When OK tankers deliver fuel to companies, petrol stations and private individuals, there is also intensive communication between mobile terminals and servers at OK headquarters. Everything is managed and controlled in a comprehensive wireless IT solution that ensures both service level and quality.
Delivers over 1 million cubic metres of oil and gasoline annually
You see them all the time – the big tankers that deliver petrol and oil to service stations, businesses and households. And OK is among the oil companies drivers look to most on the roads. Every year, their tankers cover more than 5.5 million kilometres and deliver more than 1 million cubic metres of oil and petrol.
“Our fleet is 100 tankers and we have about 125 drivers. In addition, we have between 15 and 20 hauliers who help us,” explains Operations Coordinator Mona Jensen from OK.
Although you might think of a tanker as simply being filled with petrol, according to Mona Jensen, each tanker is compartmentalised, so each transport can typically carry five different types of fuel in a single run.
“Already in 1996, we went from a paper system to electronic data transfer,” continues Mona Jensen. “At the same time, Intermec developed a solution for us for electronic management of the deliveries, space management on the tankers and much more.
Handles five different products through the same pump
Having worked closely with Tecsys on the integration of handheld and mobile IT equipment, it was natural for Tecsys to take over the service and further development of the solution when Intermec closed its IT solutions division in 2006. Former Intermec systems developer Ken Sorensen moved to Tecsys at the same time.
“Tecsys’ great competence in mobile solutions as well as logistics and quality management is the perfect platform for further development of OK’s solution” says Ken Sørensen and explains the system: “The drivers’ trips are planned in an electronic route planning system, which sends the driving lists to servers at OK’s headquarters in Aarhus and from there out to the terminals in the tankers via wireless ISDN.
Along with the list, the server also sends an automatically generated loading suggestion, taking into account that the different compartments of the vehicle need to contain petrol and oil of different quality. When the driver arrives for loading, a counter on the pump sends a message to the server in Aarhus about how much of which product he has received, and in which room. This information is then sent back to the terminal in the vehicle.
Terminal and GPS optimise routes and information flow
Once the driver has loaded his truck and clicks on the first customer in the list, data is communicated between the terminal and a GPS device, showing him the most optimal route. Once at the customer’s premises, a given quantity must be unloaded. The litre counter on the trolley manages the outflow, so that the petrol station, for example, gets the amount ordered – and then sends a message to the terminal to print an invoice.
As filling stations send information to headquarters on their fuel stocks on a regular basis, and there can be large jumps in petrol sales during the day, for example in the event of a price drop, it sometimes happens that the vehicle has to deliver more fuel than the original running list took into account. It is also handled in digital cooperation between the terminal and the server in Aarhus.
The server informs the terminal about changes in the filling station’s needs. This is compared with the terminal’s information on the instantaneous amount of fuel in the vehicle, so that the driver can be immediately notified if this means route changes and or creates the need for him to return and refill the vehicle earlier than first calculated.
OK has great confidence in future cooperation
“The most delicate part of our solution is a rinsing programme located on the terminals of each trolley,” says Ken Sørensen. “Despite five different compartments, there is only one pump on each truck, so the piping system may well contain residual oil of a different quality to that to be delivered to the next customer.”
In 2003, all oil products except sulphur-free oil were required by law to be coloured, and as OK runs mixed loads, the flush programme was introduced to allow the driver to flush the system before dispensing uncoloured sulphur-free oil.
Ken Sørensen explains that he has developed a solution so that the pump can flush a fuel residue out of the pipes and back into the corresponding room. In this way, the customer is guaranteed fuel of exactly the quality ordered.
Continuous development improves systems
But the sulphur content of the products is becoming increasingly demanding, so right now OK and Ken Smedegaard at Tecsys are completely changing the flushing system on the car.
The new system must take into account both the sulphur content and any colouring of the oil, and must be able to handle kerosene separately.
According to Mona Jensen, Tecsys has really managed to lift and build on years of collaboration. She also points out that overall service security has been created through immediate reporting of all aspects of deliveries – and security for drivers through the integration of drive/rest time.
We may also need to update both terminals and system platform at some point. It is also possible that in time we will have to use a more modern mobile phone line than ISDN wireless, but we look at all this with great serenity. We have confidence in the continued development work and service from Ken Sorensen at Tecsys.
And since Ken Sørensen also has close contact and dialogue with the super users among the drivers, we are sure to get solutions that are both in line with OK’s business needs and at the same time cater to the people who use the mobile logistics solution as a tool in their everyday lives, Mona Jensen concludes.