This article published November 2017. For latest news THIS MONTH'S ISSUE
Insight is delighted to welcome on board the fuels pricing software brand, FuelsPricing, as sponsor of Global Convenience Store Focus; alongside Liquid Barcodes. Here we lift the lid on the FuelsPricing solutions and its USPs
FuelsPricing is the software brand name of Inform Information Systems Ltd (IIS), which has been providing and integrating software solutions in the downstream fuels business since 1990. IIS solutions optimize the fuels pricing process in both the retail filling station and wholesale B2B fuels market. According to the company, its focus has always been to provide solutions that streamline operational processes and deliver value add. FuelsPricing enables users to reduce costs and provides functional capabilities to understand price volume optimisation and improve pricing performance.
IIS’s heritage with fuels pricing began when it developed a tailor made solution for Esso UK in the mid 1990s to support its PriceWatch Campaign, which successfully changed the UK marketplace. IIS was able to take that experience and, after significant development, build a generic commercial package. This package was licensed by one of the oil majors and rolled out over a number of years around the world as the corporate standard for fuels pricing, automating most aspects of pricing and associated processes for all methods of operation, company owner, commission agent and every flavour of dealer operation you can think of.
Today, IIS customers range from independent retailers to the largest multi-national integrated oil companies. The company has delivered solutions in every type of market around the world optimising processes in regulated wholesale markets to the most active retail markets. To achieve this success they have the most configurable offering available and IIS’s has world class proven capabilities to integrate with other leading fuels marketing solutions, ranging from SAP to specialised wet stock systems.
In recent years IIS has helped several customers who have acquired sizeable chains from majors’ divestment programmes in Europe, Asia and South America, where it has provided both FuelsPricing solutions and integration services. IIS reports the demand for mixed product and integration services looks set to continue as the downstream industry continues to change.
IIS has more than 20 years’ experience working in more than 50 countries, pricing more than 30,000 service stations. In a 2017 survey, customers identified FuelsPricing’s in-depth, hands-on understanding of hugely diverse regional markets as a key reason for selection. “Their experience is very valuable; they can handle complex pricing; and they apply best practice learned all around the world,” said one respondent.
The IIS FuelsPricing management team, meanwhile, have a wealth of knowledge gathered working in the fuel majors and working collaboratively in-country with FuelsPricing customers.
IIS FuelsPricing has been providing software solutions in global markets since 1990. One of the ‘most complex’ market to model from a fiscal and commercial perspect for retail and B2B was Brazil; a title that still holds true today with recent market changes.
Having helped companies in every type of market, IIS claims it is uniquely able to advise implement and configure its standard solutions to exactly match customer needs in an ever-changing marketplace.
While the core pricing process is similar around the globe, the level of complexity in commercial and fiscal arrangements vary significantly, the company reports. In Australia, for example, price observations take place every 15 minutes; while in Argentina, up until 2000, the post office provided data once a week. In addition, there are the permutations of site operation, which range from self-serve, full-serve, spilt-serve, and unattended; including price changes direct to the POS and pole sign.
FuelsPricing currently prices well over 30,000 service stations and more than 100,000 wholesale buyers in every corner of the world; from northern Canada to southern Argentina, and from the South Island of New Zealand to the north of Japan.
Chain sizes vary from 30 sites to 5,000 sites and pricing strategies range from “match the lowest” to price/volume optimised statistical models; plus every variation on the pricing spectrum. Fortunately, due to IIS’s strong integration capability and its cost/benefit approach, customers are able to leverage any advantages that arise in their own specific trading environments.
The business returns on speed, accuracy and flexibly are significant; while the cost of inefficient pricing and slow market response can be high, IIS adds.
FuelsPricing says it has a defined service culture and can-do attitude to product development. It always places the needs of its customers first by talking the same business language and understanding what the underlying ask is.
In a 2017 third party survey of customers, both long-standing and relatively new customers, respondents strongly identified positive characteristics in the way IIS works.
A selection of candid customer comments include:
“They get to grips with the needs of the business, then go all out.”
“They are very agile; they combine speed and accuracy; no fuzzy stuff.”
“This is the key point: IIS is very unusual. They have business understanding and technical capability. It’s an unusual combination.”
“They recruit exceptionally capable people.”
“No one believed I could deliver the project in the time available. With the help of IIS, I did.”
“The system is extremely stable. In 4 years we’ve only had one mishap, which was the result of an end user mistake. Support was there 24 hours – IIS took steps to fix the problem at 2 a.m.”
“It was the most fun I’d ever had working on a project!”
"We now have the ability to adjust pricing within defined parameters, which is important, and we can be entirely self-managing or call on IIS for advice, recommendations and options.”
IIS reports FuelsPricing products are renowned for their stability; they are ready-to-go and quick to roll out. Thousands of its system users are self-sufficient and require little assistance after initial set-up and training, the company says.
However, many others work closely with FuelsPricing to refine their systems and they describe their relationship with IIS as ‘co-dependent.’
The approach is always collaborative, however. The real world experiences and emerging challenges of customers inform the company’s product roadmap. Close connection with the shifting forces within the fuels sector all around the world helps it to provide effective products that exactly meet customers’ needs.
In the fuels sector, a small user error or pricing delay can result in missed opportunities or significant losses. IIS reports that its dedicated FuelsPricing Support Team is always on hand to answer queries and help with fixes. Its experts know FuelsPricing systems from top to bottom and back to front, it says. They are highly knowledgeable about the technology used by customers and about regional and market variations. The company prides itself on its ability to help customers extract maximum value from its pricing systems.
FuelsPricing provides round-the-clock comprehensive support by phone or email.
There is little or no replacement for experience when it comes to knowing the market forces and understanding the nuances that apply in different regions and countries. Market knowledge and technical capability are hallmarks of the FuelsPricing difference, the company says. The FuelsPricing senior team has worked in many of the world's leading fuel companies, and has first hand knowledge of market challenges in more than 50 countries. It places its vast experience at the disposal of retail and wholesale customers.
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