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Monitoring progress

Suresite has been hitting the headlines recently with its announcements about deals with Greenergy and its £2bn-worth of bank card transactions processed in the past 12 months.And it's likely to become even more of an industry name, if new legislation is introduced in November concerning wet-stock monitoring.

"We've been involved in the consultation process," explains Keith Bevan, Suresite's sales and marketing director. "We expect that in the Blue Book they'll insist that sites have third-party monitoring for wet stock. That may take 12-18 months to legislate, but we're certain that's coming in."

If it does it will be a great opportunity for Suresite, which came into the wet-stock monitoring market in 2016 and has recently agreed a deal with Greenergy to provide wet-stock management across its Esso dealer network.

"The majority of smaller independents don't have wet-stock monitoring the cost is prohibitive and there is limited choice in the number of companies available to provide it," explains Bevan. "But prices have dropped considerably since we came into the market I think we've shaken it up quite a bit. We offer two levels of service a full-managed service, or a self-managed service, which is a trimmed-down service to give retailers just what they need to get by."

It seems that word is getting around about Suresite, which anticipates having 900 wet-stock customers across Europe by the year end. Two things have played into the company's hands, according to Bevan: "One is that we're very good at data collection; the other that competition is so small especially as our main rivals are now under the ownership of one company."

Suresite Wetstock is described as a fully real-time solution, sending data continuously from a site every few minutes, every hour of the day. This allows the constant monitoring of all elements of wet stock, including pump flow rates, water ingress, delivery validation and alarms, all on one web portal platform.

"We collect data, we send it that second and we analyse it that second," explains Bevan. "You don't have to wait until the next day to find out what's going on. We send two files per second, which means accuracy goes through the roof."

He describes Suresite's data collection device Guardian as a very simple, but clever solution to a difficult problem: "There are two bits of kit, so if one fails you can immediately plug in the second one. You don't have to wait four days for an engineer to come and fix it. It's a low-tech solution and the kit is the size of a sandwich we can send out a replacement free of charge. It's in the contract. Customers are paying for marketing services, not paying huge amounts to maintain a data capture device."

But while there is a lot to say about the Suresite products, managing director Nick Healy is keen to put across the message that the company is not only intent on providing a great service to its customers, it is also investing heavily in the people that work in the business, in order to encourage innovation, collaboration and a sustainable, successful future.

Suresite Ltd was formed in 1995 by chairman Geoff Oldham, who having worked for Esso for 20 years, established a Health & Safety consultation service, to help retailers with compliance.

"There hadn't been much of a focus on safety until that time," says Bevan. "Now we cover about 20-30 different legislations, from food hygiene all the way through to the Red Book, which is about fire safety. As work grew, a range of consultants joined the business, such as ex-petroleum officers or ex-area managers from similar oil company backgrounds."

In 2005 Nick Healy who previously worked for Chevron on Texaco's card services joined with Oldham and formed Suresite Card Services Ltd.

"The remit was to bring the big oil card scheme to the smaller brands," explains Healy. "We ran a scheme for Gulf, then for Jet. We can now match both the price and the infrastructure of the big brands that's what we brought to the table. We have processed 75 million transactions in the past 12 months."

In 2016 the Suresite wet-stock business was officially registered, and the Suresite Group Ltd was formed, which the three companies Health & Safety, Card Services and Wetstock report into.

"We've partnered with fuel management specialist Leighton O'Brien," says Healy. "The premise in setting up a wet-stock service was that we believe you need independence from the manufacturers, and the discussions we were having with the customers at the time was, should the manufacturer of the kit be the same people that are monitoring? Many thought not. We believed there was a gap in the market. And so we've gone from a company that was 13-14-strong five years ago, to a company of 48 with 14 consultants. We're working towards different policies and standards, and making it a great place for people to work."

Staff perks include a day off for a birthday and £100 at Christmas, but it's also about creating a fertile environment to encourage staff development. One of the company's apprentices Adam Henry is this year's North West Apprentice of the Year.

"It's all about talent, and keeping the right people," explains Healy. "If they like where they work they're going to do a better job. It's about developing something sustainable, not just making money. I like the fact that we have a nice organisation where people can excel. Our success is based on our staff. We are always looking at training you should never stop learning, and never get too big for your boots."

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 11 December 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East123.7065.90130.36121.00
East Midlands123.22132.06120.72
London123.2858.90131.75120.77
North East122.41132.57120.03
North West123.0453.80129.56120.69
Northern Ireland121.86125.50120.15
Scotland123.43130.00120.43
South East123.79130.52121.33
South West123.5451.70130.13120.95
Wales122.8952.90129.42120.12
West Midlands122.72130.53120.53
Yorkshire & Humber122.96133.33120.61

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