The Benefits of Digitizing Clerical Work for Propane Companies

As printed in the BPN Magazine


Most of us in the propane industry hate paperwork. Ask any service technician, delivery driver, safety representative, sales representative, manager or office staff if their fondest dream is to have a stack of paperwork waiting for them in the office, and more than 75% will say a resounding no! And you really can’t blame them, as most of the amazing people in the propane industry would much rather be doing productive activities that truly serve the customers and industry we hold dear.

The old saying “The job’s not done until the paperwork is completed” — though completely true — is not the most motivating thing to remember when attempting to complete a difficult task. Imagine hearing an employee say, “This job is a really tough one, but at least I can look forward to the paperwork at the end of it.” Those words have probably never been uttered.

On top of that, we all know that customers do not pay us for the documentation and clerical work we do like filing and managing records. Clerical work, paperwork, etc., is not a money generating activity, but rather a cost overhanging our industry. These days with the cost of tanks, gas, trucks, payroll and insurance rising, we simply do not have the bandwidth to endure unnecessary business costs and desperately need to eliminate them as quickly as possible to prepare for the rising inflation.

So, if paperwork and clerical work is oppressive, time-wasting, energy-sucking and an unnecessary expense, then what can we do about it? This is where a comprehensive technology solution for managing a propane business should swoop down (in tights with a cape, preferably) to help free us from the shackles of old-world drudgery. What does that solution look like and how do you find it?

First, as a base layer, it’s necessary to have a forecasting, routing, ticket printing and billing system in place. Yes, the old-world software solutions that have been around forever (often called the “back-office software” or “ERP”) are necessary, and there are dozens to choose from. Regardless, pick one and get on with it.

They have all been around for at least 20 years and have matured to a point that they all have great functionality. Choosing based on ease of use and pricing will save you many headaches and save your wallet as well. In my studies, more than 95% of the propane companies in North America are already using one, so most likely you already have this; if you don’t, then get it.

Picture Next on the list is choosing a tank monitoring company for the 5% to 10% of your customers who have sporadic fuel usage. There are more than 20 tank monitoring companies, and because this is a newer technology, it may take more homework. Some friends and people in your network may have chosen based on a sales pitch or made their decision years ago, and because the technology is changing frequently, you may need to do some homework on this. But here are a couple quick tips:

  • Make sure the technology interfaces with your enterprise resource planning back-office software and that it works in your geographics. Some tech works better depending on geographic topology and some only work on certain networks that may or may not be in your area, so test them before you buy them.
  • Try to purchase from one vendor so you don’t have multiple different monitors with multiple software solutions. Remember, complexity is your enemy.

Next, think outside the box and benchmark against the most successful delivery companies. Amazon (2 million deliveries per day) and Uber (17+ million deliveries per day) both do it without offices of customer service representatives and no phone calls. They have an app for customers to use for orders and an app for their employees to do all their work.

The businesses are run on smartphones and apps. The future of propane delivery is an app-based world, where your customers are able to order a delivery, see past orders, order service, chat with someone in the back office and receive coupons and messages from you. If you don’t have it yet, you need it, so get an app for your company.

Because this is customer-facing, you need an app that has your name and branding on it in the app store. Some people call this type of app the “poor man’s tank monitor” because it allows you to get tank readings from all your customers without needing to purchase a tank monitor, as the consumer can enter their reading into the app when they go to order.

These are the tools that will help you get more sales per customer and help you grow a fantastic lead list as non-customers download your app to take advantage of your coupons. If it helped Uber go from zero customers to 17 million rides per day in 13 years, that speaks volumes. You should make it easier for propane users to order from you than it is to order from your competitors.

The second half of the equation is to have an “everything” app for your employees. Yes, that is what Amazon, Uber, Tesla and most companies are doing. It eliminates tons of headaches like paperwork, forms, documents, filing and over one hour of wasted time a day per employee. I recently spoke with an industrious propane company that had created some fillable PDFs that the team used as forms for the business. It allowed the team to eliminate paperwork and once saved could be sent to the office as a completed PDF document with signatures, too.

It could also be filed more quickly, as it was digitally clicked and dragged into the appropriate customer file on an iCloud account. To the business owner’s delight, he could finally read everything “written” in each document for a change, too!

Another propane company had purchased three to four programs, each designed to do different portions of the field employee work. One was great for sales estimates and invoices, another was fantastic for service work orders, another was programmed to do their gas checks and another helped them document and manage their tanks.

All programs were app-based, so they could download those apps onto each field employee’s smartphone or tablet and off they went — paperless warriors. All work was done faster, clearer and easier than before. The employees were happy, as their paperwork chore was now much easier, and the company was happy as they were saving money and better handling the business with now legible inspections and work orders.

In speaking with propane attorneys, propane safety consultants and propane insurance companies, they are all singing a similar tune. They see many legal cases where if the propane company had used a digital solution to document the gas check, service work order, installation, liability releases, etc., they would have won their cases. But because they used paper — which is easy to lose, hard to read and easy to defeat in a court room — they lost. The safety experts recommend digital documentation in the field.

If you have not digitized your safety, service tech, sales, training, inspections, and all the work your field personnel do onto a digital tool, there is great news! You now have more options that cost considerably less and do much more than the old technology our industry has used over the last 10 years.

The best technology should be available on an app that can be downloaded right onto the smartphones you already have, so there is no longer any need to purchase tablets or any other old school devices. No need to pay for another cellular line for each tablet; the cellular line you already pay for in the smartphones your team uses can serve as the digital record keeping associated with the paper that is no longer necessary to your outside employee field personnel.

It took spending millions of dollars for trillion-dollar companies to realize that doing everything on a smartphone saves time and capital expenses. Follow the leaders and don’t reinvent the wheel. It is finally time to free up your team from paperwork, clerical work and filing, as well as hand-entering the information your field personnel gather on clipboards and paper. You can be freed from hours of unprofitable payroll and expensive gadgets. Welcome to the age of propane apps on smartphones that make your entire team’s lives easier and more enjoyable.

Check out the options and try out some of the propane apps designed specifically for your technicians, drivers, sales representatives and managers to see how easy it is to save time, aggravation and money. Go to the Apple and Android app stores and do a search for propane apps, try them out, get yourself a couple demos or go to their websites and watch the videos. Take off the chains of outdated paper shuffling and get with the times!

The Propane Education & Research Council, in cooperation with the World Liquified Petroleum Gas Association, held a global technology competition just before the pandemic. Check out the results of that competition for several apps that can help you move toward a faster, more efficient, lower labor and lower operating cost solution.

Enjoy the freedom of having a comprehensive solution for your company so you can have all the forms, documents, inspections, work orders, tank readings and critical company metrics at your fingertips on your smartphone. Start saving time and money while improving every critical company metric. Here’s to a better and brighter future!

New Mobile App Reduces Safety Risks for Propane Dispenser Operations

New Mobile App Reduces Safety Risks for Propane Dispenser Operations

Empowering Operators and Elevating Safety and Compliance
Tank Spotter, a trailblazer in propane industry technology, has introduced a groundbreaking Propane Dispenser Training and Management app that promises to transform the industry. Renowned for its real-time connectivity and efficiency-enhancing solutions, Tank Spotter’s latest offering aims to reduce liabilities, streamline safety protocols, and elevate overall service quality.

Enhancing Field Service Operations in the Propane Industry
Tank Spotter has earned accolades for pioneering technology-driven solutions that optimize safety, service tech and sales work, dispatching, scheduling, and operations efficiency. With a track record of innovation, the company continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the propane industry.

Unlocking the Benefits of Propane Dispensing Training
Propane dispensing demands a profound grasp of safety protocols, equipment operation, and regulatory compliance. With this training feature, all this critical knowledge is now available at your operators’ fingertips.

  1. Flexible Learning:  The high turnover among Dispenser Operators poses a liability to the propane industry and Tank Spotter addresses this issue by offering on-demand training modules accessible through a mobile app. This flexibility allows dispenser operators to seamlessly integrate learning into their busy schedules, ensuring a well-trained workforce.
  2. Streamlined Remote Management: Dispenser managers and propane companies can now remotely track and manage training, ensuring 100% compliance, even with new hires in this dynamic industry. This feature simplifies the process of monitoring and ensures that safety protocols and industry standards are consistently upheld.
  3. Elevated Safety Measures:  Safety remains the cornerstone of the propane industry. Tank Spotter’s training equips propane dispenser managers and operators with comprehensive knowledge to handle propane safely. This not only ensures compliance with regulations but also mitigates risks, creating a safer working environment for all.
  4. Precision and Efficiency: Well-trained operators exhibit higher levels of precision and efficiency in their work. This translates to exceptional service quality and, in turn, elevated customer satisfaction. Propane companies can expect enhanced operational performance as a result.
  5. Certification Credentials: Upon successful completion of the training modules, dispenser operators are able to achieve and retain the knowledge required for certification far easier.
  6. Staying Current with Industry Standards: The propane industry is continually evolving, with new procedures and regulations emerging. Tank Spotter’s training integrates these evolving industry standards, allowing propane companies to remain up-to-date and compliant with the latest requirements.

Taking Excellence Further: Enhanced Features
Tank Spotter’s commitment to excellence extends beyond the core training modules. The Propane Dispensing Training Feature offers additional enhancements that streamline operations and elevate efficiency:

Automated Learning
With training accessible directly through the mobile app, propane dispensing-related training becomes more accessible than ever before. Users can conveniently access training content within the app, enhancing the overall learning experience.

Built-in Dispenser Agreement
Drafting agreement forms can be a time-consuming process. Tank Spotter simplifies this by providing a built-in agreement form developed by legal experts familiar with the propane industry. This streamlines the agreement process, ensuring that agreements are comprehensive and legally sound.

Customizable Training Videos
Customization is key in addressing unique training needs. Tank Spotter’s solution includes customizable training videos, allowing companies to tailor content to their specific requirements. This flexibility ensures that training is relevant and engaging.

Skills Evaluation Forms
Accurate evaluation of operators’ skills is crucial for performance improvement. Tank Spotter offers built-in skills evaluation forms crafted by propane industry experts. These forms enable dispenser managers to assess their operators’ skills accurately.

Comprehensive Reporting
Propane companies and dispenser managers can generate detailed reports, including training history and skill evaluations, through both the app and the web dashboard. These reports provide valuable insights into training effectiveness and skill progression, aiding in informed decision-making.

Leading Transformation in the Propane Industry
By introducing propane dispensing training and a comprehensive suite of related features, propane companies can reduce their risk profile, minimize catastrophic incidents, and more affordably and easily train all their dispenser stations. When propane companies use Tank Spotter, they can save significant time and resources, translating into substantial cost savings.

The benefits propane companies obtain underscore Tank Spotter’s commitment to not only meeting industry needs but also pioneering industry progress. Tank Spotter empowers organizations to streamline their operations, enhance safety, sales, and service work, ultimately driving profitability.

Explore how the propane dispenser training module is reshaping dispenser operational management by visiting

As Published In The News – click here

Tank Spotter, winner of Best Propane app in America and Best in World has unveiled a first ever dispenser training and management app to significantly reduce liabilities, streamline safety protocols, and elevate overall service quality.

PRESS RELEASE: Tank Spotter Revolutionizes Propane Industry with Innovative Propane Dispenser Training Feature

Elevating Field Service Operations in the Propane Industry

Tank Spotter has earned its reputation by pioneering technology-driven solutions. Its real-time connectivity and efficiency-enhancing capabilities have already made significant strides in optimizing safety, service tech and sales work, dispatching, scheduling and boosting operations efficiency.

Presenting the Future of Propane Dispenser Training

The latest of Tank Spotter’s groundbreaking offerings is the introduction of its propane dispenser training and management feature – an industry first. This feature empowers the companies who operate propane dispensers with easily accessible, comprehensive training modules available directly through their smartphones. The complexities of propane dispensing, from adhering to safety protocols to understanding equipment operation and regulatory compliance, are now at operators’ fingertips and tracked, monitored and managed remotely.

Key Advantages of the Propane Dispensing Training Feature:

1. Flexible Learning: There is high turnover among dispenser operators so getting them all trained is hard…With on-demand training modules accessible from an app anytime and anywhere, dispenser operators can seamlessly integrate learning into their schedules.

2. Easy Remote Management: Both Dispenser managers and propane companies can remotely track and manage training to ensure 100% compliance of even new hires in this highly transient employee business

3. Enhanced Safety Measures: Safety is essential in the propane industry. This training equips propane dispenser managers and operators with in-depth knowledge to handle propane safely, ensuring compliance and mitigating risks.

4. Precision and Efficiency: Well-trained operators function with greater precision and efficiency, translating to exceptional service quality and elevated customer satisfaction.

5. Certification Credentials: Upon successful module completion, dispenser operators are certified, attesting to their proficiency and adherence to industry best practices.

6. Staying Current with Industry Standards: Evolving industry standards are integrated into the training, ensuring propane companies stay updated with the latest procedures and regulations.

Taking Excellence Further: Enhanced Features

Tank Spotter’s Propane Dispensing Training Feature is more than a training module. It offers a suite of additional benefits designed to transform propane service operations:

Automated Learning: Dispenser managers and operators can receive training directly through their smartphone via the mobile app, making propane dispensing-related training more accessible than ever.

Built-in Dispenser Agreement: Tank Spotter eliminates the need for companies to draft their own agreement forms. The built-in agreement form, developed by propane industry attorneys and insiders, greatly streamlines the process.

Built-in Propane Dispensing Training Videos: The app includes customizable training videos, ensuring content can be tailored to individual needs.

Skills Evaluation Forms: The app features built-in skills evaluation forms crafted by propane experts. Dispenser managers can accurately evaluate their operators’ skills.

Comprehensive Reporting: Propane companies and dispenser managers can generate reports, such as training history and skill evaluations, from the app and the web dashboard.

Leading Transformation in the Propane Industry

By introducing propane dispensing training and a comprehensive suite of related features, Propane companies can reduce their risk profile, reduce catastrophic incidents, remotely track training of dispenser companies and more affordably and more easily get all their dispenser stations Fully trained. When propane companies use Tank Spotter they quickly save an hour per day per employee creating significant efficiencies that can save tens of thousands of dollars.

The benefits propane companies obtain underscores Tank Spotter’s commitment to not only meet industry needs but also in pioneering industry progress.

Tank Spotter empowers organizations to streamline their operations, enhance safety, sales and service work to drive profitability.

Explore how the propane dispenser training module is reshaping dispenser operational management by visiting