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FUELSTREAM #83: Managing challenges on site (Part 1)

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FUELSTREAM #83: Managing challenges on site (Part 1)



In the previous edition of the FUELSTREAM Newsletter we highlighted some of the possible challenges and changes in the fuel industry. These can potentially define the “new normal” and impact how sites are run day-to-day.

Let’s look at the first 2 challenges we identified and some of the solutions and best practices including ideas and suggestions Fuel Retailers have shared with us.

  1. Fuel Retailer not on site for as many hours/days as before the pandemic and must create a solid management system from home
    • This requires frequent communication. If you’re not on site, you need to be able to speak to your managers and staff whenever needed, and they need to be able to speak to you.
      • Some sites are using Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams for daily check-ins and calls. The best practice is to have a specific check-in time every day, even if it is only for 15-20 minutes. Having a daily check-in allows your managers to raise issues and questions and allows you to provide guidance, make decisions and stay up to date with daily operations.
      • It’s recommended to use a platform that doesn’t require meeting requests or invites to every discussion or meeting.
      • We’ve been using Discord, which is a platform built for communication. It’s free and easy to use and works extremely well for video & audio calls including screen share. You may already be part of our Fuel Retailer and Manager groups, if not, send us an email and we’ll send you an invite link. On the groups we share the latest industry information, news articles, updates, fuel price information, and much much more. You can ask questions on any topic and get feedback from other Fuel Retailers in your network
    • Another best practice is to implement a standard checklist for each focus area. And then to assign a specific manager to complete the checklist and provide feedback. The checklist serves as a reminder of critical steps to complete on site, and gives you evidence of compliance/non-compliance which you can investigate.
      • Here are a few examples of checklists sites are using:
        • Daily Operations Checklist focused on daily compliance e.g. cash-up & banking, fuel recon variances, staff on duty, orders placed, stock counts, etc.
        • Daily Manager Checklist e.g. daily site walkaround, issue reporting, etc.
        • Weekly Equipment Inspection Checklists e.g. forecourt equipment inspection, fire fighting equipment inspection, spill kit inspection, etc.
      • Checklists can be completed using simple spreadsheets, Google Forms or ‘tasksafe’ which is one of our services that includes all the Health & Safety, Operations & Standards checklists you will need. Including COVID-19 and others. We’ve already loaded dozens of templates so you can simply sign up and start.
    • A third best practice we recommend is to have managers post photos of key areas during their daily site walkaround. This can include photos of the promotion ends, store room, food offer prep area, etc. This gives you an idea if an area is clean, tidy and managed well.
    • The fourth best practice we’ve seen is a daily update email. It is a combination of a checklist, daily check-in and report. It doesn’t work as well as having an open communication channel, or standard checklists, but if you’re unable to access the other options, this is your next best solution. The daily update email should have a standard format, with specific questions that must be answered each day e.g.
      • Today’s banking amount and cash-up variance amounts
      • Today’s stock variance totals
      • Any new issues to report e.g. equipment out of order, customer complaints, etc
      • Any staff not on duty
      • Orders placed / orders received
      • etc.
  2. The Site Manager is under more pressure to maintain standards and must do more with less time, capacity, budget and employees
    • In our discussions with Management Teams we’ve heard them say that they feel under more pressure for a variety of reasons.
      • This ranges from fewer staff on site, more disruptions due to COVID-19 and more pressure to recover from the pandemic as soon as possible. 
      • Some have also said that the anxiety and pressure during the lockdown has been so exhausting that they are actually less productive than before. We’ve also heard several suggestions and recommendations for handling the increased pressure.
    • The key to managing productivity is proper planning. If you’re working without a daily action plan, list of to-do’s or checklists you will struggle. Most successful managers have a notepad, diary or task board that they use as a reference on what needs to be done and by when.
      • One of the biggest risks is that important tasks are forgotten or postponed. If the Fuel Retailer instructs the manager to do something, he/she needs assurance that it will get done. And the manager needs assurance that they will remember the Fuel Retailer’s instruction.
      • Whenever you identify something that needs to be done, it should be written up on the list immediately. During a typical day you will add many items to the list to ensure you don’t forget any of them.
      • Every morning before you start, you should review the list and identify the priorities for that day. This may require you to rewrite the list or use a highlighter to highlight the critical tasks you HAVE to get done.
      • Remember that tasks may also change in priority as you complete other tasks or throughout the day as things happen. 
      • The list also becomes your report when you speak to the Fuel Retailer. If you can give up to date feedback on progress by using your list, the Fuel Retailer will see that you are a competent, disciplined manager.
    • Another best practice is to complete at least 1 daily site walkaround. When things get busy, it is very easy to spend the entire day in the office trying to get things under control. Often employees start to relax, “forget” certain rules or procedures and spend longer and longer on tea and lunch breaks.
      • A site walkaround is one of the easiest ways to manage. Take 15-20 minutes to walk the entire site from one end to the other and focus on customers and standards. Make sure employees see you during the walkaround.
      • This also includes talking to every employee you see. It can be as simple as greeting them, or issuing an instruction, or reminding them of a procedure.
      • Another tip is not to do the walkaround at the same time every day. Do not be predictable. If employees know which times you are likely to walkaround or which times you’re like to remain in the office you miss an opportunity to see what’s really happening.
      • If possible take a clipboard with paper and pen, or your notepad, with you and make notes of things that need to get done. If you have site supervisors, take them along on the walk and make them write up tasks they should manage and report back on.

Look out for the next newsletter edition where we will include more tips and suggestions.




Increase volumes & turnover with continuous inspections of health, safety, standards and operations – get ‘tasksafe’

Then contact David van Rooyen today for more information on ‘tasksafe’:



Increase volumes & turnover with frequent & ongoing training – get ‘tasklearn’

Contact Ruan Schoeman for more information on ‘tasklearn’:



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