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Partnership prospers: Mississippi marketer, monitor provider strengthen connection at Growth Summit

Originally published in LP Gas Magazine, July 2023, Page 30 by Bon Sandrick | PDF

Sayle Oil, inspecting a horizontal propane tank
Tank monitors have enabled two of Sayle Oil’s locations to reduce delivery stops by half. (Photo by Matt Rich)

Chuck Clement had already established a business relationship with David Dodd before the two became better acquainted at the 2021 LP Gas Growth Summit.

Over the previous year, Clement’s firm, Sayle Oil Co. In Charleston, Mississippi, had purchased about 100 propane tank monitors from Otodata, a maker of tank monitors and a logistics consultant based inMontreal. Dodd is Otodata’s director of sales for the southern U.S.

Until the summit, Clement and Dodd had talked mostly on the phone, and they once ran into each other at a Mississippi Propane Gas Association meeting. At the summit, they became friends, and this past winter, Sayle bought about 2,000 tank monitors from Otodata.

“Today, when I need something, I call David,” says Clement, director of Sayle Propane, a division of Sayle Oil. “I don’t talk to a switchboard or somebody in a call center."

“Otodata has that personal touch,” Clement says. “And that’s how we do business at Sayle. We try to have a face with our customers. We want them to do business with people they know.”

It’s not just the personal connection that brought Sayle and Otodata together. Clement was impressed by Otodata’s products and services.

“I’ve been around tank monitors for 40 years, and they’ve been relatively expensive to buy, then you have an additional monthly monitoring fee,” Clement says. “Otodata came along and changed the game. The cost of their monitors is not high, and the monthly fees are very reasonable.

“And the monitors work really well,” he says. “That puts us in a position where we can put them out at scale.”

Otodata’s monitors and management software are integrated with Sayle’s software, providing Sayle access to Otodata’s dashboard, through which Sayle can track its customers’ propane inventories. The system even reorders propane from Sayle automatically and schedules a delivery when a customer’s supply drops to 20 percent.

“Prior to that, you’re either waiting for the customer to call you, or you’re using some kind of forecasting system,” Clement says. “Forecasts can be complicated and require a lot of maintenance, and even if your system is working well, it’s still a guess. With the tank monitor, you always know where you’re at.”

Dodd says Sayle can also keep an eye on its own propane inventory and route multiple deliveries in the most efficient manner possible through the Otodata dashboard.

Clement says he’s just beginning to study how the Otodata tank monitoring system has benefited Sayle. So far, two of Sayle’s five locations have reduced their delivery stops by half. Drivers no longer have to visit customers just to check on their inventories because Sayle already knows the levels.

“Sayle does 35,000-40,000 stops a year,” Clement says. “Every stop traditionally has cost around $60, but due to inflation, the cost has risen to about $75. You’re saving big money every time you don’t stop a truck somewhere.”

“Sayle is forward-thinking when it comes to logistics efficiencies, so the fit has been extremely good.” David Dodd, Otodata

Clement credits the LP Gas Growth Summit for bringing Sayle and Otodata closer together.

“The summit is kind of like speed dating,” Clement says. “You have a 20-minute session with each vendor to listen to their pitch. You might go in thinking you don’t need a particular product or service, but if you listen, you might see where something can come in handy.”

Dodd says he and Clement learned they had a lot in common and moved in the same circles.

“The industry is very fraternal in general, so a lot of people have common friends, even if they don’t know each other,” Dodd says. “You have social interactions at the summit, in addition to the formal one-on-one meetings, so you have a chance to meet.”

Dodd says the relationship with Sayle has helped Otodata create a strong presence in Mississippi.

“Sayle is forward-thinking when it comes to logistics efficiencies, so the fit has been extremely good,” Dodd says.



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