Blog January 23, 2013

How to improve the performance of your tank fleet with Business Discovery Software

By Nicola Byers

Tank companies derive system information by producing reports from the masses of data they handle.  This is to identify both areas that are failing and those that have the potential for profit improvement. Reports will either be designed and created by the user or, more likely, by a specialist IT consultant. This process often involves exporting information across to applications such as MS Excel™ so that it can be manipulated first. Unfortunately, most reports present a static view of the data and ask predefined or “old” questions – ‘What’ and not ‘Why?’

Business Discovery takes data analysis one step further. Business Discovery is user driven Business Intelligence (BI) that allows data to be explored, rather than simply reported on. A major feature is that data is visualised using graphs, charts and tables to show current corporate statistics against any number of Key Performance Indicators. Business Discovery can make searches across information from multiple systems and databases, empowering people to ask and answer their own questions.

What happens when you see these visualisations? They stimulate questions about the business that haven’t previously been considered, allowing you to make creative and profitable changes that you might never have thought of had you not asked those questions.

Intermodal Eye lists some of the BI reports that may be useful to tank operators and lessors and explains how the continual click-through process can prompt employees to ask more and more new questions that can drive better business performance. This will result in more actions being taken to improve sales, reduce costs and increase profitability.

Reports for Tank Operating

1. Quoted/Actual Costs
Jobs that incurred higher costs than the quote can be quickly identified and investigated to identify the possible cause. Information about what products were carried, which regions were involved, journey time comparisons, vendors and sales people can be presented, helping with early procedural changes to prevent re-occurrence.

2. Deals Won/Lost
Revenues can be boosted by improving the conversion rate of quotations to sales – achieved by clicking through to show regions where take up has been low. You could then ask which countries, sales offices, products and currencies were involved, spotting trends and taking action to reverse them.

Reports for Tank Leasing

1. Sales By Region
Optimising tank on-hire time will maximize profitability. Business Discovery enables multiple analyses of demand for each tank type by region, depot and time of year, facilitating planning decisions concerning tank purchase and depot recruitment.

2. Lease Rates Performance
A Key Performance Indicator may be the daily lease rate per tank type that is needed to hit profit targets. Drilling down through a visual report that identifies contracts below the KPI will highlight possible common factors such as regions, customers and contract managers, enabling fast action to be taken and profits enhanced.


BI tools enable managers to continually click through from report to report, asking question after question and building up the knowledge needed to make business changing decisions. In addition, many of these tools now can be loaded onto remote devices such as iPads, iPhones and via internet connections, providing anytime, anywhere access. Managers have access to information that will give them that all important business advantage.