INVESTIGATION INTO THE OPERATIONS OF FUEL MARKETING COMPANIES IN GHANA (A STUDY OF TOTAL PETROLEUM GHANA LIMITED)

ABSTRACT
The objective of this research is to investigate the operations of TOTAL Petroleum Ghana Limited and the challenges faced by fuel stations in their operations. The study also examines the use of a fuel management system to achieve business competitiveness and organizational performance. A web-based application was developed labeled “Fuel Manager” using Microsoft visual studio environment using SQL server that connects as the database. Design research is the methodology used for this thesis because the purpose of this research is to investigate the operations of TOTAL Petroleum fuel stations and all those design components of fuel station management system which influence the overall productivity of the system and propose a new improved framework for the fuel station enterprise systems. Agile development approach was adopted together with Unified Modeling Language (UML) techniques and analysis which are useful in analysing and building information system. The study uses primary data collected through interviews with station managers and supervisors. Questionnaires were also distributed to managers and supervisors of TOTAL Petroleum fuel stations. The data was analysed using SPSS. The findings indicate that even though these fuel stations are aware of the importance of a fuel management system, their knowledge about fuel management systems is limited. Once TOTAL Petroleum Ghana Limited have clearly recognized and defined these opportunities, they must then implement the tools and methodologies to help develop an information system which will assist them in enhancing their competitive strategy. The fuel station management system allows for monitoring and enables TOTAL Petroleum Ghana Limited to track various petroleum products at each fuel station, produce sales reports, stock level reports and supply reports. Future work will explore in more detail a broader set of advanced technology for fuel management system.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.0 Background to the Study
Fuel is a valuable commodity, so designing and installing a Fuel Station Management System for fuel station managers has become necessary in recent times. This software package ones installed enables the industry to keep inventory of stock, fuelling and fuel usage. Once such an effective Fuel Station Management System (FSMS) is installed, efficient monitoring, control and dispense of fuel to vehicles are resolved through effective generated reports. A Fuel Station Management System (FSMS) is a technology which enables a manager to supervise and monitor fuel from the point of entry into the fuel station to the point of use. With so many tools and monitoring devices available on the market, a need to select the right one is critical. Fuel Station Management System with automatic underground tank gauges, electronic line leak detection system, monitoring software and an option to generate notifications with real-time status information or access to all data improves the efficient management of a fuel station.

It is therefore important for fuel stations to adopt and install effective management control systems with on-time accurate reporting systems. Accurate and efficient monitoring ensures the necessary input to the decision-making process. It also helps management to develop, implement, and evaluate a design for monitoring of performance objectives of the fuel stations. Globally effective and efficient management systems help managers to measure their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) in the industry in which they operate. Again well organized and good management control systems guides management in organizations to deliver  and  take  key  decisions  in  their  businesses.  Effective  management  control  enables organizations to adjust to price changes, product branding and analyze suppliers. An efficient Management system by exception ensures that the right reports are generated and delivered to the right people in the organization in a variety of formats via email or SMS.

A management system is an organizational framework for managing and continuously improving an organizational process, policies and procedures. It encompasses information sharing, working with teams, benchmarking and working to the highest quality standards and organizational procedures. A management system according to Scheldt and Bachman (2010) helps an organization to achieve its goals and objectives through a couple of strategies via process optimization and management focus.

Schiedt and Bachman has indicated that the fuel station management system (FSMS) is required to capture the daily accounting inventories and creation of reports based on the data captured to serve as a baseline and guidance for transactional activities. These fuel management systems according to Prieto and Stadler (2008) “are used to monitor, control and maintain fuel consumption and stock in any type of industry that uses transport as a means of business”. Fuel management systems are designed to efficiently measure, control and manage the use of fuel within the transportation and construction sectors of the economy. They are usually used for fleets of vehicles, railways and aircraft. So many methods and technologies are employed to monitor, control and track fuel dispensed, inventories and purchases. This information can always be stored in a computerized system so that reports can be printed or generated for management decision making.

1.1 Statement of the Problem
Information systems has expanded its role in all types and sizes of business enabling managers, engineers and manufacturers to adopt new and emerging technologies in their companies. The management of Total Petroleum Fuel Stations in terms of fuel supply, sales and stock taking has been a manual system in the sense that order of fuel products is done by the fuel station managers filling an order form from various fuel sites. The form is then sent by road to the Head office by the managers of the fuel stations or supervisors, no telephone call or email is used as correspondence.

Replenishing stocks at various fuel stations takes 48 hours. If there is no supply at the fuel stations after 48 hours, the station managers or supervisors follow up at the Head office. In Ghana, the current stocks measurement at Total Petroleum Ghana Ltd is done by using dip sticks and the meter reading from the fuel pump. Fuel tanks are measured with Dip Sticks to check the level of fuel quantity in the tanks. Meter readings of various fuel pumps are taken and subtracted from the fuel tank level to know the actual level of fuel left in the tanks. Reconciliation of the fuel management is done manually by checking the stock level and the amount of money received using the meter readings from the fuel pumps. For example, the products sold by TOTAL Petroleum Limited are super, diesel, kerosene, super effimax and diesel effimax. Reconciliation is based on the principle of stock control system that is, measuring the amount of stock delivered into the storage or underground tanks and subtracting the amount sold, and measuring what is left in stock. Any variances that may arises may be due to evaporation, leaks, losses or theft of fuel. Daily sales are recorded in the sales book which can lead to inaccurate data recorded. The problem with the existing system includes lack of provisions of protected and secured system to records against natural disaster such as fires, flood, earth quake and a lack of recovery system in the event of disaster. There is also delay in locating and retrieving records during audit and lack of security and access control to records to ensure integrity of records.

Currently, existing fuel management system that has been designed precludes a mechanism that helps managers to generate stocks, supply and sales reports of their fuel stations at various fuel sites. Also, the current existing system lacks the inclusion of technological properties that enables managers to analyse trends of products that sells faster in a particular fuel site and to track the stock level of products to know when to replenish stocks. In view of these challenges, there is a need for the development of an improved version of fuel management system that addresses these challenges.

It is against this background, and also considering the existing shortfalls in the current design of fuel management system, that a real-time fuel management system for monitoring and tracking products and sales at each fuel station needs to be developed to know the level of products left in order to replenish stocks quickly to avoid shortages at the fuel stations. With the developed fuel management system, the Head office and station managers can generate stock reports, supply reports and sales reports of each station without requesting it from the station managers. It can also help in auditing purposes and reconciliation of products received by fuel stations.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Project Material  |  Attribute: 74 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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