Dennis K. Burke Inc.
Ted Burke, vp
Private fleet delivering bulk gasoline, diesel fuel and lubricants to truck-fleet and marine customers in New England
In the past, Ted Burke and Dennis K. Burke, his father and company founder, could walk around their shop just outside of Boston and remember every maintenance chore that needed attention. In the past few years, though, the fuel and lube supplier has grown rapidly, more than doubling its business and the fleet it used to deliver its products.
“We have a fleet of 40 trucks now, split 50/50 between straight tank trucks and tractor-tank trailers, as well as five box trucks for delivering drums and case goods,” says the younger Burke. “And we've gone from two guys in the shop to five.”
The company is a bit different than most fuel distributors, serving mostly bulk customers with their own large fleets as well as marine customers. “Our tank trailers have meters, pumps, reels and other more sophisticated equipment than's usual on a tanker,” says Burke. “Also, all of our trucks have PTO's, even the box trucks because we sometimes use them to make bulk deliveries.”
Given the current fleet's size and variety, “that's more volume than you can keep in your head,” says Burke.
Deciding it was time to update the shop system, Burke began talking to the managers at other New England fleets. Two he particularly respected told him they were using a PC-based system called Dossier from Arsenault Assocs.
After some investigation, Burke decided late last year that the system would fit his fleet as well. Although Dossier is also offered as a Web-based ASP, the company already had a server and network in place, so it chose the Windows server application, Burke explains.
“We chose to have an on-site consultant do the initial setup and training,” he says. “It took about a week, and then we spent another week getting familiar with the system.”
Now information from work and repair orders are entered into Dossier by Kelly Burke, Ted's sister, who also handles all of the company's billing. From there the fleet has complete access to individual vehicle records, parts inventories and detailed cost records.
“We can track all of the accessory equipment and specific parts for the various vehicles in our mixed fleet,” says Burke. “All of the information, including the various vehicle specs, is centralized and available to anyone who needs them.”
The new system also helped bridge a “communication gap” between the shop personnel and the company's controller. “The guys in the garage and the accountants didn't really understand each other very well,” he says. “That meant we weren't doing a very good job of tracking cost-per-mile.”
Dossier, which offers a range of report-writing features, solved the communications problem, and now the company has a much better understanding of those equipment costs.