One of the major developments with fuel management systems in recent years is the ability to capture all fuel usage data automatically, store it at the fuel management unit and then deliver that information to the cloud via networked communications, 3G, Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
Some of the benefits of a cloud-based system over PC software include:
• Collection of data is automatic requiring no additional action or uploads with data delivered in near real-time to customers, fast-tracking fuel accounting, reporting and making reconciliation easy.
• Data is always available, eliminating the need to travel to the site to access it. Data being available is a huge benefit considering the remoteness of some places, mainly when you have multiple sites in various geographic locations.
• No setup, installation or hardware requirements beyond an internet connection and web browser, since all computations, reporting and maintenance are performed on the system provider’s hosting infrastructure.
• System and platform are scalable as your business grows with no upfront user licenses or limitations on your hardware or support.
• No specific PC hardware or software installation skills are required.
• Flexible reporting allowing the end user to design their reporting system
uniquely for their needs.
• Secure and multi-user / multi-site access through simple login and password authorizations.
In summary, cloud-based reporting is a must for any fuel management system as it allows for automatic and instant data uploading and no special software or skills needed to access the data. The days of having to travel out to the physical unit to retrieve the data are now over.
Access to Fuel
Another critical consideration is driver accessibility to fuel. In 2018, there are many ways to authorize access to fuel such as punch codes; swipe cards; near field communication embedded in devices like key fobs, vehicle tags or ID cards. Ideally, to suit your business as well as possible, a system that incorporates a combination of these is often most appropriate. For instance, a regular driver might have a swipe card or fob key, but an infrequent or one-off user might only be given a code to punch into the machine.
Easy service and repair
Some providers have unit diagnostics which are easily accessed remotely. Their technology allows remote control and communication with the units for ongoing maintenance and repairs reporting. Therefore, should a repair be needed, you can see what the problem is, order the part and have it delivered before you even get to the unit.
Key to this capability is the ability to have click-in and click-out modules that allow for easy repair without the need for a technician to come to the site. This should allow for non-technicians in the field to repair easily. Merely unplug broken module A and put in new module A.
Any fuel management system should also come with the ability to be easily scalable. These features should be kept in mind when looking for a fuel management system.
We have reviewed several fuel management systems and share our findings below, with a table at the end of the document showing what each product can provide to your business.