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The fuel industry is anything but predictable. Yes, it’s often complex and volatile, but you can’t say it’s ever boring. One reason it’s so unpredictable and complicated is the large number of interwoven parts of the fuel supply chain—from refiners to retailers. Part of that complexity stems from a lack of integrated platforms as well as companies that are on vastly different stages in their digital transformation. For instance, the COVID pandemic quickly revealed the fragility of these supply chain connections and dependencies. In spring 2020, gasoline demand was down nearly 50% compared to the previous year—the lowest consumption in decades. Meanwhile, convenience retailers were enjoying record-high fuel margins. In the first quarter of 2020, margins averaged 10 cents per gallon higher than the full year of 2019. Unfortunately, petroleum wholesalers weren’t as fortunate as people stayed home and demand quickly plummeted. At that point fuel prices got simultaneously hit by both the lingering impacts of the pandemic and an oil price war. When you can’t easily predict what’s coming next in a fluctuating market, the best strategy is to make your business as adaptable as possible. Here are three good ways to control what you can in terms of optimizing your fuel supply operations: Control your inventory Streamline your bill-of-lading (BOL) process Automate credit management Control Your Inventory Maintaining inventory is probably one of the most significant contributors to daily operating expenses for petroleum marketers. So, try to control your inventory to avoid costly retains and runouts. A sophisticated inventory management solution can deliver accurate insight into your inventory levels, down to the smallest detail—whether you’re managing a bulk plant or operating a warehouse with lubricants and other petroleum-based packaged goods. Either way, it’s smart to refine your process of balancing between over- and under-stocking, especially during periods of fluctuating demand. And while predicting demand isn’t an exact science, basing your inventory decisions on historical data or unique factors in your area can help produce accurate forecasts to prevent inventory excesses or shortages. Streamline Your BOL Process Many businesses discover that automating the fuel supply chain tends to be a complex undertaking. In fact, the process of providing an accurate BOL and invoice used to take days or weeks, especially for fuel suppliers that relied on paper-based mail delivery. Even in the age of automation, some suppliers are still delivering bills of lading and processing invoices. And that’s where the complexity and…

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