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Heating oil delivery: 6 tips to grow your business

Growing your heating oil delivery business is exciting, but it comes with its own set of challenges. To ensure your business is headed in the right direction - efficient operations is the key. So we put together these growth tips to help you scale up your operations and maximize efficiency by leveraging tech like heating oil delivery software.

Table of Contents

Introduction

As your heating oil delivery business grows – so does your need to efficiently manage the different parts of your business while ensuring operations run smoothly. And without the right set of technology to manage your business – you will probably find yourself in the middle of tons of paperwork, a burned out operations team, increasing costs, and just more chaos. And this only gets crazier as you keep scaling. So, to kick your heating oil delivery business into high gear – you need to scale operations. And that’s where a heating oil delivery software comes in. 

So we put together these 7 tips/ways to grow your business with a heating oil delivery software.

Use tank monitors to ensure there are no run-outs 

One of the key things in running a reliable heating oil delivery business is ensuring there are zero run-outs. Using tank monitor integrations is one way to ensure that. What stands out here is the ability to remotely monitor tank levels without relying on the traditional ways of manually checking tank levels or playing the guessing game. Modern heating oil delivery software integrates with tank monitors and gives you up-to-minute data on tank levels. This removes the hassle from scheduling heating oil deliveries. You can schedule auto-order creation for deliveries by setting a threshold level for every tank. And every time the fuel levels fall below that threshold – a delivery order is automatically created.

So you’re not only able to increase your efficiency in managing orders but also reduce costs and build more reliability and trust with customers. They now have some peace of mind knowing they’re not going to run out of heating oil. 

Build optimal routes 

Heating oil delivery logistics are complicated enough without the added challenges of inefficient routes. Which lets agree –  ends up in drivers taking longer routes, unnecessary stops, run-outs, overworking drivers and increased costs. 

There are a lot of factors to consider to decide the most efficient route for a driver. Ultimately the goal is to build optimized routes that minimize drivers time on the road and overall operations costs. Moreover, dispatchers already have a lot of unexpected challenges thrown at them throughout the day. Will calls and run-outs are some of those. To address these challenges you need to have information on your fingertips. That includes knowing where exactly all your drivers are? What are their stops? How much inventory is left on their trucks? Which deliveries could be skipped? 

Keeping all of these things in mind can get so overwhelming. You would know that already. 

To tackle this – using route optimization tools is the key. 

These tools automatically build out the most optimal routes for your drivers – based on all of these many factors that affect driver routes. Plus – it’s a lot easier to re-route orders without the constant back and forth calls with drivers. Not only are you freed from the manual task of planning these routes but also significantly increase your delivery efficiency by minimizing operational costs. 

Focus on efficiency, growth will follow

It’s almost impossible to focus on growth when you’re spending way too much time in running day-to-day operations. The number of hours that just go into creating orders, dispatching them to drivers, reconciling shifts, preparing invoices is insane. On top of that – all the paperwork to shuffle and manual tasks not only takes away hours of your teams precious time but also makes you prone to errors and mistakes. The instances of missing deliveries, or getting the wrong quantity delivered to the wrong customer, inaccuracies in billing are way too frequent. And basically most of your time goes in figuring these things out, and burning these daily fires – can actually be spent elsewhere focusing on more strategic things that would help scale your business. 

Automating and digitizng these workflows replaces all the manual work and paper processes with streamlined workflows that saves dispatchers and drivers hours of busy work, and reduces the chances of errors. The more efficienct your operations are – the better you are equipped to grow and scale your business. 

Even when you think of expanding your business in one or more ways (could be adding new business lines/products, more tanks, more services) – it’s easier to manage when your operations are streamlined. 

Make customer experience your competitive advantage 

It all boils down to the kind of experience you can provide your customers. To grow your heating oil business – you need to build workflows that can adapt to your customers needs. It should driven by what customers are looking for, and not always what fuels your bottom line. 

Get your competitive advantage right, margins will follow! 

Here are a couple of ways heating oil delivery software can help:  

  1. A customer portal – Convenience is the name of the game. You need to make it easy for customers to do business with you. It starts with enabling your customers to placing orders directly without the need to get on back and forth calls 
  2. Real-time order status updates – Don’t keep customers guessing where their orders are.Real-time visibility into operations enables you to reply to customer inquiries in real-time.
  3. Reliable, on-time deliveries – There’s a promise you never want to break. With technology like tank monitor integrations, digitized order management & dispatch offered by modern heating oil delivery software – you can make sure you never miss an order. 

 Measure what’s important for your business 

With tighter margins and higher costs – you can’t run your business on assumptions. You need to have the right operations data to identify areas that need improvements. Things move fast in today’s business – so you need to know where the challenges are and what opportunities you have. Numbers never lie. Measure the right ones, track your KPIs, and find trends/patterns to make more informed decisions for your business. 

And it’s a good thing that heating oil delivery software’s have reporting and analytics that can help you track metrics that are important to your business. 

Gallons per mile, gallons per minute, overall sales (higher in winter, lower in summer that’s how it should be for heating oil businesses), average drop size are some key data points you must look at. 

Aim for higher profit margins 

Increasing truck costs, driver wages, price volatility – all these eat on your profit margins. While you can’t control these, there are still ways to boost your profit margins. You need to focus on those aspects of your business which you CAN control. Operations to be precise. 

Investing in a heating oil delivery software will help you bring down your operational costs in many ways. With more streamlined dispatching – you’re able to maximize truck and driver capacity. It’s almost like having the capacity of an extra truck/driver. With more optimal routes – drivers are travelling fewer miles and completing more deliveries without working overtime. These are some of the ways you can reduce operations costs and enjoy higher profit margins. 

Clearly, growing your heating oil delivery business requires you to leverage technology that can help you build a strong operations workflow – one that’s not dependent on paper, spreadsheets and 10 different systems. 

FleetPanda’s dispatch platform is built to do just that. Digitize and automate dispatcher and driver workflows, build optimal routes, access business-critical data, and gain a competitive edge – all with a single platform. 

Discover more by booking a demo today. 

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