04 March 2022

Case Study: Transformational Implementation of Fuelstar EPOD system

An interview with Gemma Hogg, General Manager at WCF Fuels North West    

“Can you please give us a little background on the history and development of the WCF organization?”  

We were originally established as an agricultural co-operative in 1911. WCF is an employee-owned business that operates in niche retail and specialist distribution through a number of autonomous businesses. Each is run independently meaning we can react to local market conditions and competitive forces.  All our businesses are connected by a common set of values and employee-owned status which delivers consistently excellent customer service through our high levels of employee engagement.

WCF North West is one of four WCF Fuel Distributors and operates across the North of England, Cumbria and the Borders, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire. From our main depot in Carnforth and other satellite depots, WCF Fuels North West operate a number of tankers that supply a range of fuels to domestic, agricultural and commercial businesses.  

“How did the relationship with Touchstar come about?”  

WCF Fuels North West have a long-standing relationship with TouchStar.  Beginning in 2015, we have collaborated to streamline operations and continuously improve our high levels of customer service. TouchStar is known for practical and effective business solutions, using mobile computing technology to eliminate paperwork and streamline the flow of information between drivers and our back-office teams. When we were confronted with various business challenges and looking for a suitable supplier they were a natural fit.

 “What was the specific nature of those business challenges?”  

As the business continued to grow and become more diversified, we were looking to introduce a technology-based solution that would replace the ever-increasing amount of paperwork. Efficient and effective operations are fundamental to delivering a first-class service, so we needed to significantly reduce or completely eradicate paperwork which was both time-consuming and prone to human error.

Any new technology introduced to our operations needed to reorganise and improve our existing processes and enable the drivers and back office to communicate more effectively.  

 “In what ways did Touchstar stand out as a suitable supplier?”  

Similar to other businesses within our industry, we were concerned about finding a technology partner who knew and understood the challenges and issues we faced, including how traditional satellite navigation systems didn’t consider larger vehicles or tankers.  As most are designed for personal ownership, an off-the-shelf solution wasn’t going to work.  However, thanks to TouchStar’s knowledge of our industry, this wasn’t an issue.

After seeing the benefits TouchStar could offer, we quickly decided to invest in this technology.  Touchstar is specifically designed for the oil distribution industry we were confident it would streamline and improve our end-to-end processes.  Our drivers, who were initially sceptical about introducing new technology, quickly adopted Touchstar and would now be lost without it.  

“Can you tell us a little more about the solution itself and the benefits it yielded?”  

To tackle the challenge of reducing paperwork and streamlining processes, TouchStar began by using their comprehensive API integration and worked with the existing CODAS back office system to integrate processes seamlessly. As a result, the trucks and back-office systems seamlessly communicate with one other, providing a greater level of automation and reducing paperwork.

Another significant benefit is the GPS technology which supports truck routing and scheduling teams, as well as receiving data directly from the devices in real-time. All of this provides a consistent and high level of customer service and reduces unnecessary mileage for our drivers.

The integration and the attachment of the signature to the invoice has proved invaluable to us. The fact that we can obtain live data directly from the devices was impressive and the range of different meter types TouchStar accommodates fully met our brief.

Since implementing the system, we have seen a number of benefits including better visibility on what, when and where fuel has been delivered. Our processes have become more efficient and automated including back-office stock reconciliation, driver paperwork and safety checks. We have been able to plan better and improve our service to the customer with a greater degree of accuracy and compliance.  

“How has the post-implementation phase gone?”  

Since the initial set-up and training, TouchStar has continued to work closely with us to provide ongoing support to both office staff and drivers. Ongoing support to this day remains exceptional, with advisors always on hand to help when we need them. In addition to the general support on offer, TouchStar has also been assisting with system installation in new vehicles and upgrading from a Windows operating system to Android. Although the transition from Windows to Android is ongoing, both sides are working towards having the system running smoothly and fully integrated very soon.  

“How would you summarise your experience with Touchstar?”  

TouchStar has been fantastic from the outset and continue to offer great support as and when we need it. The team at TouchStar really understand our industry and create solutions around the specific challenges we encounter. We have definitely made the right choice and would highly recommend them to others who are considering Touchstar as a solution.