September 2020

Fuel quality consultants here at Advanced Fuel Solutions are teachers, guidance counselors, and instructors. Because of our multiple daily roles, we have to wear many hats and respond to customer inquiries and challenges at every turn. Those questions and concerns about how to successfully run a fuel quality program can be overly complex—mostly because our customers or prospects may not know where to begin with a new line of treatment or housekeeping strategies.

As a result, I’ve taken the liberty of putting together every teacher’s favorite go-to lesson: The ABC’s. And, as you will see, it really is that simple.

The “A” is assets. This can be bulk storage, if you have tanks to store your heating oil and/or diesel, but even if you do not have your own storage, you certainly do have a truck—likely more than one truck, and that fleet is an asset that needs to be protected. What is the best approach to protect your assets? Tank Housekeeping and preventative defensive measures in the way of additives and available filtration technology. Tanks should be stuck with water-finding paste once a month to monitor for potential moisture build up. If the tanks are free from water, an additive package that includes moisture dispersant and corrosion inhibitor is a great next step. As for your fleet, the engine components need to be protected from the inside out. Each of our diesel clients at AFS sleep well at night with the knowledge that their saddle tanks, fuel lines, injectors, and post-combustion systems are protected as well. It all begins with taking care of the equipment that your business stands on.

Next in the alphabet of fuel quality program is “B” for brand. Your brand and business’ reputation are controlled by you and you alone. One wrong step and a bad experience at a home or with a client of yours can cost you…big time. So, what’s the best way to protect your brand? Thinking forward, being progressive, and taking care of your products from the moment you receive them until the moment they are delivered is one of your top priorities. In addition to the housekeeping and treatment strategies I’ve spoken about, you need to do your best to let anyone and everyone listening, that you have taken the next step in keeping the integrity of your fuel as good as good can be. You test your tanks, you’ve introduced important filtration and/or additive/protectant packages, and now’s the time to talk about it.

Source your IT staff/consultant and have your website updated. Train your CSR’s to understand the fuel quality program and additive package so they can quickly and confidently relay that story over the telephone lines to prospects and customers alike. Educate your drivers and service technicians , so they not only reiterate the success story on the streetbut know what to look for in the basements of new accounts you take on—those who historically haven’t been oriented to important additive treatment.

Lastly, we have “C” for customers, of course. Without them, you’d have no business, after all. Customers and their tanks are where many additive companies typically start in their presentations on the trade show floor. They’ll tell you something about filters, nozzles, and strainers being cleaner when using their products. Those things are certainly important, but without thinking from the top—starting with A and moving to B—no real fuel quality program will be 100% successful. Once your housekeeping strategies are in effect and you’ve begun to adopt the credo of a next-generation fuel manager on the daily, only then will your customers reap the true benefit of your initiative.

As an industry, it’s more important now than ever to communicate news from our world to the street-level, the consumer base. Yes, you want them to know that their filters, nozzles, and strainers look clean—that you’ve taken on special vitamins and minerals in your fuel to keep their tanks clean and their efficiency ratings where they should be for much longer than ever before.

But, perhaps, much more than that, we need to share our experiences with our customers because of the threats to your business and their choice of energy partners. I suppose that brings me to the letter “D” for dissolution.

It’s no secret that legislators all over New England are gunning for producers of carbon-heavy energy. It’s also no secret that electrification is their driving motivation. As a result, as industry members, family run businesses, and community members we need to look toward the future and and the treatment of low-carbon liquid fuels to bring tomorrow’s energy to America’s basements today.

Right now, our best chance is biodiesel. The Providence Resolution of 2019 has brought us closer to moving together in that direction.

By sharing what is on the horizon and what threatens our industry, our customers, and potential shoppers of middle distillates alike, they will not only see a better, cleaner, and safer fuel than ever before, but will also see us—leaders continuously committed to what we’ve always done to take care of customers first and foremost.

Everything is based on fuel quality because “quality” is what every consumer is looking for in the end, even over price. By taking care of your ABC’s, you’ll do right by you, your employees, and customers alike. The journey of one-thousand miles begins with one step.

Barry Aruda is the Northeast Regional Manager for Advanced Fuel Solutions. He spends a great deal of his full-time job testing fuel for analysis, recommending preventative defensive strategies, and working with dealers to overcome the challenges of housekeeping and changing technology. He can be reached at 978-438-6100 or barry@yourfuelsolution.com