles in this issue, view the full issue here. You can also register to receive a free regular copy of the magazine here.

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