Crystal Balling 2024: Tech Trends Fuel Marketers Need to Know to Stay Ahead of the Curve

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Wholesale petroleum software: A guide to choosing the best one for your business 

Wholesale petroleum software is no more a nice-to-have. The right platform will help you streamline operations, speed up invoices and grow your business multifold. While you look for a vendor - consider these evaluation factors to ensure you invest your money wisely.

Table of Contents

Introduction

It’s kind of hard to overstate the importance of a wholesale petroleum software. And most petroleum marketers know they need a software. But still, there are a lot of things to consider once you start evaluating software in the market. 

So we decided to write this guide that talks about the factors to consider when looking at different vendors so you can be confident about investing your money in the right platform. 

But before we jump to that, let’s agree upon what a wholesale petroleum software is.

So, what is a wholesale petroleum software exactly? 

In a nutshell, a wholesale petroleum software is the heart of your petroleum logistics workflow. It automates and digitizes all your daily operational workflows – helping you increase operation efficiency, speed up invoicing cycles, and grow your business multifold.

And the right software makes processes much simpler and efficient for your entire operations team. 

  • Dispatchers use the software to create, schedule, dispatch and track all orders – ensuring no deliveries are missed  
  • Drivers are equipped with the exact information they need to complete their deliveries – without the need to handle papertickets
  • Accoutants/billing teams don’t have to go through tonns of paperwork and manually enter data for each order to create invoices 
  • Pricing workflows are on auto-pilot 
  • Overall, business owners have much more control over operations and access to operations data that’s super helpful in making critical business decisions 

Trends in wholesale petroleum that are increasing the demand for wholesale petroleum software

The wholesale petroleum industry in general has been a traditional one. Manual processes, paper, spreadsheets and emails have been the way most business manage their operations. 

But, in the past few years, there have been some trends that have made petroleum marketers realize the inefficiencies in their processes. 

One is market consolidation. 2023 has seen some of the biggest mergers and acquisitions of the decade. But imagine the challenges that come with integrating companies with different cultures and processes. Without the right tech that can actually unify operations across all companies and get them to run as one – mergers and acquisitions can only end in chaos. 

As Patrick McNeece – Partner at McNeece Bros puts it – 

 “With the technological advancements happening – it’s very important to adapt. The industry itself is seeing the larger companies acquiring the smaller ones. And those large companies are already equipped with new-age tech. So in times like – to stay competitive and scale your business – you have to adapt to tech. “

Next is the rising driver shortage. The American trucking association in their latest report, predict driver shortages to rise up to 84,000 this year. And one of the reasons is the younger generations unwillingness to take up driver jobs just because of the demanding nature of the job. This generation is literally born with tablets and ipads. Imagine them having to shuffle around paperwork and work with outdated tech. This is why petroleum marketers are feel the need to equip drivers with smartphones and apps to make their jobs more efficient and simple.  

Last one is the need for an integrated tech stack. The major reason for this is the context switching when you’re using too many tools that don’t talk to each other. Just moving from one tool to another to get some information is time-conusming, tedious and often results in information loss in between all the system toggling. 

Yet aagin, beautifully put by Patrick McNeece – “There is a lot of stuff happening out in the field. Information is scattered in different places and you want to consolidate them all in one place so that reconciliation becomes easy. With legacy systems like PDI, data is so fragmented – it’s difficult to bill a customer without retrieving data from 10 different places and piece it together.”

To learn more about the tech trends of 2024, checkout our trends prediction report 

Checklist for choosing the right wholesale petroleum software 

It’s clear that a wholesale petroleum software is no more a nice-to-have. But with dozens of tools out there – how do you decide which is the right one for you? We will help you. Here are 9 must-consider factors: 

You can manage different business lines on one software 

It’s a complete waste of time and effort if you have to jump from one software to the other to manage your differen business lines – tank wagons, transport, common carriers, propane delivery, rental asset management etc. Consider a software that can bring all of your business lines in one place. 

Customize features based on your evolving business needs 

The ability to build custom features for your operational needs is precious. Every business has distinct needs. You need a software that has the flexibility to customize features/modules for you. This is one place where legacy systems usually fall short. They’re built on outdated tech and usually have a one-size-fits-all approach which makes it difficult for them to customize their solution for you. 

Product innovation and development is continuous 

You’re not just investing in a software – you’re choosing a long-term tech partner. You should look for a vendor who is continuously improving their product. See how often they release new features? How quickly do they fix bugs and make existing features even better? What does their product roadmap look like? It’s proof of the fact that the software is moving fast and can adapt to the changing market dynamics.Without these, the wholesale petroleum software you choose will become obsolete even before your contract ends. 

Integrates with your existing tools 

Ability to integrate with your existing tech stack is essential. Without that, your operations teams end up spending way too much time in switching between different tools and systems. All your data/information is scattered across systems. And basically your entire operations is disconnected because your systems don’t talk to each other. 

Tools modern wholesale petroleum software integrate with

So – it’s absolutely critical to look for a software that integrates with your accounting, CRM, Fuel Pricing, Tank Monitors, LCR meters, and all other tools that are deeply embedded in your workflow.

Implementation is quick and smooth 

Wholesale petroleum softwares often become a blocker rather than an enabler for you. And why is that so? Implementation takes months and even years at times. Even after implementation, sometimes you just struggle to get your team up and running on the platform. You find yourself milion dollars short and stuck with a half-launched software. 

So, implementation timelines and process are key factors you must consider. The software you choose should be quick to implement and easy to use. 

Customer support exists! 

You just don’t want a great software – you also need a great team backing it up. You need a support team that responds quickly to your requests/queries. And this support should go beyond sales and purchase cycle. 

True Cost of Ownership is clear 

Besides the initial cost of the software, you also want to look at the other costs associated with the platform to get a clear picture of the actual cost of ownership. These include: 

  • Ongoing maintenance costs 
  • Additional implementation/set-up/training costs 
  • Technical supports costs 
  • Feature upgrades/improvements costs 

Ask you vendor these questions to understand all the costs associated with the software. 

Doesn’t look and feel like the 90’s 

Who wants a Nokia 3310 when there’s a Samsung/iphone available? Don’t settle for a software that is built on old-age tech and takes you back to the 90s. Take a good look at the overall design – it should be modern, intuitive, and futuristic. Think from your new hires’s point of view. Will they want to use outdated and clunky software? Not really. 

Modern wholesale petroleum software vs legacy software

Will be your long-term partner/ally 

The best wholesale petroleum softwares are the ones that are built for the future. You’re building your business to be future-ready. You can’t rely on a software that’s built decades ago and hasn’t evolved since then. Investing millions in software is not a short-term fix. You need a tech partner that has a clear vision and can support your business as it grows. 

FleetPanda vs Legacy Systems: Who checks all the boxes? 

It’s easy to always fall for the shiny object (i.e legacy systems) and hope it will solve all your operational challenges. But think about it – these systems were built decades ago. Not to say they weren’t effective. But given today’s tech advancements, and the increasing competition – make legacy systems obsolete.

Here’s a quick comparison table: 

Cloud-based wholesale petroleum software vs legacy software

Feel ready to see FleetPanda’s cloud and smartphone-based platform in action? Would love to give you a walkthrough. You can schedule a call here. 

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