Hamilton’s propane is a family operated propane service company in lower Michigan. They service the Central Lower Michigan area and serve individual households, agriculture, and businesses.
In the late 2000’s Hamilton’s Propane was utilizing an existing terminal based software for managing their inventory and customer accounts. This system had limitations on active users and the restrictive interface left much to be desired. Given the problem, we at 906 Technologies, decided we could bring software up to date and provide a web based platform that can do the same functions with more reliability and fewer limitation to active users.
On the surface, creating a customer POS system for propane would seem straightforward, but with any industry specific system there are always additional challenges.
Predictive Fuel delivery
One desired feature we had to recreate from scratch involved reading into customer details and delivery history to come up with a way of ensuring a fuel customer would never run out. Not meeting this expectation can be devistating for the customer as running out of fuel during the winter is unacceptable in Michigan. Additionally, preemptively planning fuel deliveries lets staff work without having to answer phone calls from worried customers.
Since Hamilton’s Propane had been operational prior to our involvement we were tasked with learning thier business and conforming to their existing hardware. In our case, this involved an old dot-matrix printer with very rigid print standards. This required us to put limitations on the automation of thier print tasks, in order to come out correct.
Online access and email notifications
After years with the old printer the time came for an upgrade. With this we were able to abandon our strict formatting and move forward. Since we were already reformatting our print layout we took this as an opportunity to add paperless statements as an option for their customers via email. In addition to issuing our payments we’ve also interfaced their website with the software for an even better customer experience. Customers are now able to schedule their own fill ups, pay online, and have those requests fed directly into the system with little interaction from Hamilton’s staff.