Whether it’s tanker driver strikes, refinery closures, bad weather or another major oil company withdrawing from the UK, the news headlines usually mean one thing for dealers: supply headaches.

There were some particularly frantic days last month as dealers endeavoured to maintain fuel supplies whether as a result of the Wincanton driver’s strike which affected deliveries to Jet dealers, or the disruption caused by the problems at the Coryton refinery in Essex.

Fuel in the tanks is such a basic essential, and motorists can be unforgiving if they see that irritating bit of old card on a nozzle saying ’no fuel’, or a yellow plastic tie, which you assume to mean the same. ’What? Not again. I’m not coming here anymore,’ they think as they drive off somewhere else to buy fuel. And sweets. And fags, milk, lunch, and all those other sales you might miss out on forever.

There’s always a reason for a delivery hiccup. Human error, blocked roads, bad weather, bad planning or simply that somebody forgot to press the button and place an order. But is it something that you should accept as the norm in your business when there are so many competitors fighting for the attention of your customer? When every penny counts, can you afford the true cost of slack in the system?

Andrew Owens, chief executive of Greenergy (see News Extra), thinks dealers should put much more focus on the reliability and efficiency of their fuel supply. Yes, he supplies supermarkets and oil companies and Tesco is a minor shareholder.

But he is obsessed with efficiency in every aspect of his fuel manufacturing and distribution business. And he is now targeting the bigger dealer groups with a radical approach called Flexibrand, which will be officially launched at the Fuel and Forecourt Equipment Show at the NEC in Birmingham on March 25-27.

Suggest you take a look. As one door closes, another one opens