WP Group – Fuel and Lubricants Distribution
Dan Hedges, Group Operations Manager
WP Group is a fuel and lubricants distributor based on the south coast providing a specialist and dedicated service across Central and Southern England.
The company, which is independent and family-run, is rapidly expanding and already distributes around 200 million litres of fuel a year as a group (which includes Airport Energy).
WP Group is also a Mobil Strategic Distributor, and its customer base mainly comprises the commercial, industrial, agricultural and domestic sectors.
WP Group is different to the majority of fuel groups in that most of its depots are driver managed. The company does have offices in Southampton and London, but these are primarily used for sales and administration. The satellite locations are only regularly visited by drivers.
Following a period of expansion, WP Group decided that it needed a new solution to speed up the process of getting paperwork back from remote sites.
It found it was limited by a paper-based system - other staff had to visit the remote sites at an increasing rate to confirm orders and create invoices, and more time was spent on administration, which was holding back the potential to grow further.
The system that TouchStar provided gave WP Group not only a solution to the issues with a paper-based system but options on stock management and telematics issues as well.
TouchStar’s solution provides a connection to the driver in the field using ATEX approved hardware in the vehicle. The automated collection and transfer of delivered fuel data from the meter to the back office enables immediate invoicing and avoids the delays and errors inherent in a paper based system.
By providing a live link with the vehicle in the field it is possible to update planned deliveries and tasks dynamically, optimising both the fleet and customer service.
A stock management system was also brought in to give WP Group better visibility of stock level, while a telematics system also helped drivers and other staff manage time more efficiently.
“The TouchStar solution has not only solved our issues of streamlining administration tasks, but given us an extra dimension of visibility and control for our remote workforce in that it helps us with scheduling, communication and monitoring delivery progress,” commented WP Group Operations Manager Dan Hedges.
“The TouchStar solution has not only achieved its goal of reducing admin – with our invoice period now reduced from three or four days post-delivery to one day post-delivery – but also helped to make our whole operation more efficient.”
WP Group has worked with TouchStar since TouchStar first became involved in downstream distribution. It now boasts a solution that can manage multiple specialist vehicle, tacho, printer and meter types which is essential in meeting the demands of a distributor fleet model.
“We worked closely with TouchStar’s developers and from our perspective we have a solution that fits our needs perfectly. We can now look forward to the new hardware developments that TouchStar are working on,” added Dan Hedges.
“We’ve been very impressed by TouchStar and are pleased with the partnership we have been able to develop. Any barriers, such as changes within the drivers’ mentality from working on paper-based systems to digital, have been overcome as we have demonstrated the benefits of the system and it’s now part of our standard driver training programme - TouchStar is integral to our business.
“I have been involved in the project with TouchStar since 2012 and we have taken what started as a two truck project to a 35 truck operation and it’s going to grow more this year. We look forward to continuing our journey with TouchStar and playing a part in driving on board technology further in the future.”