Rising energy prices means fleet managers are being squeezed even harder to lower costs and improve efficiency. Keeping the trucks on the roads at the lowest cost per mile is more challenging today, with supply chain pressures and significant inflation. If you’ve invested in CNG fueling for your fleet or are considering a change for economical or environmental reasons, it’s important to look at short-term and long-term benefits and risks.
1. Expect flexibility in your fuel and equipment provider
Just as a good fuel supplier will work with you on contracts, RIN credits, pricing and even information on grants and funding, a good equipment provider will give you options. Your needs may change; from fleet size, to fueling volume, to locations needing service. Make sure your equipment provider offers these solutions:
- A variety of sized compressors
- Modular fueling systems that are easily transportable
- Remote fueling, including mother-daughter solutions
- Pressure boosters
- Time-fill fueling options
- Fast-fill fueling options
- Parts for all your CNG needs
- The engineering and technical bench and willingness to customize solutions
- Solutions that grow and evolve with market changes and your needs
2. Look for advances in technology and product and service improvements
Having the biggest name in the industry doesn’t ensure the best solutions. Choose an equipment vendor that creatively develops unique solutions, using the latest technology, and continuously works to improve their products and services. Technology should be developed to bring real value – in terms of cost savings, improved efficiency, better user-experience and profitability.
“Using today’s powerful data-management tools, station and fleet owners have access to dashboards which can be personalized with real-time operation data and key performance indicators,” says Schmoll. Expect remote access to your station’s OEE, and remote shut down and reset capabilities.
Product and services improvements should focus on efficiency and uptime. “Look for systems that deliver uninterrupted fueling service for your drivers and fleets,” says Schmoll.
3. Choose a partner committed to your success
“You’ll have a clear indicator if your equipment provider is in it for the long-haul with you by how easy they are to work with from the start,” notes Schmoll. Choosing a partner who is looking for your long-term growth while addressing short-term or immediate needs is important. “When you choose a vendor, they’ll sell you metal and parts,” he notes. “But a partner works with you to invest in solutions and customizes equipment, services and support to meet your efficiency and profit goals.”
- Collaborates across the supply chain to identify and deliver the best overall equipment, performance, delivery and support solutions for you.
- Knows the market and works with you to identify opportunities and risks.
- Is willing to customize solutions for you.
- They are there when things to well, and especially when they don’t.
4. Don’t settle for anything less than truly responsive support
As Murphy’s Law would have it, fueling issues for drivers of CNG trucks generally happen in the very early hours of the morning, when few are awake, and help is hard to find.
If these are the hours common for fueling up for the day, it stands to reason that your station equipment provider should be available to troubleshoot any issues. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
CMD joined the CNG fueling market with a commitment to support and partnership as our business model. “That’s why we have a dedicated call center staffed with trained specialists, available 24/7/365 with station camera feeds and remote access,” says Schmoll. “Our customers’ drivers do not experience the lonely driver syndrome – they receive consistent, easily accessible support at all times.”
5. What to expect after the sale
- Technical support – experts on staff that are familiar with your station and are available for quick questions, virtual meetings or site audits
- Ready service – a nationwide network of trained CNG technicians available for quick dispatch
- Quick parts delivery – In-house specialists with quick access to inventory you need for wear parts and maintenance
- Training – regular training sessions to update station personnel or 3rd party technicians on station maintenance, operation, and repair
Energy and fueling choices are changing rapidly and a focus on making greener choices will remain for the near and distant future. Choosing a fueling equipment partner who adapts to the changing market, and your changing needs, can help futureproof your investment and deliver the most profitable solution in the long run.