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Unaware of the full value that automated fuel inventory reconciliation brings to fuel site operations, fuel marketers sometimes mistakenly discount its worth. Software-based reconciliation programs, including MyTankInfo’s new reconciliation module, which will be introduced at the 2016 PEI convention, enable fuel sites to lower their operating costs through labor efficiencies and reduce their profit losses through tighter oversight of fuel input and output.

By understanding the truth about reconciliation, fuel site operators may begin to adopt practices that will improve their bottom line. To that end, MyTankInfo is glad to clarify five common misconceptions about fuel site inventory reconciliation. 

Myth 1: Software-based fuel inventory reconciliation doesn’t offer any real value over manual Statistical Inventory Reconciliation (SIR) data collection.

Truth: Data collected through manual practices is not always accurate, which can lead to high rates of variance, SIR inconclusive and false compliance failures. Automated reconciliation provides the most accurate analysis of inventory status, eliminates inaccuracies created by manual data collection, provides accurate variance levels and helps minimize costly compliance failures. 

The accuracy of data collected through manual practices is only as good as site operators’ commitment to practice consistent and diligent data-gathering procedures. Automated fuel inventory reconciliation performed by a software-based technology solution eliminates manual data collection, and therefore, improves data accuracy.

Because SIR requires data to be collected consistently by a fuel site operator, data inaccuracies are easily injected into the SIR Analysis process. For example, manual SIR requires operators to collect measurements at the same time every day. But sometimes life interferes ­– bad weather, another on-site situation takes precedence, etc. A site may make it their practice to total sales every day at 6 a.m., but what operator wants to walk out into a snowstorm before the sun comes up to dip the tanks? In addition, tank gauge sticks are prone to deterioration, which makes obtaining quality measurements extremely challenging for operators. Measurement errors create variances that can exceed a state’s approved variance limits. Sites that don’t have accurate reconciliation information have higher rates of inventory losses and compliance issues.

Automated, software-based reconciliation programs, such as MyTankInfo’s reconciliation module, reduce the opportunity for both inventory measurement and calculation errors by taking the manual data-gathering component completely out of the equation.In addition, automation reconciliation programs help site operators identify unaccounted fuel losses, provides visibility into potential equipment problems and provides operators the tools they need to demonstrate their site’s environmental compliance. 

Myth 2: Automated reconciliation is too expensive and it won’t have a positive impact on profits.

Truth: Fuel sites that replace manual SIR with a technology-supported reconciliation program position themselves to reduce their operating costs. Sites that deploy MyTankInfo’s automated reconciliation software will not only realize operational efficiencies, they will be served by unique software features that will benefit their business operations.

Sites that conduct manual SIR use precious labor resources to collect inventory data, perform tedious calculations and complete compliance reports. MyTankInfo’s automated reconciliation solution, which is available for a low annual rate, streamlines reconciliation procedures, enabling fuel site managers to reallocate resources currently devoted to manual SIR to other tasks.

In addition, MyTankInfo’s reconciliation module offers particular value to jobbers who provide consignment fueling services. The new module pulls fuel totals every 15 minutes and maps that data to each tank, providing the dollar value of the fuel that has been sold at dispensers for each product type. For the many jobbers who set the pricing for fuel dealers, this feature provides them a way to verify that the dealer has changed the price as requested.

Myth 3: Manual data collection practices have adequately served the compliance needs of fuel sites for decades. If manual data practices have worked all these years, there is no reason to change.

Truth: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements are becoming increasingly strict; sites that utilize data that is collected manually increase their risk of compliance failures.

New EPA regulations now require fuel sites to pass a leak test each month – in some states this regulation is already in effect, in others it will be mandated within three years. Getting higher quality data and performing SIR analysis more frequently, which automated reconciliation programs accomplish, will be essential for operators to maintain compliance as regulations grow increasingly stringent.

Myth 4: Inconclusive or failed SIR tests are the only compliance risk operators take when they rely on potentially inaccurate data.

Truth: Some states such as Texas, Maryland, Connecticut and New York require fuel site operators to provide a passing inventory control report at set frequencies. Missing or inaccurate data obtained through manual data-collection processes is as risky to those sites as a gross leak alarm or failed SIR test. Automated data collection effectively eliminates those risks, and at a very reasonable cost.

 Myth 5: Software-based reconciliation programs are hard to learn.

Truth: The new fuel inventory reconciliation module from MyTankInfo is part of our commitment to providing easy-to-use technology solutions to fuel retailers and distributors that help them improve their bottom lines.

MyTankInfo, which features an extremely user-friendly interface, significantly simplifies and streamlines all aspects of fuel inventory management, including reconciliation. To learn more about how our new reconciliation module can help reduce your risk of compliance failures and unaccounted inventory losses, while also streamlining compliance management at your fuel site for a low annual rate, contact MyTankInfo today.