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A Case Study on Advanced Propane's Transition to Precision with Otodata Tank Monitors

Revolutionizing Propane Delivery


Founded in 1992, Advanced Propane, one the largest propane marketers in middle Tennessee, provides a full-service experience including refills, inspections, propane appliance installation and much more. Their highly trained and dedicated staff take great pride in offering reliable and friendly service.

 

Andy Stewart, VP and Branch Manager of Advanced Propane, joined us from Lebanon, Tennessee to offer insight into their day-to-day operations.


Challenge

A small portion of Advanced Propane’s clientele already had monitors installed on their tanks – a program the company started a few years ago. Unfortunately, the readings were inaccurate. The devices required frequent battery changes and only offered weekly readings. Likewise, the monitors were so costly that it was difficult to justify further investment. 

 

The data provided by these monitors proved to be unreliable and led to increased operational costs and numerous dry runs: visits to clients to check the tank level only to realize a refill wasn’t needed. So, they instead relied upon a computer software to estimate delivery dates based on prior usage. 

 

While this software was useful, it would only become reliable after accumulating usage data over several years. With new customers, where no data was yet collected, it resulted in emergency situations where clients ran out of fuel. Compounded with rising diesel prices for delivery trucks, these miscalculations became increasingly pricey.


 “We can’t afford not to install these tank monitors.”

After much research and consideration, Advanced Propane concluded that better tank monitors would answer their issues. During their market study, Otodata stood out as a technological leader with great customer service and very reliable cellular data coverage and transmission. The pricing was also so good that their CFO concluded, “We can’t afford not to install these tank monitors.”


Process

Andy at Advanced Propane recalls he and his colleagues were impressed with the ease of installation of Otodata tank monitors. In just a few easy steps their team could get a level reading – no matter the size or type of tank they had to instal it on. 

 

Otodata’s interchangeable leads also became a big operational improvement for Advanced Propane as they could be easily switched out on location if damaged. Notably, Otodata leads were affordable enough to buy in bulk for just these occasions.

 

Spurred on by the improved accuracy of the level-data and ease of instal, Advanced Propane scaled up its tank monitor deployment dramatically – at one point installing up to 100 monitors daily.

 

Andy also recalls that, during the whirlwind of mass deployment, they found 150 Otodata monitors they believed to be lost thanks to their handy GPS location feature – a discovery that further cemented their choice. 


Results

Advanced Propane’s operations used to reply upon estimations based on infrequent level-readings – essentially guesswork. This often led to overtime and weekend shifts for their employees, and stressful run outs for their customers. Partnering with Otodata allowed Advanced Propane to leverage super accurate live level-readings to dramatically streamline their daily operations, offering peace of mind to its customers and a better work-life balance for its staff.

Andy shared that Advanced Propane has switched a significant number of its customer base to automated refills, leading to more revenue per tank and a steadier income throughout the year. It also greatly reduced the instances of late-night or weekend On-call Service Visits; a costly delivery that frequently interrupted employee family-time.

Otodata’s reliable level-data has also permitted another, unforeseen, cost-saving operational change: smaller tanks.

 

Aside from the higher cost of transporting large tanks, the cost of steel has also seen a sharp upturn, dramatically increasing their fabrication cost. This has in turn resulted in higher overhead for businesses and homeowners alike.

 

In the past, customers would insist on a large tank so they wouldn’t run out of fuel. With their new tank monitors, Advanced Propane can now sell smaller, more affordable tanks and refill them as needed. Even in the uncharacteristically cold winter temperatures hitting Tennessee in recent years, their customers very rarely went without.

 

In fact, Andy from Advanced Propane says tank monitors have become a selling point for new customers who feel they benefit from the transparency and sense of security it provides them. 


Within the first year of using Otodata Tank Monitors, Advanced Propane delivered more propane, but decreased the overall cost of running their trucks, even with rising diesel prices.

Advanced Propane estimates that they were able to save on buying one delivery truck per year as they now have reliable data and can accurately predict the scaling of their business – This, all thanks to Otodata Tank Monitors.


Contact us today at info@otodata.com to begin your fuel monitoring journey.


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A warm thank you to Andy Stewart from Advanced Propane.

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