August 17, 2021
We caught up with Sharon Hughes, Area Manager at Plaistow Broadway Filling Stations, to discuss the family business, optimising fuel margins, and her stalkerish tendencies...
Q: So Sharon, tell us a little bit about PBFS and your role within the business…
A: Plaistow Broadway Filling Stations started about 60 years ago by Founder Douglas Panormo but is now run by his sons Dan and Liam, growing what started off as petrol stations into convenience stores and flourishing property developments. I started working at PBFS 8 years ago and have grown a lot with the business.
I actually started working in the bakery section of one of their petrol stations, moved on to site manager, and now I’m an area manager dealing with pricing strategy, supplier contracts and deals, as well as responsibility for the overall health of the site. It’s been quite a journey!
Q: It sounds like it! How do you like working for a family run business?
A: Dan and Liam are fantastic to work for, it doesn’t feel like a job, just something I enjoy doing. If you can prove you're willing to work and you care about the business you're able to move through job roles very quickly.
I love that the guys have a level of trust in me to be able to make meaningful decisions for their company- you don’t just get to make the little decisions you get to make the much bigger ones and the vital ones for the success of the business - and of course Edge helps A LOT with that.
Q: What a wonderful segue, I didn’t even need to bring it up…
A: ...Well that’s because it’s been an absolute lifesaver for me! Not having Edge meant hours of work, hours of spreadsheets, going and travelling to various sites, looking at competitors’ prices… printing off endless reports on a daily, weekly basis to compare prices...a nightmare.
Q: So, what’s changed?
A: It would take me hours and hours of work to get figures for fuel. Having Edge now, I have those hours returned to me. I can at the touch of a button log in and I have my prices there, I have my blended cost of fuel, I know exactly how much fuel is in my tanks, and I know exactly what we’re making pence per litre.
I don’t need to call sites and get tank readings... previously it would be on different spreadsheets on different reports and also, I'd have to go to separate sites to get it. Plus, with everything being live I always know exactly where I stand on volume, margin, and profit on my phone!”
Q: That sounds amazing, I’m glad we could help! What would you say has been Edge’s biggest impact on the business?
A: For us Edge has had a massive impact on the business, huge in fact... But I’d have to say the biggest impact has been on the pricing. Having real time figures for volume, as well as knowing where the local competitors are- I can judge the prices, and be brave on our margin in order to find the right margin for our sites.
So, I suppose the impact is two-fold:
Q: You would say EdgePetrol has helped you make better decisions?
A: Absolutely, but it's deeper than that. It helps me identify when things aren’t going as well. For example, if I look at a site and the volume is down, I can call the manager and say “Is there an issue on site?” and can begin to instruct him how to fix it, as well as having all the details at my fingertips.
Honestly, it more than pays for itself and having Edge for me in my career is one of the best things I’ve done as it's allowed me to do my job comfortably and I know that the directors are happy because the results are there. I’m a bit of an Edge stalker!
Q: Wait, an Edge stalker?!
A: Yup, I’ve got the app on continuously, checking it morning, noon and night. It’s great to see the volume going up, and I’m able to react very quickly should there be an issue and the volume has dropped... I can then react on price too. It gives me full control of both the fuel itself, and the well being of the site.
Q: Okay phew, we were getting worried for a second there… So what would you say to fuel retailers who aren’t currently using Edge?
A: First and foremost I think they’ll be interested to know that they’re missing out on better margins.
We’ve gone through a difficult time this year, with Covid and restrictions and lockdown;
Having Edge has enabled us to get a good margin and better profit this year, even with the lower volume, so I would reiterate that if people are thinking about going with Edge, certainly through difficult times like this, it’s a lifesaver.
Basically, Edge is one of the best investments fuel retailers can make if they want to get their fuel under control and make better margins.
Q: Can we use that last part as our tagline?
A: Of course, feel free to quote me on that!
Q: Oh, don’t worry we will. And finally from us, what’s next for PBFS and Sharon?
A: Growth! We’d love to build on the growth and success we’ve had since partnering with Edge, and because we have full visibility on the data, we can set ourselves some ambitious, but realistic targets.
Working with our Edge Customer Success Manager has really helped with this as we’re constantly working on implementing new strategies to take advantage of opportunities at each site.
Our business is successful and growing and not only has Edge been a part of that, it feels like you’re growing with us.
For me, the goal is to gain more petrol stations and work even more closely with you guys! Can I go back to making more money on fuel now?
Q: Of course Sharon, thanks for your time!
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