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Case Study

JP Energy Partners

Rapidly growing propane distributer adopts electronic ticketing automation

JP Energy, an Irving, TX based Master Limited Partnership formed in 2010, specifically focuses on the movement of crude oil, refined products, and LP gas in key producing basins and transportation gateways. Its diversified portfolio of assets and services enables JP Energy and its subsidiaries to service their customers throughout the US, providing clients a definite competitive advantage and a “best-in-class” customer service experience.

Over the past two years, Pinnacle Propane, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of JP Energy Partners LP, has been actively acquiring a number of established regional propane and oil companies; adding significant distribution of LP gas and related fuels to thousands of commercial and residential customers across Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

Challenge

“JP Energy Partners LP virtually does it all, when it comes to supporting the energy supply chain,” says Christina Hargrove, IT Director for the company. “We bring years of collective experience working within the energy industry and have created a portfolio of diversified midstream services that successfully support an integrated refinery services solution. We own and operate assets that play an integral role in providing midstream services throughout the Southwest and Midcontinent US, including supply and logistics, terminal, and storage services, and wholesale and retail marketing.” For Pinnacle, rapid growth in the propane and oil distribution divisions has created the need for them to move to a fully automated propane delivery management and fuel distribution software solution that allows for scalability as they continue to grow.

Goals

  • Improve driver efficiency by providing an interface to electronic registers and eliminating the time in dealing with paperwork (pre-trip vehicle inspections, out-of-gas testing, tank inspections, etc.)
  • Gain ability to manage and provide electronic copies of propane tickets, easily accessible by customers through a convenient web portal or via email
  • Provide a seamless interface of data exchange between the back-office and the in-truck portable computers, as drivers complete their deliveries throughout the day
  • Capability to grow with a system that provides continual benefits as users become more experienced with admin automation, to include dynamic dispatch and fleet monitoring

Solution Implemented

“We looked at a number of fleet automation software systems before selecting TouchStar as our business partner. They had more experience as a solutions provider for propane and fuel distributors, along with a stronger suite of Mobility software products. They had the technical expertise we were looking for, plus they offered a much broader selection of compatible hardware platforms to match our operational and budget needs,”
explained Hargrove.

Pinnacle chose the 7” ruggedized touch-screen tablet, the FLEX, for driver employment of its two Mobility Software programs; TransPac LPG for propane deliveries, and TransPac Fuel for fuel distribution. This Mobile Data Terminal is available in both fixed-mount and portable versions. It offers integrated GPS, cellular, and Wi-Fi capabilities that are essential for fleet management, dispatching, messaging, reporting, mapping, and navigation. The FLEX is also one of the most durable and rugged portable terminals in the field.

“Equally important,” Hargrove concluded, “TouchStar had the confidence to take on our project under a very tight production schedule.”

Results

The newly installed TransPac LPG propane delivery management software and automated electronic ticketing system has been fully implemented within the propane distribution division with excellent results to date. The team has experienced a substantial increase in productivity and accuracy while drastically reducing their paper usage by eliminating the paper-based administrative processes.

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