We’re AvantiGas, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of LPG, LNG and natural (mains) gas for business, providing energy solutions such as bulk LPG, gas bottles, aerosol propellant and biomass. 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 around the UK – heating homes and hotels, fuelling fork-lift trucks and powering industrial processes. Our network of 15 distribution centres, two inland gas terminals and our UKbased emergency call centre delivers maintenance, service and aftercare 24/7.
Andrew Pass, Commercial Manager at AvantiGas, spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
WLN – What are your best-known products and services?
Our main product is propane or LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), an extremely versatile energy source used in over 2,000 applications and in many different sectors. We also supply natural (mains) gas to businesses, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and biomass solutions.
LPG is ideal for warehouses and factories. It can be used not only to fuel fork-lift trucks but also for off-grid space heating and in process applications in manufacturing.
We’re very proud of our customer service, which we continually strive to improve. We make sure our customers have a constant supply of LPG and see us as the supplier they can rely on time after time. We believe our service is second-to-none in the LPG industry. We offer an extremely flexible model, enabling us to work with our customers to find the right fuel and energy solutions for their business or their home.
WLN – Can you give examples of what you do for your customers?
Laser International operates over 800,000 square feet of warehousing at the company’s Kent branch. AvantiGas aided the switch to LPG from a diesel-powered FLT fleet by designing a bulk tank filling station for the site. A 2,250 litre LPG tank on a ‘skid’ unit was the most cost-effective solution, and we supply the company with 50,000 litres of LPG a year, serviced through automatic deliveries.
Manchester-based chemical manufacturer James Briggs Ltd has been a long-standing customer since the early 1990s. We supply high-purity LPG propellant for their aerosol products as well as standard LPG for their fork-lift fleet. James Briggs currently uses two types of aerosol propellant LPG, taking delivery of around 28 tonnes a week plus three tonnes for their FLT fleet.
WLN – How do your products benefit your customers’ businesses?
We consult our customers, working together to establish a fuel plan tailored to their business. By offering a range of products, services and pricing options we can always meet our customers’ needs, allowing them to concentrate on the day-today running of their business.
WLN – What’s business been like in the past year? How have conditions changed over this period and how have you reacted?
We’re seeing a lot more enquiries from businesses operating with costly or inefficient fuels, particularly larger companies which use a large volume of fuel and are at a point where they need to consider replacing an old, inefficient boiler. If a customer is on oil or coal, this is the ideal time to be thinking about upgrading to an LPG solution. For larger energy users AvantiGas offers a free site survey to examine the options and demonstrate how a business could benefit from switching to LPG. We can even provide funding for the installation, with no upfront fees and quick payback times on investment.
WLN – How have you fine-tuned your offering in the last 12 months and why?
We’ve developed our AvantiGas LPG cylinders service for the business market. This provides further 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. We’re also working on carbon reduction. Converting businesses from oil to LPG for heating or switching fork-lift trucks from diesel to LPG can make an important contribution to helping companies meet increasingly stringent Government targets on decarbonising the UK’s environment.
LPG produces much lower levels of carbon than oil and diesel.
If a customer is running on oil, we can not only help them to reduce their carbon footprint but also to improve efficiencies, bringing down fuel costs whether it be to fuel an FLT fleet, heat premises or power an industrial process.
We’ve also entered the natural gas market, expanding our offering to business customers. We can now supply on-grid businesses with natural gas, so no matter where a business is located, on or off-grid, they can power vehicles or heat premises or fuel catering using just one supplier. Most competitors can’t do this, which gives us a unique advantage.
WLN – Why should customers choose you as their main supplier in your area?
Exceptional service, expertise and safety run through every function of our operations, ensuring that the customer is the focus of everything we do. We consult 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 goes above and beyond for all our customers. We’re also able to offer a complete energy solution, whether they are on or off-grid, or whether they need gas to heat their property or to fuel their FLT fleet. Customers can take advantage of a single supplier for all their fuel and energy needs.
WLN – What recent enhancements have you made in customer service?
We’ve made many internal improvements which directly benefit our customers. We have a dedicated order line and online portal where customers can view their statements, usage and new offers, while many are benefiting from our delivery forecasting system. This unique system takes into account their past LPG use and current local weather to develop a bespoke delivery plan which fits their needs. Our customers have access to our friendly customer service centre plus a direct link to their account manager. Both are on-hand to make any changes our customers may need, or to answer any queries they may have.
WLN – What factors do you see affecting your customers in the coming year? How will you turn these into opportunities?
We serve a wide range of customers, from large international multi-site companies to residential customers using LPG to heat their homes. Two common factors affect all of them – cost-efficiency and carbon reduction. We feel that whilst the awareness of LPG’s advantages over other fuels has grown, there’s less understanding of the additional benefits LPG can bring. LPG can be used for space heating, catering, manufacturing and industrial processes and even in an LPG/diesel mix as an HGV road fuel. This flexibility can bring direct cost efficiencies. The Government’s recent Clean Growth Strategy has outlined a decarbonisation plan which will affect both domestic and commercial consumers over the next few decades. LPG has a part to play and for any business which is operating with old, inefficient boilers or are reliant on heavy carbonproducing fuels such as oil and coal, switching to LPG will open up both environmental and cost advantages.
WLN – Are you investing in new premises and extra staff? What about staff development and training?
In the last 12 months we have moved to a new Head Office which accommodates our growing team and allows us to deliver the best possible service to our customers. We believe training is massively important to our growth; our customers think so too. One thing that came through clearly in a survey we conducted was how important our people are to our customers, especially the drivers, engineers and customer service teams who deal with customers daily.
For the warehouse and logistics sector, it’s extremely important that our teams are on hand 24/7, 365 days a year, to deal with any situation, because many businesses in this sector operate around the clock. We have invested heavily in programmes which aid training and development, and we have a robust apprenticeship scheme which covers all departments.
We pride ourselves on staff development and retention. We have many team members who have been with the company for more than five years and through those years they have been given opportunities to progress, adding serious value to us as a company and more importantly to our customers.
We also run annual sector sales and marketing briefing workshops for our commercial team so they can keep ahead of the curve in terms of industry market advances and technology.
WLN – What big news from AvantiGas can our readers look forward to seeing in Warehouse & Logistics News in 2018?
We’re building on our fork-lift truck fuel offering with a market-leading Health and Safety package as standard with all new sales. Our Complete FLT Solution will be a huge benefit to the industries which we supply, increasing knowledge and awareness of both best practice and safe operation in LPG fork-lift truck re-fueling. Health and Safety is paramount to the industrial sector and we’re proud to have the No.1 safety record in the LPG industry.
WLN – And finally, if you had to sum up your company in a tweet what would it be?
We’re one of the UK’s leading suppliers of bulk LPG, gas bottles, mains gas for business & renewables. We’re the people who go above & beyond!
AVANTI GAS LTD
Tel: 0808 208 0000