The Challenge: A Legacy System That Limited Growth
Article written by Cargas Energy Cargas Energy Blog
According to Nicole Sullivan, who serves as Vice President of Administration and Projects for both Anderson Oil and Anderson Propane, the legacy oil and gasoline software the companies used did not function well to accommodate the propane business.
“We basically had shoehorned propane into it, and it had limited capabilities,” explained Sullivan. “The legacy software included everything—but didn’t do anything particularly well. Also, the platform wasn’t designed to interface with any outside systems.”
According to Sullivan, the companies were constantly in a reactive state rather than focused on learning and growth. Without the ability to view metrics and track effectiveness, they didn’t have a firm grasp on critical information, such as easily accessing fuel margins.
The companies wanted to find software that offered the data insights, flexibility, and versatility they needed to grow the propane business as well as the oil and gas business.
A Solution With Limitless Potential
After researching several software options, Anderson Oil and Anderson Propane decided on the Cargas Energy solution.
“We really weren’t aware of some of the issues we had until what we saw was possible with the Cargas Energy solution,” shared Sullivan. “Although we weren’t necessarily looking to do a full-blown software conversion, we discovered that doing so would give us efficiency gains we hadn’t thought of previously.”
With Anderson Oil using the Cargas Energy delivery and back office modules and Anderson Propane using the delivery, back office, and service modules, the companies have been able to improve their efficiency both administratively and operationally.
“We were previously confined by our legacy system and its limitations. Now we have a solution that’s providing nearly limitless potential,”– Nicole Sullivan, VP of Administration
Results That Have Boosted The Bottom Line
According to Sullivan, multiple departments—Service, Customer Service, Accounts Receivable, and Delivery—have benefitted from implementation of the Cargas Energy solution.
“I would say the biggest success has been with Anderson Oil,” shared Sullivan. “The Cargas Energy’s software integrates with our fuel management and logistics solution. By eliminating four hours of work per day for one of our employees, we’ve been able to put that employee’s skills and time to more valuable, productive use in a new position.”
On the propane side of the business, the Cargas Energy solution has integrated with the company’s tank monitors. According to Sullivan, that has made it easier to predict usage because the company has the capability to see tank monitor data for all accounts in one central system via the software.
By using the mobile route building feature that’s part of the Cargas Energy delivery module, Anderson Propane has also been able to increase delivery efficiency by 8%, thus increasing delivery revenue.
From an accounting management perspective, the companies have reaped rewards, as well.
“Cargas Energy’s software has integrated with our ARM (accounts receivable management) solution, saving our collections manager valuable time each day,” explained Sullivan. “It also allows us to generate statements bi-monthly, keep better tabs on past-due accounts, and to apply late charges in a more timely manner—all of which have boosted cash flow.”
In combination with Intacct® accounting software (also implemented by Cargas), the Cargas Energy solution has also given the companies increased financial reporting capabilities.
The Cargas Energy software has also streamlined work processes for the customer service team at Anderson Oil and Anderson Propane.
“Customers now have online access to their accounts and our team can email statements to customers. That has cut down on the amount of phone calls coming into our call center.”
Sullivan shared that perhaps the most exciting change of all has been the shift in the culture and perspective at the companies. Employees are excited about their jobs and open to exploring new ways of doing things rather than feeling confined by old processes.
“We now have an opportunity to evolve, and we’ve seen employees really step up. Armed with our new capabilities, they’re engaged in helping to create the roadmap of where we want our companies to go.”
She believes that’s why Cargas has been so successful with businesses like theirs.
“As an employee-owned company, everyone we’ve worked with there is vested in their business just as we are in ours,” said Sullivan. “I’m impressed by the culture of Cargas and how they take ownership of issues and are fast to respond with answers and resolutions.”
Anderson Oil and Anderson Propane have recommended the Cargas Energy solution to numerous other energy companies, even hosting their competitors on-site and demonstrating the software’s capabilities for them.
“We’ve hosted a lot of companies here to show them the system. We have confidence in the product and the people behind it,” Sullivan shared. “We believe that sharing the benefits of a solution like this opens the door to more communication within our industry and builds a sense of community that helps all of us become more successful.”