FUEL management specialists, Triscan, have the Scottish road haulage industry in their sights following the recent establishment of a base office in Paisley. The creation of a geographically dedicated service and support team to ensure that fuel tanks, pumps and information recording software systems are fully functioning 24/7.
The Lancashire based company, is headed by managing director David Lamont, a Scot who in early life was a qualified accountant and is now accruing the fortunes of Triscan. He is aiming to position the company back at the league topping status it once held when the concept of a fuel management system was conceived back in 1984.
The company began life in 1974, when Tri-Scan was created to market X-ray machines. However, in 1984 a fuel management division was created by one Hughie Tomlinson. Based in Blackburn it grew and, according to market research at the time, it became the number one fuel management company in the UK. In fact, recalls David Lamont, “in the early days Tri-Scan was the generic term for all forms of fuel management data recording.”
However, for Tri-Scan, the road to 2014 was not without its potholes. In the 90’s, the company was sold to Meggitt PLC (with the hyphen duly dropped) and merged with Microlec to become Meggitt Petroleum Systems and provide both retail and commercial solutions. Meggitt PLC began to focus on the Aerospace Industry and, in 2003, MPS was divested to an entrepreneur buy out. This was largely unsuccessful due to the lack of direction and synergy between the retail and commercial businesses. In 2007, support funding became available from a private equity syndicate and the Triscan name was resurrected. Focus was now directed fully towards the Triscan commercial product range.
One of the syndicate’s overseers was David Lamont who saw that serious changes were needed at Triscan. So, in 2011, he was parachuted in to become Managing Director of a newly formed management team in which he both promoted and brought back personnel from the company’s previous ‘middle management’ and it worked.
“I found that there was and still is an endemic culture at Triscan. That’s why many grasped the opportunity to come back and, as history will record, returning staff became a development feature of the company.”
“I went in for a three month stint as MD, but I enjoyed the working ambiance, in which it was patently obvious that Triscan personnel had a true love of the business. They deserved support, so my tenure continued and, in May 2012, the formation of a management buyout proposal allowed the investment syndicate to divest Triscan. Thereafter, as a management owned company, we have never looked back.”
In April 2013, new 6,000sq.ft premises were bought in Accrington, housing 45 staff in offices and a machinery assembly floor. By December 2013 an expansion opportunity presented itself and Datatrack was acquired.
“It was a first class fit,” says David Lamont. “Datatrack was also a fuel management company, but trading in a different sector, mainly rail and small road haulage based fuel users. Now, with Datatrack a fully owned subsidiary, we could cover the entire range of fuel users from four and five truck haulier fleets, to our household named customers of today including Muller Wiseman, Asda, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Gist, Veolia, Metroline, Warburtons and now able to compliment our FirstBus relationship to include First ScotRail.”
“We were now in a position to offer a one stop shop and coined the marketing mantra ‘from source to exhaust’ since we don’t just provide data reading and reporting software. Far from it, we supply and install fuel tanks, pipework, tank gauges, fuel pumps, fuel management hardware and software and of course a full repair and maintenance package backed by an industry leading layer of customer support systems. We have even been known to knock down a redundant wall where a customer required.”
“We have 13 installing and servicing engineers based across the UK within a huge triangle encompassing Fife, London and Bristol. Perhaps, it should be mentioned that we don’t just monitor the customer’s own bunkered fuel, we also provide a hybrid system where long distance hauliers can use fuel cards when away from home, but still have the data duly recorded in one place.”
Scotland was by now creeping onto the Triscan radar, resulting in the opening of an office in Paisley. Explains David, “Because a number of our big, household name clients have bases in Scotland (Asda, for instance, has eight Triscan units at its Grangemouth depot alone) we could see the opportunity for significant expansion north of the border. We immediately created a customer service team with personnel covering 6am to 10pm seven days a week, backed by engineers on call during the working day.”
“We can now address the fuel monitoring requirements of any size of fleet. With Scottish road haulage industry operators spending around 30% of their oncosts in fuel alone, fuel monitoring becomes a serious cost control, particularly if a ‘shrinkage’ problem, i.e. theft, is suspected. ‘Secure fuel’ is what we stand for.”
So that’s the Triscan success story so far. In the words of Robert Browning, David Lamont is convinced that ‘the best is yet to be’ as the pioneers of fuel management systems promote their ‘source to exhaust’ solutions to enable fleet managers gain control of their fuelling operations and control of their fuel bills.