The PRA’s fuel price intelligence product BigOil has been enhanced with the option of Vianet Fuel Solution’s suite of wet-stock analysis tools, and the creation of a margin management toolbox linking daily Platts prices to the real-time recording of sales, inventory levels and deliveries. The improvements are designed to create a suite of web-based tools that provide fuel retailers with real-time profit reporting.

Two Top 50 independent retailers, Simon Smith Group and Lawrence Garages, have already signed up for the full service.

Andrew Lawrence of Lawrences Garages said: "This new product creates a level of visibility of our fuel business, both operationally and commercially, that will give us a significant financial advantage in being able to better manage our fuel stocks to minimise working capital yet maximise margins.

"At the same time we have the reassurance that state-of-the-art analysis and processes are always watching for any possible loss such as leaks or drifting meters."

Director of Simon Smith Group and former Forecourt Trader of the Year, Susie Hawkins, commented: "The volatility of both cost and retail means you are always worried what margin you are actually making. BigOil’s FIFO-based profit reporting finally gives me the accuracy I need to make the right decisions about the buying and pricing of my fuel."

Managing director of Vianet Fuel Solutions and former director of fuel at Morrisons Supermarkets Phil Maud, said: "These systems give a level of information at the fingertips of a fuel retailer that I would have loved to have had in my previous fuel retailing roles. I am very excited to be part of a new product that levels the playing field for any independent, whether they have just one site or 100 or more."

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: "This product can really help independents improve margins in a very difficult and challenging business. It is good to see that even the smallest retailer can now have a level of control that betters that of even some of the larger UK and global retailers."

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