Technological innovation on the Marketing side of the petroleum industry is finally coming along. Still, the prevailing business models cause a lot of inefficiency. Also, it's been a slow transition to more modern devices and tools. Big and small companies are spending technology dollars on being more efficient internally, but there is much more room for innovation in using technology for customers.
One company that is a clear leader in innovation is Desert Fuels, based in Albuqurque, NM. They are led by J.J. Mancini - a guy that thrives on solving problems for his customers, not just creating technology for the sake of technology. He also isn't constrained or biased by having grown up in the petroleum industry his whole career.
The other great thing about J.J.'s approach is that it isnt just slapping technology on a bad process. He changes the underlying processes of his business models with technology as an enabler.
As an example, Desert Fuels has an awesome mobile APP they call PowerFuel, that is available for download. Being an APP, it is easy to use and fits the smartphone screens without having to worry about resolution like a straight mobile web browser.
So what does this APP do? Some cool stuff, including:
advises customers of the current spot market trends, and if they should either buy now, or delay their purchase.
allows customers to order fuel from their phone directly and immediately.
allows customers to see the status of their orders - just like UPS tracking - to see confirmation the order was received, when the carrier received the order, when it was delivered, and finally, when the invoice was generated.
All of these features makes it much easier to do business for customers, especially those that can't be tied down to a desk with a traditional desktop computer. Pretty compelling reason to become a customer!
Desert Fuels keeps innovating. An exciting new business model - real time pricing - is in the works and expected soon. I'll plan to blog on real time pricing models in the near future and include an update on Desert Fuels as well.