Thursday, November 29, 2018

Best Practices 101

 Definition of best practice 

: a procedure that has been shown by research and experience to produce optimal results and that is established or proposed as a standard suitable for widespread adoption 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

The theory of "Best Practices" are common in most industries & professions. Over time and gained experience, methods and systems used are filtered down to identify what works best in different situations.  Makes sense, why keep trying different things to accomplish the same result?  

The use of industry best practices does not reduce the need for research & development of new ideas. It simply offers good methods to get the job done, in an efficient, safe & productive manner.  Most Standard operating Procedures (SOP) in industry are centered around the concept of "Best Practices".  

Regardless of your industry, profession or even personal interests, there are some best practices that apply to it. If you're not aware of any, think about what works best in your daily tasks. It's easy to identify a few areas that work well, and that you can pass along to others in your field. 

The result is that your own job will be easier, and more efficient if you identify what works best, and how to do it on a regular basis. Doesn't mean we stop looking for means of improvement.  Best practices give us a baseline to maintain, but doesn't limit us from improvements. Again, makes sense to keep things done properly. 

One issue I've experienced with adopting the use of best practices, is that they are sometimes developed by bureaucrats / management without solid input from the people doing the actual work. Who hasn't received work instructions from a boss who seemingly has no clue about how to actually do the job?

My first career as an airline pilot, was filled with hundreds of "Best Practices".  We had huge manuals loaded with information on aircraft operation, flight operations, emergency procedures, etc.  The airline / aviation industry is very much based around establishing and training for the use of best practices. Still, we often received bulletins from management that made no sense.  Mostly dealing with various delays, how to deal with passenger issues, etc.  A good example of leading from the top, without having a clue what really happens on the front line. 

Be careful not to push your best practices on your associates, without really knowing that they are indeed: best practices. Best practices exist to make the job more straightforward, not to add useless busywork. Make your best practices clear, able to be implemented, and actually useful. 

In the refueling realm, we know that TransFueler is a solid best practice.  I'll show you how in the next post.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Helicopter Aviation: How a TransFueler Will Save You Money

One of our largest TransFueler customer base is the helicopter industry. Particularly the "life flight", or airborne ambulance sector.  Airborne law enforcement is also a big user of TransFueler mobile refuelers. 

The three largest "life flight" type of companies all use TransFueler units to keep their helicopters ready to fly 24/7.  

Example: at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, a TransFueler 750 gallon jet refueler stands ready to refuel the helicopter around the clock.  Prior to purchasing their TransFueler, the helicopter crew needed to fly the helicopter in between emergency flights to refuel.  That practice cost the operator thousands of dollars in wasted fuel, maintenance & crew time.  

You may not realize it, but simply starting the engine or engines on any helicopter is fairly expensive. Helicopter maintenance requirements are somewhat based on engine "cycles". That means: how many times was the engine started, run, and shut down.  Plus, add in some fuel to fly to a local airport, flight crew costs, and you can see how on site refueling saves a significant amount of money, time and maintenance.

It's estimated that the TransFueler refueler in service at the Mayo Clinic "paid for itself" in less than a year by cutting these costs.

In another example, a large (actually the world's largest) medical helicopter company has several helicopters based at small airports that simply don't have 24hr fuel service. They were forced to fly to a different airport to refuel, after transporting patients. Then fly back to their home base.  Again, wasting time & money. And adding yet another cycle to the engine...

In San Diego CA, the county fire department has a fleet of TransFuelers that are used to support air operations in the regions desert & mountain areas.  

San Diego County Fire
In Maricopa County AZ, the Sheriff's Department uses their fleet of TransFuelers to support law enforcement and search & rescue operations in the vast deserts surrounding Phoenix.  

Almost all 50 states have TransFuelers in operation supporting their medical helicopters, airborne law enforcement, and a wide variety of aviation uses. 

Along the southern border, a fleet of highly specialized TransFuelers provide aerial refueling of  surveillance blimps.  And the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol keeps their aircraft & vehicles running 24/7 with TransFuelers. 


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Construction: How a TransFueler Will Save You Money.

Construction, particularly commercial, industrial & infrastructure sectors are capital intensive businesses.  

If you're involved in one of these type of companies, you're well aware of the cost of the heavy equipment, generators & vehicles required to keep your projects moving. Many of the industry's largest builders are using TransFueler mobile refuelers to keep their equipment fueled. 

Cost Factors:
  • Downtime.  When your equipment & personnel are waiting for a fuel truck to arrive, you're losing productivity. Are you able to schedule fuel truck deliveries to match when your equipment will actually need fuel? How much does every minute of non-productivity cost? 
  • Fuel truck trip charges. How much does it cost each time a fuel truck visits your job site? By storing fuel on-site, you require far fewer fuel truck deliveries.  Typically, these savings alone can pay for a single TransFueler in a matter of months. 
  • Bulk purchasing. Buying hundreds or thousands of gallons of fuel at a time can be substantially cheaper than individual fill-ups. Let us help you negotiate fuel rates with your suppliers.
  • Flexibility. Fuel your equipment 24/7.  Easily move your TransFueler around your job site for maximum efficiency. Take it to your other job sites to refuel equipment there as well.  Your TransFueler keeps your equipment, generators, light towers & vehicles working. 
The old way: high cost & inefficient:

The highly efficient TransFueler way: 


Monday, April 30, 2018

TransFueler in China

We are very pleased to announce that TransFueler has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Tallamond Inc. 

On April 26, 2018 Quality Fuel Trailer and Tank's president, Edward Dunn, and Tallamond's CEO; Winston Lee, signed a three year contract to sell TransFuelers in the People's Republic of China.  

TransFueler, by Quality Fuel Trailer and Tank, Inc., is an industry leader in mobile fuel trailers and refueling equipment.  Tallamond Inc. is a significant dealer of aerospace equipment and parts in China.  

TransFueler refueling equipment will now be sold throughout China by Tallamond's eight locations.  Tallamond's extensive network of business relationships in China will bring substantial opportunities of growth for both companies. 

Cessna China TransFueler

Off To China!

TransFueler is no stranger to China. Several TransFueler jet refuelers are already in service there.  Both Cessna Aircraft and Hiller Helicopter operate aircraft manufacturing facilities in China. Both use TransFuelers to fuel and test new aircraft before delivery. In the United States, almost all major aircraft manufacturers use TransFuelers at their production plants. 

Initially, Tallamond will focus marketing & sales efforts in the commercial and general aviation markets.  The People's Republic of China is in the beginning stages of a multi-billion general aviation expansion program. Hundreds of new airports are planned, or in construction. 

Tallamond will also be selling to the construction sector.  Fueling heavy equipment & generators is a key TransFueler market. Every airport project will need thousands of gallons of fuel for the associated construction equipment.  Rather than buying a large fuel truck, a TransFueler accomplishes the same job at a third of the cost, or less

China is a magnificent country; growing rapidly, and on the verge of massive opportunity. As a proud American company, we are very excited by this opportunity to provide the Chinese market with top quality equipment. 

We believe that the Chinese will be equally interested in procuring superb American made products.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Right Stuff.

As TransFueler mobile refueling systems become more and more popular, we're seeing more imitations pop up. 

We recently were made aware of a "competitor" in the southeast, who is trying to sell what are fundamentally; the classic "cheap imitations".   This company is advertising fuel trailers that appear on the surface, to be a less expensive alternative.  This is a good example of: "You get what you pay for..."

These cheaper refuelers are built with flimsy frames, smaller wheels & tires, and a lesser range of both standard features and options than a genuine TransFueler.  Some of their models don't even come with brakes as standard equipment, which is not only a no-brainer safety item, but also a legally required feature to transport fuel. 

This other company even equips their "aviation" models with a pump that is NOT approved for fueling aircraft, in fact; the pump manufacturer specifically states not to fuel aircraft with their pumps. It's not only the details that count, it's also the major components.  

We tend to not pay a great deal of attention to these type of competitors. They usually pop up, try to sell some refuelers, and then fade away as they discover that building a quality fuel trailer isn't done cheaply.  The vast bulk of our customers recognize the significant differences between our TransFuelers, and the other units. 

If you're interested in a refueler, and are more concerned with low price over good quality; TransFueler is probably not for you.   If you're looking for a high quality refueler,  in design, construction and longevity; TransFueler is a very solid value. 

Contact us for more information on the industry's best value in refuelers.  Our extensive list of highly satisfied customers is our best referral.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Ultimate Guide To Starting A Mobile Gas Fueling Service: Part 2

Fuel Trailer Vs; Fuel Truck

One of the most common questions we get is: "Why a TransFueler, instead of a fuel truck?"

This is a pretty easy question for us, as it addresses one of the primary reasons we sell so many mobile fuel trailers.

Fundamentally, it comes down to cost and convenience.  A dedicated fuel truck is considerably more expensive, more cumbersome to drive, and is limited to only refueling vehicles. When you choose a brand new TransFueler, you can save about $150,000 - 250,000 versus a new truck, or about $60,000-100,000 versus a used truck. And a LOT of these trucks are pretty worn out...

12 year old fuel truck we sold to a customer for $105,000

You do need a basic pickup truck, and suitable new trucks can be bought for between $24,000 and $40,000.  Good used trucks can be easily found from $10,000 and up... And, a standard pickup can be used for a variety of other uses of course, including personal transportation.

TransFueler Aviation refueler towed by a standard pickup

Another aspect, is the lower profile (literally...) of a TransFueler / pickup combo. Fuel trucks are built on heavy duty commercial chassis. Great for hauling large capacities over long distances. Not so good for servicing cars in an office building parking lot. It's all about using the right tool for the job. 

Why buy, drive & maintain a huge, heavy-duty commercial truck, when a standard size pickup & trailer will accomplish the same task? That is precisely why, so many folks are using TransFueler mobile refuelers instead. 

If you're thinking of entering this very interesting new industry, give us a call. We've got more experience with these systems than anyone.  We'll set you up with the right tool, for your situation. And if you really do want a big commercial type fuel truck, we can sell you one of those as well...

Next installment: Software & apps. How are you planning on attracting customers, setting appointments, and tracking their purchases?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Ultimate Guide To Starting A Mobile Gas Fueling Business: Part 1

We are frequently contacted by folks planning on entering the on-site car refueling business.

You may have noticed a few of these operations springing up around the country. The basic premise is to buy a truck or trailer mounted fuel tank system, and travel around the local area filling individual's gas tanks.
While a few are actually operating, far, far more underestimate the barriers to entry in this market.  You cannot simply buy a fuel tank and run around selling gas (or diesel) out of your pickup truck.  

In our years of experience building and dealing with these refueling systems, we've discovered most of the secrets needed to successfully open your own mobile gas station...

The laws & regulations pertaining to this subject are vast and complex.  They are also sometimes contradictory & subject to "interpretation" by a variety of public agencies. From fire departments, to environmental commissions, to planning, to permitting, to the local trade office.  Seems like everyone wants a say in how this arena is managed. Having been in  the refueler business for over 11 years, We're still uncovering different interpretations limiting our customers from using mobile fueling systems.

We try to keep up with the federal regulations, but can't come close to monitoring the thousands of local authorities who wish to have a say in the matter.  Clearly stated on our quotes, sales orders, etc is a strong disclaimer that the end user is responsible for compliance with the myriad of rules covering mobile fueling operations & fuel transport.

A quick & basic rundown of what is typically needed to operate as a mobile fuel seller:
  • Fuel trailer or truck. Must be DOT legal for the type of fuel transported. For diesel, a "non-code" tank if fine. For gas, either a DOT406 or a UN31 rated tank is needed. There is an exception for a very limited number of small (under 119 gallons) tanks that come with a specific DOT exemption letter for gasoline.  These tanks are what we base our TransFueler M-Series around.  You still need a haz-mat license, but you do not need a DOT406 certified tank with the M-Series.  Simple, right?
  • "Resale Meter"  In order to sell fuel, you must have a special meter to ensure you are actually dispensing the amount of fuel you are charging for. Makes sense, you don't want someone with an inaccurate meter charging you for fuel not delivered. These meters are fairly costly, and must be tested & sealed by usually a county department of weights & measures.  You'll see their "seal" stickers on your local gas pump.  They are also the folks who check the scales at the supermarket making sure your meat & produce is accurately weighed. 
  • Haz-Mat license.  Federal law requires the driver to have a valid haz-mat endorsement on their drivers license when carrying in excess of 145 gallons. This is a still fairly unknown rule, but as these systems become more popular, expect this to be more widely noticed and enforced. 
Those are the basics.  

Next time: We discuss the question of fuel truck, versus fuel trailer.