When it Matters
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Josh Hyland
Leveraging the global evolution of a HOYER brand which has become one of the logistics mainstays across numerous sectors and geographies, HOYER Petrolog UK is living up to its national-leading reputation to introduce new services, attain new business, and unveil new innovations.
With the German-originated HOYER Group now in its second and third generation of family ownership, the organisation’s international growth is unparalleled across the scheduling and distribution of liquids to world-renowned clients, and across each strand, the Company continues to reinvent and align itself with the future needs of its clients in mind.
“HOYER is now a €1.2 billion business operating in more than 100 countries; carrying just about anything that’s liquid - from the most dangerous chemical acid, to a gas at -200 degrees centigrade, to chocolate or beer that you could drink directly from the tank it’s carried in,” introduces HOYER Petrolog’s Managing Director, Mark Binns. “Chemicals across Europe and overseas remain the biggest part of the business. Then you have fuels, lubricants, aviation fuels and bitumen etc as part of the Petrolog business, and then you have air gasses and food stuffs such as wine, beer, fruit juices and liquid chocolates comprising the rest of the portfolio.
Across each division, and especially prevalent within the Petrolog business unit which began in the 1970s and took off more concertedly in the 2000s, the aim remains to innovate and to provide a forward-thinking, value for money proposition to the cream of the sector crop.
“We’ve never been the cheapest and we don’t try to be,” Binns affirms. “Our business success is built on professionalism, high quality, a very strong health & safety ethos, good customer service, and overall good value for money.”
As such, HOYER Petrolog UK currently boasts a footprint of 11 European countries whereby it operates in the fuel distribution market, transporting retail fuels to service stations as well as catering for aircraft refuelling. As market leader in three of these jurisdictions - Germany, UK and Sweden - the Company’s success is epitomised by the cachet of the partners it works alongside.
“We work for a number of the big oil companies like Shell and BP in multiple countries and this network is one of our main strengths,” Binns says. “For these oil majors, we provide a consistent offering and a mutual recognition of the best way of working together.
“Occasionally, they will ask us to go into unusual situations or carry out challenging projects, but this is why they choose us: we’re good at getting things done, sorting things out, and doing so properly and professionally.”
In turn, such quality has been repaid with loyalty and trust; the likes of BP and Shell not only look to HOYER to carry out their distribution needs, but to take more of a controlling role in the scheduling, planning and management of its supply chain.
Binns explains: “If you go back into the history, a lot of these oil companies issued resource contracts where they would manage the logistics and look to us to provide the physical execution. These days though, responsibility for stock management, order taking and vehicle planning is largely in our hands and left to us to decide when and where deliveries are needed.
“We often answer the telephone and take the orders in the name of the client as if we were the client. We handle all the stocks in the ground with telemetry systems which tell us what the daily sales are, and what the volumes are in the ground; and from that we work out when the next delivery is needed and what the make-up of the delivery needs to be. And from there, we make our own vehicle schedules and plans before enacting the physical execution.”
Completing the seamless technological process, all of this is then fed back into its clients’ ERP systems. And the final result represents a mutual reliance between both parties, emphasising the role that HOYER now plays in the international market, and the sophisticated innovations the Company has at its disposal to be entrusted with such undertakings.
Value for money
The flexibility of HOYER Petrolog UK has also shown its worth in light of new industry challenges and changes, most recently expressed as a consequence of the growing retail influence within the sector. In a supermarket or wholesaler respect, fuels are now viewed in the same way as shelved products inside a store, with customer satisfaction and demand intrinsically aligned to availability and instantaneousness. And as oil companies try to adjust to this retail-minded philosophy, it has turned to HOYER to help them make the transition.
“It’s all about meeting the needs of our clients; not just for the present day, but with the future in mind as well,” Binns says. “For our part, this means making sure that we have very good services that are all doing what they’re supposed to do and that are all very efficient. This, in turn, ensures value for the service we provide”
With more than 500 trucks at HOYER Petrolog UK’ disposal, this doesn’t mean increasing the fleet to expand its reach, but by streamlining the schedules and making the fleet more efficient. This includes responding to seasonal and even daily trends, and most importantly, the flexibility to amend the schedule at a moment’s notice so as to make sure that no time, money or resources are wasted.
In the UK, such necessities are managed by HOYER’s national control centre in Huddersfield.
“This is where all the interactions with clients and their receivers take place, it’s where all the stock monitoring and controlling takes place, it is where all the planning and logistics work is built up, and it’s where all of our drivers call into, to receive instructions and to give feedback about what they’re up to, and any problems they’ve encountered,” Binns details.
As ever, where there is consistent quality, innovation isn’t far behind, and in this case, HOYER has introduced a new delivery paperwork printing system in the cab of each vehicle to enable instantaneous interaction between control centre and driver, while also reducing any wasted time caused by the driver having to leave the vehicle to print changed delivery information.
Health and safety, differentiators
The primary beneficiaries - and not coincidentally the target of the Company’s innovations - remain the oil companies and in the same way that HOYER continuously updates its processes to meet their needs, it also ensures it stays abreast of all major industry trends and market expectations.
Chief among these are levels of health & safety, driven by a workforce that never wavers from the professionalism and standards expected of them at a business like HOYER.
“Using health & safety as a prime example, this is very much about getting the right people in, making sure they have solid training, and then carrying out ongoing assessments of their performance,” Binns emphasises. “We know that our experienced drivers are extremely good at what they do. We’ve got drivers who’ve been here for 25 years, do 60,000 miles a year, who have never had an accident. They can put their 60 foot lorry where we couldn’t put our cars.
“The emphasis then is on consistency and making sure the same performance is there on a cold February morning at 5am in the rain, and that’s where we tap into their motivation and professionalism; understanding that we want to keep them at HOYER, and to keep them happy, but to also make sure they don’t become complacent in any way either.”
Quality, consistency, professionalism, health & safety, a commitment to people, logistics acumen, and critical mass flexibility are all listed by Binns when asked about HOYER’s standout differentiator; the MD emphasising that it is an amalgamation of all of these facets which defines and explains HOYER’s success, rather than one standout feature.
“When you bring all of them together, you end up with a very solid and attractive value for money proposition,” he concludes. “We’ve got a nice balance too. We’re a large entity and part of an even larger Group but we remain privately owned, and retain the flexible agility and delegated authority of a smaller organisation.
“Our ability to make important decisions quickly makes us very agile and that is very important when combined with the market-leading client portfolio, services and footprint that we already enjoy.”