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The future depends on what we do today. We can’t predict it. But we can show perspectives” – this was the motto of this year’s UNITI Forum Tankstellentechnik (UNITI Filling Station Forum) in Bochum, Germany. It provided interesting and forward-looking expert talks as well as a warm and welcoming opportunity to meet, exchange ideas and engage in background talks. 

Solid work bases

On both days, anyone working in the filling station sector was offered solid work bases, tailored for a practical and cost-effective implementation. Participants found out how to quickly optimize their operations today and at the same time prepare them for a successful future. 

CODAB, our Swedish subsidiary, took to the stage on the first day. In the “Smarte Tankstelle 4.0” (Smart Filling Station 4.0) innovation block, the company presented how digitization optimizes the energy consumption, service costs and device availability of business routines and organizes them with active players. 

One thing became clear: Technology on its own does not yet work miracles! Bases for making better business decisions can only develop in a highly attuned and situation-focused interaction between team and technology. CODAB showed us where, and more importantly how, to act in order to improve our operating results in the long term. 

Specific practical examples

CODAB gave its audience three core points to think about:

  • How to save energy in both filling station and shop
  • How to realize optimized operating hours and optimal availability of all systems on the forecourt and in the shop
  • How to show business processes in effective group views for different stakeholders along the value added chain

CODAB used specific practical examples from its own wealth of experience gained from more than 3,000 installations to explain in detail how to quickly and reliably generate easy income that has a positive effect on finances and balance sheets. In typical Scandinavian fashion – straight up with both feet firmly on the ground: figures, data, facts!

Data, machines and humans must merge into one unit

However, every good practice naturally also attracts constructive criticism: After CODAB’s talk, feedback started to come in that technologically supported process optimizations may be quick and simple to implement, but the question of how to effectively integrate these innovative technologies in existing organizations and organizational processes had not yet been answered. Specific questions included: 

  • How can the interaction between the “base station” and management in the “cockpit” as well as external service partners be reconciled in the run-up in a timely and target-oriented manner?
  • How can technical impulses from the specially developed remote sensor technologies devices with real-time data optimize business performance on the shop floor, improve operational safety and at the same time provide the employee teams with useful information?
  • Functioning information technologies are one thing, but going by experience, practical organization is yet another. How can an organization therefore be encouraged to improve tried-and-tested processes or to start over entirely?

Conclusion: Data, machines and humans must truly merge into one unit to create a comprehensive basis for optimizing operating performance, today and in the future. Value is not created automatically or by the magic of a machine. In the real world, value is only created through improved decision-making processes. 

In Bochum, CODAB proved with facts and figures how the right kind of action has a positive effect on your trade balance sheet. However, only you can make these decisions. With this in mind, we would like to continue this dialog with anyone involved in the filling station sector as well as retailers who may be thinking about matters such as their cooling chains (HACCP) or optimization of their operating costs.

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