Executive Overview

Ohio-based Gilligan Oil Company has been in business since 1993. “We started with retail sites and QSRs, and later we moved into the fuel wholesale business,” says Greg Ellison, IT manager for Gilligan Oil. Headquartered in Cincinnati, today the rapidly expanding company boasts 25 “GoCo” locations complete with vast item selections, spotless restrooms, and a unique fusion of Dunkin Donuts and Subway QSRs uniquely its own. The retailer, which describes its business strategy as “nimble,” says its advantage is the ability to adapt to change quickly.

Business Challenge

As the company’s plans for growth became a reality, the need for a software system that could accommodate the expanding operation became apparent. “Our previous software worked well for a long time, but the more we grew, the greater our need became for a system capable of scaling at the rate we required while providing timely and accurate data,” says Ellison.

The company also found its “nimble” business strategy increasingly impeded by two major challenges: the need for timely, customizable reporting for actionable decisionmaking and the lack of a fully consolidated accounting system. “Previously, we had to collect financials site by site, and that just wasn’t a sustainable situation,” Ellison says. “As it pertained to reporting, our software was severely lacking in the area of actionable business intelligence. It just couldn’t be achieved without hours of work. We also wanted the ability to import several types of data files, and we needed to do all of this without hiring a large IT and accounting staff.”

Lastly, Gilligan Oil was struggling to adequately maintain separate software solutions for its retail and wholesale operations. “There were times when district managers would be looking at one set of numbers, and the home office would have completely different data,” says Ellison.

PDI Solution

After conducting an exhaustive search, Gilligan Oil made the decision to implement PDI Enterprise – the industry’s most widely-used enterprise management software solution.

Centralized Database

One of the immediate benefits Ellison noticed was the consistency in data across the operation. “Having a central database, along with the ability to limit what a manager can edit, has greatly improved internal controls and decreased losses,” claims Ellison.

PDI’s single software solution also allowed Gilligan Oil to effectively manage its retail and wholesale businesses instead of continuing the error-prone practice of dual system maintenance. “Moving to PDI Enterprise allowed us to integrate with the retail sites with our wholesale operation. Previously, we treated our retail sites as customers of the wholesale company and had to invoice, transfer funds, enter pricing, BOLs, and credit cards manually.”

Business Intelligence

To address its business intelligence challenges, Gilligan Oil began using PDI FocalPoint—a web-based application that covers a range of reporting needs, from out-the-box templates to customizable reports. “Just using the stock reports in FocalPoint has been a big success. Weekly sales reports used to take eight hours to complete, and the data extraction alone took two hours. Now, that part only takes five seconds,” claims Ellison. “Additionally, marketing can now do their own reporting without ‘ordering’ a sales report. They can now analyze their promotions any time they want to, and slice that data in a multitude of ways.”

The ability to proactively deal with issues on a daily basis was crucial to Gilligan Oil as well. “We are able to set up alerts that inform district managers of problems that need attention on that day. These controls alone have decreased shrink in our stores,” says Ellison.

PDI Retail

Reducing the time managers spent manually entering paperwork was of primary importance to Gilligan Oil, and PDI Retail’s data-importing capabilities provided the perfect solution. “At the c-store level, the manager’s time on paperwork tasks has decreased significantly due to the automation we’ve put in place. For our QSRs, we are actually removing or have already removed manual entry from the daily process by importing the data directly into the system,” Ellison confirms.

Customer Results

With the drastic change in processes at the store level, Gilligan Oil has been able to achieve a tangible return on investment. “We have eliminated 30-40 hours per week of clerical time on billing and reconciling invoices and fuel inventory,” says Ellison.

The company was also able to increase their business footprint by more than 58 percent. “We have razed and rebuilt 5 c-stores and have constructed 20 QSRs since implementing PDI Enterprise in 2012. This growth should’ve taxed our accounting and IT staff significantly, but we were able to support that growth and decrease the end-of-month close time with fewer staff than we had before.”

Since moving to PDI Enterprise, Gilligan Oil has added its name to the list of satisfied customers whose businesses PDI has helped grow and thrive. “PDI has been a solid accounting, business intelligence, and inventory management platform for Gilligan Oil, and I feel it is one of the reasons we have experienced such a fantastic amount
of growth over the past few years. I would definitely recommend PDI as a solution for someone in the industry,” says Ellison.

Download a PDF version of this case study: Gilligan Oil Company