Three Keys to Unlocking Profitability in Today’s Downstream

The ultimate goals of digital transformation are to accelerate business processes and enable faster growth. Unlocking those benefits in the downstream refined fuels industry requires three keys: frictionless transactions, actionable operational intelligence, and data mobility. Let’s look at frictionless transactions and the many benefits they provide.


Key 1: Frictionless transactions

The first key is all about making it easier to do business. The fewer hurdles you and your partners must overcome, the more transactions you can complete, which grows your business.

It’s very difficult to grow an enterprise’s overall profit by attempting to increase the pace of manual operations.

Each fuel transaction must be profitable, obviously. But the goal isn’t merely transactional profit; it’s business profit. It’s very difficult to grow an enterprise’s overall profit by attempting to increase the pace of manual operations. By some estimates, between six to eight calls and three hours of talk time are required to close a sales deal. Thus, accelerating business using manual processes would require more people to make more phone calls, which eats into profit margins.

However, by leveraging available data and technology, sales can be increased and billing cycles accelerated — without adding employee overhead costs. As a bonus, there’s a smaller chance of errors caused by manual data entry slowing things down.

Just like in physics, reducing friction enables higher speed. By eliminating friction, downstream businesses can increase the pace of transactions, getting more deals done.


Key 2: Actionable operational intelligence

The average adult can only keep three to five chunks of information in active memory at a given time.Every day, fuel sellers and buyers closely monitor prices and product movement, plus keep an eye on their own inventories — to say nothing of the overall market forces. That’s a lot of data to track. Trying to do it manually can lead to gaps as the average adult can only keep three to five chunks of information in active memory at a given time. But decisions must be made quickly; when there’s a gap, the best guess tends to be the fallback position. Sometimes, the guess is correct. But playing the odds with profit is not a good business plan.

Instead, when all that data is automatically gathered, correlated, and measured — then presented within a framework applicable to the market in question — the resulting knowledge presents leaders with clear choices, driving confident decisions.


Key 3: Data mobility

Manual data entry makes it too easy to mix up letters and numbers on allocations, BOLs, and invoices, leading to incorrect or missing data.It’s imperative to keep everyone on the same page. For refined fuels professionals, this means making critical business documents available to all customers and partners when needed, and ensuring any updates or changes to those documents are seamlessly synchronized so all stakeholders are working with the same information.

The downstream oil and gas market is complex, with multiple data sets merging to play a significant role in how business gets done.

Data mobility also strengthens customer relationships. When it’s easier to view and share data, partners can work more closely, building stronger relationships. According to HubSpot, 93% of customers will make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent service.


Combining the keys

Frictionless transactions + actionable operational intelligence = reduced risk
Because fractions of pennies per gallon make the difference, instant access to both solid operational intelligence and the digital marketplace means there’s no knowledge gap in executing transaction orders.

Data mobility + frictionless transactions = increased organizational efficiency
For example, by leveraging secure data sharing and seamless digital transactions, buyers and sellers can deliver data and invoices instantly, reducing the wait times that result from manual notifications, lifting, BOL processing, and billing.

Actionable operational intelligence + data mobility = improved agility
Agility is key due to the speed of the downstream market. Having faster access to the right data — and making it instantly available to the right people, in the right place, and at the right time enables faster responses. But that’s not all; it also means leaders can make decisions with complete confidence, knowing they have the absolute best data informing them.

The result = more profit
To grow and maintain a leadership position in the downstream oil and gas market, companies need partners who are leaders in their own right. Ones that can help deliver frictionless transactions, data mobility, and actionable operational intelligence, enabling an enterprise to increase profitability.

Through increased transaction efficiency, faster access to timelier data, and more confident decision-making, organizations can differentiate themselves as industry leaders.

Looking to drive your profits with the three keys? Learn more today.