Cullimore saves significant fuel from storage monitoring 06 July 2010

Gloucestershire-based haulage and aggregates firm Cullimore Group reports "significant efficiency gains", following the installation of stock management technology on its diesel storage facilities.

"[Previously], we could never reconcile our fuel records, especially on tanks at our two remote sites," says site manager Phil Whitman. '"One of our fuelling points, in Ashton Keynes, is in the middle of a gravel pit, in a rather vulnerable position," he explains.

Cullimore's problem was that its manual dipping methods meant stock control was basically guesswork. "We would have 20,000 litres of fuel delivered, and drivers would draw from this using a key-type device, but we never got any reporting," says Whitman.

In May 2009, however, when Merridale pumps and fuel monitoring equipment were installed, digital monitors started recording precise amounts each vehicle drew, against odometer readings, and calculating drivers' and vehicles exact mileages per gallon.

And the value of that, says Whitman was almost instantaneous. "The software showed we had a serious discrepancy in stock levels at Ashton Keynes, with tanks much less full than expected… On closer investigation we realised we had been losing a very considerable volume of fuel."

The Merridale system had identified exactly what time of day, how much was removed and even how it was taken. Whitman installed surveillance and the theft stopped.

"Our accountant always said there was something major wrong, but we never believed that someone was taking that level of fuel," explains Whitman.

Since then, however, he reports that fuel usage monitoring has also helped in terms of specifying new vehicles for Moreton Cullimore's fleet.

"Surprisingly, new engines may be cleaner and friendlier to the environment but they burn more diesel. They certainly need to be driven carefully to get the same efficiency as the older stock," asserts Whitman.

"There is one particular size of cement mixer we bought and will not buy again solely because of the amount of fuel [we now know] it uses. Because they are road-going vehicles they use white diesel and we have to pay full duty."

Brian Tinham

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