• Mary G. Stokes

Why Millions of Fuel Stations Wait for Full-Fledged Digital Twins

Updated: Dec 30, 2021


Have you got the feeling that your fuel retail business needs a sort of hidden draft for quality services creation? Perhaps you were tormented by an irresistible desire to be in several places simultaneously for gas stations' efficient control?


Good news: it's doable due to popular virtual twin technology. Today, we intend to tell you a curious story on how you already apply digital twins without even knowing it. In a few minutes, you can consider your POS software as a dynamic clone of an entire fuel station and will be able to get the most of it.


What Digital Twin Model Means For Petrol Retail


In general, a digital twin (DT) is an exact virtual copy of any object, process, or phenomenon. Unlike conventional simulation, the DT model can reproduce the original's behavior in real-time and provide a large amount of accurate data concerning its operation.


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The situation in the fuel retail segment is more than curious. The industry is just beginning its journey of mastering digital twins. Meanwhile, it has been already applying them using POS software for gas stations. We will explain how this is possible later. But for starters, let’s dig deeper into how DT can upgrade petrol retailers’ processes.


5 Undeniable Reasons Digital Twin Technology Is Worth Fuel Retailers Attention


Reason 1. Room for efficient control


Are you sure that your company manages to track everything that happens at every fuel station of the chain? If so - good job! You’ve already worked hard on your business processes. Meanwhile, frequently gas retailers find it arduous to keep an eye on various systems' operations.


Digital Twin: Simplified Fuel Filling Process

A digital twin solution is a dynamic copy of a system or process. Everything that happens to the original is displayed on your screen. If you use this tool on a large scale, you can manage the operation of an entire network of retail gas stations online. This approach allows for a quick response to any deviations, effortless identification of bottlenecks, and easy choice of an appropriate way to eliminate them.


Reason 2. Cutting operational costs


Let's see what takes the lion's share of your operational costs (OC). Taxes, fuel transportation, energy consumption, unforeseen accidents, etc. The higher the OC, the less the company earns and the more the end consumer pays. Not all vehicle owners like it.


By using the digital twin of a retail gas station, a company can:

  1. Optimize the supply chain. The technology allows tracking the actual gas delivery processes and suggests possible scenarios for its improvement. Here it’s enough to choose the most suitable one to reduce expenses.

  2. Reduce energy consumption. By controlling the operation of facilities with digital twins, an enterprise can prevent extra energy consumption: adjust room lighting, equipment operation mode depending on the time of day, and so on.

  3. Prevent downtime. One of the crucial virtual twin advantages is transferring real-time data on systems' work conditions. By analyzing the collected information, a business can make predictions concerning its further operations. It means fuel retailers can fix any issue before it arises. Consequently, the operating costs of equipment repairs or lost profits are no longer problems.

It is a win-win. On the one hand, by correctly saving on operating costs, your company can save more profit. Meanwhile, there will be no need to increase the cost of fuel. Stable pricing will attract more customers.


Reason 3. The engine of a digital transformation


According to Petrol Plaza, there are over 350 gas retailers in the world. The largest company in this segment is 7Eleven, which has opened about 60,000 stations in 23 countries. As seen, competition is extremely high here, as each company tries to offer the client something unique. But how to make sure that an initiative will pay off and buyers will not leave your company to look for better deals?


In this case, the digital twin of the gas station will allow you to test any ideas online at the stage of their discussion. It's a sort of advanced simulation where you can track all the consequences of new software or services implementation.


Reason 4. Acceleration of service provision


Efficient gas station management with a digital twin has one more bonus - high service speed. This approach makes it possible to track the work of staff to optimize it. The business began to use a human digital twin for this purpose in manufacturing and retail. Anyway, for fuel stations, it's still new. Meanwhile, following the trend will increase the level of employee engagement and will allow serving customers faster.


Digital Twin: Cross-/up-sale Process Optimization Sample

Reason 5. Alternative source of income


A digital twin is a versatile software product. Sure, companies create it to satisfy their business needs first. However, it does not prevent them from helping their competitors by selling the solution as a service. What are the benefits? By expanding the range of services, enterprises transform their business models. It leads to converting competitors into customers, expanding target audience, and most importantly, opening new revenue streams.


How Digital Twins Can Upgrade Gas Retailer’s Processes: Parsing an Example


Typically, companies use this technology to recreate one process or system that is critical to a business. Let's say grocery retail most often uses digital twins for supply chain tracking or goods turnover control.


Fuel retail has slightly different specifics. Here they use Point of Sale software that can control an entire gas station operation, including deliveries, assortment management, reporting, etc. Here, a reliable POS business kills two birds with one stone. An enterprise receives a robust management solution and a petrol retail facility digital twin in one package.


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Why not? Point of Sale is the central system responsible for the entire station operation. It's integrated with all equipment and a back-office software package. Just imagine what opportunities it opens for the gas retail business! Due to fuel stations Point of Sale AKA its digital twin, an enterprise can:

  • save on the extra creation of a versatile digital twin

  • manage all the processes instead of controlling one of them

  • apply an integrated approach to identifying operational mistakes and their fixing

  • get unlimited access to data on gas station work and use it to boost productivity, transform traditional approaches, etc.

  • achieve КРІs from sales through the right of setting tasks for staff

Agree it looks tempting. However, no avail to think that each fuel station POS is a full-fledged digital twin. This concept is difficult to try on legacy software that does not cover all gas station systems and has issues with integrations. So, just a modern custom solution can boast of such a two-faced feature.


Do you want to take advantage of the digital twins through custom-designed Point of Sale software? Contact our specialists to receive advice on the appropriate focus of product development.


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