Everybody in business understands the importance of reconciliation. In the fuel business, handling a highly regulated product with such a big price tag (especially compared to its razor-thin margin) leaves no room for speculation and unaccounted for volumes of fuel. For operators moving large volumes, even small discrepancies can quickly amount to big losses if left undiscovered. And they can potentially even create unwanted attention from regulatory authorities.
Regulations and bottom line aside, accurate and timely reconciliation streamlines your billing process and tends to increase customer satisfaction. When your books are pristine, your outbound invoices are correct—and no one has wonder whether you accurately billed for what you delivered, including you.
Despite its high priority among the numerous business operations that you perform daily, reconciliation should not be a significant burden. In most cases, your calculations do add up and no special handling is required. So, why would you devote valuable labor resources to perform a repetitive and tedious task that you could easily automate with the right technology?
By streamlining and consolidating manual processes such as reconciliation, you can reduce your back-office burden and reallocate valuable staff time and resources into growing your business.
Automatic reconciliation within a comprehensive ERP system frees up valuable resources
Relying on manual daily paperwork processes leaves too much room for error. To drive business growth, you need to work smarter, not harder. Automatic reconciliation can save a considerable amount of time and provide one version of the truth at your fingertips. Like other petroleum marketers who have modernized their technology stack, you can rely on comprehensive financial information and inventory management software to automate your fuel business and ensure accuracy all the way from order generation to dispatch and delivery.
The numbers speak for themselves. Picture a business with 60 locations that imports, updates, processes, and bills for more than 15,000 transactions every day across multiple commercial fueling accounts. Now imagine a situation where this business eliminates manual processes, automates the process for reconciling and paying invoices, and matches daily data to bank information with an automated cash management system. The result is an annual savings in the six-figure dollar amount. Only you don’t have to imagine, because this is already a reality for many businesses.
Reconciliation of your planning and dispatch system reduces burden for your staff
In case you also distribute the fuel you sell, depending on the sophistication of your planning and dispatch solution, you can automatically reconcile quantities that have been ordered along with those you’ve already loaded and delivered to have everything ready for billing. The system collects data from numerous sources, such as IoT devices, metering systems, and terminal automation systems, as well as third-party systems and your own ERP applications.
Based on several definable constraints and accounting for volumes in L-ambient, it automatically reconciles orders and notifies users only when there are discrepancies that require human intervention. All data automatically gets pushed to the ERP system to facilitate accurate and timely invoicing—and eventually, payment reconciliation.
An automatic reconciliation process also enables paperless dispatch. With the push of a button on an in-truck device, your drivers can generate all the necessary documents that can be signed electronically or get printed in the truck, answering such questions as:
- How much volume did each order have?
- How much did each truck load at the terminal?
- How much fuel actually got delivered to the customers’ tanks?
- How much volume adjustment does each customer contract allow for and was that amount respected?
- Is there a maximum freight cost not to be exceeded?
And the list goes on. Imagine how much of a headache it can be for your staff to manually check all these types of questions, numbers, and data sources multiple times—on a daily basis. You can easily avoid that with automation.
Make your business efficient and your staff happy
If you want to do your business and your staff a favor, automatic reconciliation is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. In most cases, the accounting adds up and there’s nothing wrong to fix. Allowing your staff to manage by exception lets them focus on tasks that machines don’t excel at, such as delivering exceptional customer service.