Organizations need the right tools to manage their fuel supply chain in the wake of a crisis.

What are the top issues supply chain and logistics executives in the fuel industry should consider in order to stay agile during a crisis?

Today, the coronavirus brings a new host of issues to fuel replenishment and is a new form of natural disaster we all are contending with. According to the Travel Centers of America, which operates more than 260 truck stops in Canada and the U.S., there has been a drop in gasoline sales due to less automobile traffic on the road.  Due to shelter-in-place restrictions, many analysts predict the demand for fuel will be down as much as 20 percent this year. And what about adjustments that need to take place in other industries such as aviation?

With the demand for fuel changing so quickly, how do organizations manage their fuel supply chain in the wake of crisis, political upheaval or natural disaster? It can be a complex, costly and resource-intensive endeavor if you don’t have the right technology partner and the proper resources.

We have outlined the top five things to ensure your supply chain continues to run smoothly — whether you are dealing with a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Sandy in the U.S. or Hurricane Lorenzo in parts of Europe, or a global pandemic, like COVID-19.

  1. Use a cloud-based solution: Cloud-based software will help a business stay real-time and deliver continuity across borders and time zones. It is easier to move employees to remote work with a solution that is already in the cloud. For example, when truck drivers have access to mobile apps, they can practice social distancing, while still making fuel deliveries and having access to information such as inventory or size of delivery.
  2. Don’t rely on history: There are tools that can alert customers to changes in demand so they can quickly adjust their forecasts as gasoline demand declines (fewer people driving) or diesel demands increase (more trucks on the road). Supply chain managers won’t be able to rely on the history of a customer to forecast their demand in times of crisis.
  3. Know before you go: Make sure that your solution provides you with real-time visibility so that you can prevent sending a driver to a terminal where product is not available or a delivery site where product isn’t needed. A ‘know before you go’ approach helps you identify suppliers and/or terminals that are out of product and find alternatives to stay ahead of  supply disruptions or outages. Keeping track of changes in demand at retail fuel sites can help prevent diesel tanks from running low and prevent overfills of gasoline.
  4. Plan for risk: The coronavirus story will undoubtedly add to the industry’s collective knowledge about dealing with large-scale supply chain disruptions, such as hurricanes and other disasters. Even at this stage of the outbreak, we can draw important lessons about managing crises of this nature that we can apply down the road into future risk and scenario planning.
  5. Work with an experienced partner:  Find a trusted partner that knows and understands your business; a one-size-fits-all logistics solution may not be able to handle the unique needs of fuel haulers.
PDI Perspective: COVID-19 Fuel Delivery Volume Trends Report
Fuel demand trends and analysis to keep you informed

When it comes to disaster preparedness, we know that c-stores, gas stations, truck stops and the distribution systems that support them are laser focused right now. With all the changes taking place today, instability can be very stressful and unsettling. Smart replenishment is critical to peace of mind. And that is what fuel logistics organizations need right now as they look towards coming out of this crisis on the other side.

Did You Know: Your Source for PDI News provided by PDI, the leader in enterprise management software for the convenience retail and petroleum wholesale markets.