Executive Overview

No surprises; no disappointments. That’s the motto of California-based Valley Pacific Petroleum Services (VPPS). It’s a lofty aspiration to be sure—one the wholesale petroleum marketer has worked hard to achieve for nearly seven decades.

Valley Pacific Petroleum Services

“Our goal is to epitomize great customer service,” says Rachael Vance, tax specialist and internal auditor for VPPS. “For us, that not only means friendly service, but also having the right product at the right location at the right time.”

As the largest marketer of Chevron branded petroleum products in California, VPPS houses thousands of gallons of bulk lubricant and supplies over 100 Chevron, Texaco, 76, Valero, and Spirit-branded dealers. In addition, as a member of the CFN cardlock network, VPPS operates 20 cardlock fueling sites.

Business Challenge

According to Vance, prior to becoming a PDI customer VPPS constantly struggled with a lack of access to their data, which impaired or delayed the company’s decision-making process. “Our visibility into the data was severely limited. The database for our old software would update daily, if I was lucky, so the reporting was always behind,” she says. “Also, the native reporting capabilities of our previous system were unreliable. Our margin reports were consistently wrong, which forced us to waste time manually correcting them.”

VPPS also wanted to improve its card processing and network settlement system. Vance explains. “In our old software, card processing basically took all day because it was so manual. Even after we imported the file, the process would still take hours to complete. We actually had a lady who had to manually input the bills of lading and balance them.”

The company’s network settlement process didn’t fare much better. “Three times a month, I had to flip through a blue-paged, inch-thick book with size-2 font just to try and find one total. It was excruciating,” Vance recalls.

Lastly, as an organization with a strong emphasis on excellent service, VPPS needed software that would help it maintain and strengthen its customer-centric legacy.

PDI Solution

Implementing PDI Enterprise — an enterprise-wide system specifically designed for complex petroleum marketers — ushered in much needed changes at VPPS. It’s centralized, real-time database, numerous out of the box reports, and robust ad hoc reporting via Mircrosoft SSRS were just what Vance was looking for.

“The reporting in PDI Enterprise is awesome, and it’s instrumental in everything I do. When we purchased the software, it already had hundreds of reports designed for petroleum marketers like us,” she says. “It has it all: accounting reports, sales analysis and margin reports, operational reports, and inventory management reports. But it doesn’t stop there! For reporting that is specific to our organization, I can write a SQL query to easily retrieve the information I need. Even better, it’s all available at the push of a button.”

VPPS also found the PDI Card Processing module central to improving its card processing practices. As an optional module of the PDI Wholesale Suite, it supports transactions from cardlock sites, fueling networks, and proprietary credit card systems.

“With PDI Enterprise, we’re able to easily integrate to our cardlock network provider. Then, we maximize our use of the software’s import profiles, which makes card processing and network settlement much more automated.”

Additionally, PDI Wholesale provided the tools VPPS needed to expertly manage its customer relationships. Using PDI Order Desk, the company’s employees can easily handle orders from inception to delivery to billing, ensuring customers get what they pay for when and where they expect it.

Customer Results

PDI Enterprise has increased efficiency at VPPS and made life a lot simpler for Vance and the entire accounting team. “I couldn’t live without it! The real-time database, robust reporting, and SQL are incredible. The amount of information we have at our fingertips is amazing.”

Consequently, VPPS has been able to significantly reduce its monthly close time. “We used to produce preliminary financials on the 20th of the following month and final financials on the 30th,” Vance explains. “Today, we have preliminary financials by the 3rd and we’re typically closed by the 8th.”

In addition, PDI Enterprise enabled VPPS to streamline its card processing system. “At a minimum, we’re saving six hours a day by using PDI Card Processing,” Vance says. “We can also perform network settlement very quickly because the software pretty much does everything, including balancing the taxes automatically. In fact, I even found a problem with our cardlock network provider’s taxes because PDI Enterprise had calculated correctly.”

Vance says her experience with PDI has been one of the best supplier relationships she’s had. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Aside from making great software, the support and training I receive from PDI is amazing.”

Download a PDF version of this case study: Valley Pacific Petroleum Services Case Study