We’re AvantiGas, and we’re one of the UK’s leading suppliers of LPG and energy solutions like gas bottles, aerosol propellant and biomass, to name a few. We’re part of UGI Corporation, an international organisation with a longstanding reputation for excellence in energy production and global distribution. We serve business and residential customers from all sectors and walks of life. And we’re able to do that thanks to our network of multiple distribution centres, two inland gas terminals and our UK-based emergency call centre that delivers maintenance, service and aftercare 24/7.
Warehouse & Logistics News speaks to Andrew Mann, Director of Marketing & Application Sales.
WLN – As a top LPG supplier, what have conditions been like in the past year for your business?
Like many businesses throughout the UK, economic uncertainty has had an effect. We have done all that we can to take the stress of fuel supply out of the equation for many businesses and in the face of economic adversity we have strived to deliver extra value to the market by investing in improving technologies and customer service. We’ve also launched a cylinder range into the market, offering customers a choice between bulk LPG and Cylinders.
WLN – How have recent international developments affected you and how have you responded?
Most of the developments haven’t really affected us over the last 12 months apart from the rising dollar exchange rate resulting in price increases. As for other international developments such as the US presidency, the effect hasn’t been noticed and we are not expecting any major impact on our UK business.
WLN – What are your flagship products and services?
Our main product is propane which is extremely versatile. It can be used in over 2,000 applications from powering forklift trucks to heating a home and aerosol propellant in deodorants. It can be used in so many different ways by many different sectors. The other part is our service element – we continually improve our service level to our customers. We make sure our customers always have access to a constant supply of LPG and a supplier they can rely on time after time. We are very proud that out of all the companies offering LPG as a product, we can hold our heads up high that our service is second-to-none. We offer an extremely flexible model, enabling us to work with our customers to find the right fuel solution for their business.
WLN – What makes you the ‘go to’ supplier in your category?
We are a national provider that covers all of the UK. What makes us an overall go to supplier is that we’re one of the main wholesalers of LPG in the UK. Having two terminals, one in Fife where we bring the product from the natural gas fields and one in Ellesmere Port where we bring product from the refinery, means we have a differentiator where we can cut out the middle man and supply directly to our end users. This means our customers are receiving their product straight from a terminal that is coming directly from a supply line.
WLN – How do you help customers improve their business performance?
We consult with our customer and make sure we work together to establish a fuel plan that is tailored to their business. By offering a range of products, services and pricing options for our customers we can always meet our customer’s needs, which allows them to concentrate on the day-today running of their business.
WLN – How have you changed your offering to customers in the last 12 months and why? Have you added anything new?
During the last 12 months we have implemented ‘The Complete Forklift LPG Solution’. The solution was launched to the market at this year’s IMHX event and has been very well received by new customers. The solution focusses on exceptional service, expertise and safety, three core values of AvantiGas. The approach we take means that we will work with our customers to develop the most efficient fuel plan for their business. The bespoke plan covers fuel and distribution, installation, maintenance, aftercare and account management. We like to think of ourselves as part of an extended energy team that go above and beyond for all of our customers.
WLN – What were your other major achievements in the last 12 months?
A huge achievement for us over the last 12 months was launching Avantigas LPG cylinders to the business market. This has complimented our existing offer and provides options in terms of tailoring the correct fuel plan for a business. We can now reach more LPG users who are benefiting from the industry leading service we provide. Another ongoing achievement for us is carbon reduction. Converting businesses from oil to LPG for heating or fleets of forklift trucks from diesel to LPG has been very important as the Government have increasingly stringent targets on how we can decarbonise the UK’s environment. Although LPG still produces carbon as it burns, it’s at a lower level than oil and diesel. If we have a customer that is running on oil, we can help them by not only reducing their carbon footprint but also by replacing applications to improve efficiencies. This does two jobs – it brings down the overall cost to run a fuel, whether it be for powering an FLT, heating or industrial process and of course reduces carbon.
WLN – Are you branching into any new areas, targeting new customers and taking on more people?
We are looking to grow both our product range and coverage. As I have previously mentioned in this interview, we are targeting customers who are currently using other fuel sources to using LPG for their applications instead. Again – this is where our expertise in project management really shines. Twelve months ago we launched AvantiRenewables, which looks at renewable energy options such as biomass, helping customers reach their carbon targets and become more sustainable. This also leads into duel fuel options – if there is an interrupted supply with a process, we can back it up with LPG.
WLN – Have you made any enhancements to your customer service?
We’ve made many recent internal customer service improvements which benefit our customers. There is now a dedicated order line, telephone system improvements and a newly designed portal where customers can view their statements, usage and offers that we are running at the time. Our forecasting tool is a huge advancement – this takes into account usage and weather and develops a delivery plan. This adds a level of security to supply and also helps customers with their budgets.
WLN – What has been your most memorable recent project?
Our most memorable recent project was for Rosti International. They are an international injection moulding manufacturer which supplies the automotive, construction and food and drink industries. They rely on the seamless transportation of goods from their distribution sites which operate around the clock and were using cylinders to power their fleet of FLTs. Rosti are a rapidly growing business who run FLTs 24 hours a day – it was clear that they would hugely benefit from a bulk solution across their three sites. The first tank was installed within 24 hours of getting the green light. This meant that Rosti could start saving immediately – they have projected a saving of £10k per site per year.
WLN – How important is staff development and training to your growth?
It is massively important to our growth; not only do we think this but our customers do too. We recently conducted a survey and one thing that came through clearly was how important our team is to our customers, mainly the drivers, engineers and customer service teams who our customers deal with on a daily basis. In the warehouse and logistics sector, it is extremely important that our teams are on hand to deal with any situation as many businesses operate around the clock. This is why we operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We have invested heavily in programs which aid training and development and have a robust apprenticeship scheme which covers all departments. We pride ourselves on staff development and can say we have many team members who have been with the company for well over 5 years and through those years have been given opportunities to progress and add serious value to both us as a company and more importantly our customers. We also run annual sector sales briefing workshops for our commercial team in order to keep ahead of the curve in terms of industry advancements and technology – the most recent one was an FLT briefing session where we focused on modern business operations that used FLTs.
WLN – Looking ahead, what factors do you see affecting your business? How are you turning these into opportunities?
The exchange rate is a factor as all of our product is bought in dollars but this doesn’t mean our product comes from the United States. There are great opportunities for our product in the U.K and Europe. There are new refineries opening in the East that bring LPG into the market place. With all these types of product, where there is more supply, the supply price tends to go down. We think there is a major opportunity to flagship LPG and alternative fuels to oil and diesel because there will be more LPG available. We will also continue to expand our infrastructure and service to ensure we deliver value for money and efficiencies to our customers.
WLN – Which major trade shows and other industry events are you involved in over the next year?
Earlier this year we exhibited at the 2016 IMHX event. This was a great event for us where we had the chance to meet many people from different business sectors and provide an in-depth overview of who we are and what we do. Over the coming year our focus is to visit all of these businesses and suppliers, providing our leading solution to the operations. You can find out exactly where we will be exhibiting over the next year by visiting our social media sites, website and of course, reading Warehouse and Logistics News.
WLN – What headline news from Avanti Gas can our readers look forward to seeing in Warehouse & Logistics News in 2017?
The further development of our Complete Forklift LPG Solution. We are currently developing a robust Health and Safety package as standard with all new sales, this will be a huge benefit to industries we supply. Health and Safety is paramount to the industrial sector and we are proud to have the No.1 Safety record in the LPG industry.
WLN – And finally, in our social media age, if you had to sum up your company in a 140-character tweet what would you say?
We’re AvantiGas, and we’re one of the UK’s leading suppliers of LPG and energy solutions. We’re the people who go above and beyond.
AVANTI GAS LTD
0808 208 0000