13 September 2023


14th September 2023, Manchester UK – Touchstar client Calor Ireland make a further significant investment in ‘Fuelstar’ system

About Calor

Every day, Calor supplies LPG, BioLPG, LNG and Autogas to its customers: homes and businesses off the mains gas grid. Calor provides an energy that is easy to transport, store and use, which has many versatile uses, and a limited environmental impact compared to popular alternatives.

Calor Ireland are the leading supplier and distributor of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in Ireland, allowing customers who are located off the natural gas grid use LPG gas for power in their homes and businesses. The company is expert in LPG procurement and commissioning, bulk gas storage, cylinder filling and storage, LPG transport and delivery, installation and maintenance. The company also actively develop and innovate new LPG powered products such as the Calor Mini-BBQ and new lightweight cylinder.

Calor Ireland employ 284 staff in 6 sites located throughout the island of Ireland serving circa 50,000 customers across residential and industrial commercial sectors.

Background to system upgrade project

As well as investing in the latest energy solutions, Calor also has a history of embracing technology to improve delivery processes and provide an efficient service to keep customer satisfaction high.

Calor has been working with TouchStar Technologies, a leading supplier of mobile data capture systems to the Fuel Logistics sector, since 2003 to automate key business processes associated with distributing its products to customers. Mobile computing was originally introduced to eliminate paperwork, reducing billing cycles and manage stock better. Secondary benefits were achieved via the use of GPS technology, which aided job planning, vehicle scheduling and routing.

Following an internal review, Calor Ireland identified a requirement to replace the legacy ePOD system. The incumbent version of the system had been in daily use for twelve years and as such had limited capacity for modification and enhancement due largely Microsoft’s decision to ‘end of life’ it’s Windows CE platform. As a leading-edge technology developer, Touchstar already had many years of investment in offering Android-based mobile computing solutions as the natural successor to the Windows-based systems. Touchstar were able to propose a solution that would ensure the minimum of change for operational workflow, whilst offering additional Android-based functionalities that would create new and additional value to the day to day operations for Calor Ireland. The new solution includes a new in-cab driver application, FuelStar, the ATEX rated Android device on which it runs (TS3300) and FuelStar Back Office, which sits between the mobile FuelStar Application and the existing planning and scheduling tool.  

System upgrade functionality

The Fuelstar proof of delivery solution provides a rich set of functionalities including product handling, job allocation, delivery records, vehicle checks, navigation and driver communication. It creates a defined (and configurable) workflow, so Calor can be confident that their drivers will consistently follow the prescribed processes. It is purpose-designed for clients within the oil and gas industries to optimise their distribution operations. FuelStar creates a uniquely robust and real time dataflow and workflow between the planning office and the drivers.

The Android version of FuelStar will also facilitate improvements to Calor with regard to satellite navigation capabilities. EIRCODE search and navigation capabilities are included and the system also includes vehicle specific attributes and live traffic updates (thus avoiding risk of bridge strikes, avoidance of unsuitable carriageways and wrong turns etc.). Calor Ireland are also entitled to free map upgrades as they become available (typically twice per year).

Calor Ireland customers will also benefit from the adoption of the new Fuelstar system. POD’s can be printed and left with customer at time of delivery (including captured signature) and can be emailed immediately after delivery is complete. Increased accuracy and compliance to delivery windows can be achieved via notification of arrival, thus better managing customer expectations. Overall improved efficiencies, accurate and timely deliveries, with potential for fewer mistakes and greater visibility will result in enhanced customer satisfaction.  

Andy McKay Transport Manager for Calor Ireland, explains some of the principle reasons behind this decision:

"We were in the market to upgrade our EPOD system and outgoing OBTC devices after an impressive 12 years in daily service. Calor required a hardware solution that was rugged, Atex-approved and capable of operating in relatively extreme environments. The TouchStar 'TS3300’ device, with accompanying Zebra printer, was selected due to the simplicity of the upgrade path and safe and seamless in-vehicle installation.

Obviously we have a long existing track record with Touchstar and were fundamentally happy with them as a trusted and reliable supplier. However, it’s critical that our core logistics systems are ‘state-of-the-art’ and can keep pace with the ever-evolving LPG marketplace and increasing customer expectations. In this respect, we were genuinely impressed with the functionality of the Android-based software and look forward to a successful implementation”.