Pilot Flying J: A PDI Case Study

As the largest operator of travel centers in North America with more than 750 locations, Pilot Flying J has over 28,000 employees. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, the company has embraced digital transformation to deliver the best customer experience to more than 1.6 million guests a day.

That focus on technology modernization—along with an aggressive acquisition strategy—has driven the company’s growth. In fact, the company has doubled the size of its fuel wholesale operations in the past few years to the point where it now sells equal amounts of fuel in its retail and wholesale segments.

However, the rapid series of acquisitions has created unique challenges from an IT perspective. According to Matt Phipps, Senior Director of Application Development, “We’ve grown significantly in the past few years and we needed a technology platform that would support the scale we were experiencing in both the wholesale space and in our retail fuel products.”

To keep up with the rapid growth, the company’s IT team realized it would need to replace the legacy systems it used for back-office operations such as accounts receivables and billing. Upon the recommendation of team members who already had experience with using PDI solutions, the team decided to implement PDI Enterprise software along with PDI Hosting Services to help maximize that investment.

Phipps cites PDI’s deep expertise in both the wholesale and retail c-store markets as a key advantage. He explains, “We were looking for a robust platform that would allow us to scale and streamline communications between our systems. We also wanted a single version of the truth for our back office so we could reinvent our transaction flow from front to back.”

One primary objective was to streamline the wholesale operations onto a single platform in order to deliver a better customer experience. Phipps notes, “We’re now one of the largest wholesalers, so we’re always focused on improving our customer experience. We want to offer best-in-class timing, cash management, and billing accuracy. We had to modernize our systems to achieve that.”

PDI Solution Components

Lorre Scruggs, Product Owner, has helped lead the transition from the legacy systems and estimates that the project is approximately halfway complete. She considers the move to PDI Hosting Services as a natural evolution for the company, which has embraced a cloud-first strategy. She says, “We’re anticipating much greater agility and efficiency as we fine-tune the infrastructure.”

Offloading a large part of the management workload to PDI Hosting Services has freed up the IT team to concentrate on other strategic efforts. Consolidating its systems and offloading hosting services to PDI has also simplified troubleshooting and sped up problem resolution in terms of known responsibilities.

Scruggs highlights the established performance and disaster recovery capabilities—as well as PDI’s accountability for security and compliance—as key reasons behind the decision to outsource. She adds, “We really needed performance and scalability. Now we jointly own that with PDI, and there’s a partnership where PDI is primarily responsible to make that happen.”

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