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UK’s BIGGEST FORECOURT SOLUTIONS PROVIDER CHOOSES FAST LEAN SMART FOR AUTOMATED SCHEDULING OF ENGINEERS


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G ilbarco Veeder-Root — the leading petrol forecourt equipment and services provider in the UK — has learned that route planning software really can work. Enter FAST LEAN SMART (FLS) and its particular brand of automation.

Major petrol station brands, supermarket chains and independent dealers up and down the country rely on Gilbarco. By extension, so do millions of motorists. Gilbarco Veeder Root is charged with maintaining the equipment it provides by way of an extensive national network of field engineers. With so many forecourts to look after, Gilbarco Veeder Root’s operation has to be efficient and smart.

Until now, the smartest way of doing things has been manual. Gilbarco Veeder Root had tried automation years ago. It implemented a scheduling program that didn’t prove intelligent enough to plan routes that reflected the real-life business environment. Nor was it flexible enough to react to changes in that environment which include 2 hour responses.

It’s understandable, then, that when FLS approached Gilbarco with promises of radically improved scheduling efficiency through automation, David Cope — UK Operations Director for Gilbarco Veeder Root — was sceptical.

The main reason Gilbarco Veeder Root was willing to consider a change was because FLS lets prospective customers trial its software first. “We’d tried scheduling software before and it didn’t work, so I wasn’t sure how VISITOUR was going to benefit us,” says David. “However, FLS were keen for us to see that it worked in practice and come to our own conclusions before committing to a sale. We didn’t have that choice with the old system.” David continues, “As a first step they offered to run a test using data from planned maintenance and customer callouts we had scheduled manually. We were expecting them to say that their software could schedule our callouts maybe 5-10% more efficiently. When they brought back a figure of 30-40%, it really was too compelling to ignore and we therefore agreed proceed with a trial.”

Gilbarco Veeder Root trialled FLS VISITOUR and FLS MOBILE in live use for a chosen geographic area. FLS VISITOUR schedules callouts and plans optimised appointments and routes in real time, taking into account traffic-based driving times and the changing priorities of the business. FLS MOBILE provides comprehensive on-the-road support for field engineers and streamlines communication between them, the office and the customer.

David explains, “We were impressed with the results. FLS VISITOUR makes intelligent decisions based on what’s important to our business, and can adapt quickly to changing circumstances in a way the old system couldn’t. FLS MOBILE is going to improve the service we provide, particularly to our independent dealers, who we’ve had trouble keeping in touch with because of the complexity involved. FLS MOBILE will keep them up to date by sending automated messages with our arrival times.”

Following the successful trial, an interface was required between FLS and Gilbarco Veeder Root’s service management system to prepare for rollout. Their system has limited integration support and FLS worked with the supplier’s developers to create an innovative solution. David adds, “We were determined to solve the interface because we knew the size of the prize. The one thing that stood out through the transition was that FLS were always on hand to assist us, FLS could stand for Fast Lean Smart or Friends Lending Support — both fit well for me.

We are delighted with our choice of FLS and to have enabled the benefits of VISITOUR to be realised nationally.”