Airlines that decide to establish a digital fueling process and a fuel management system are, inevitably, confronted with the mother of all questions: “Which system shall we use?” And since digital fuel management, first and foremost, is a digitalization project, technology, software, and the right system vendor certainly play a vital role.

Airline Fuel Management System

Defining Fuel Management — Read This First!

We know that the term “Fuel Management” can have a thousand different meanings. That’s why we want to quickly explain how we define Fuel Management in the context of this blog post.

A Fuel Management System describes a system that enables airlines to rely on a digital fueling process. Accordingly, that means that the entire fueling process chain at an airport is covered by such a system. That includes each process from the initial fuel order until the final provision of a receipt.

With this article, we want to provide a first overview of the available system types on the market. Moreover, we assess available fuel management systems according to different aspects to help you identify the perfect match.

Wait, wait, wait — Aren’t You A Provider Of A Fuel Management System?

Of course, you may say, “wait, wait, wait — you are one of the potential providers of fuel management system! That assessment can’t be neutral!” Well, we try to keep this article as neutral as possible. There’s no intention to let our product shine and put others solutions in a bad light. On the contrary, this article is meant as a helpful guideline that enables you to assess which’s the right direction to go. 

An Overview Of Fuel Management System Types

On a high-level, we can distinguish between three solutions type:

  • Fully Integrated Platforms
  • Dedicated eFueling Solutions
  • Dedicated Fuel Provider Solutions

So, let’s go down the solutions types and provide you with all you have to know.

Fully Integrated Solutions

What is this fuel management system about?

Fully integrated fuel management systems provide platforms that span across the entire fuel supply chain. Accordingly, it incorporates all activities and parties, like fuel producer, fueling supplier, logistic provider, into-plane agent, airline, etc. Subsequently, the airplane fueling process is one (small) part of fully integrated solutions. 

Provider

i6 Group (Website)

Pro’s

If you are not solely looking for a digital airplane fueling platform but to digitize your airline’s entire fuel supply chain (and beyond), fully integrated solutions should be your choice. Usually, the different modules are well-integrated with each other. Therefore, these types of fuel management systems unleash their power, primarily when used across several processes. 

Con’s

From our point of view, there are three aspects to consider. First of all, fully integrated fuel management systems aim to cover a wide variety of processes. That’s the reason for the before-mentioned positive aspect. However, on the flip side, they might not have the best-in-class solution for every process. That’s a simple trade-off. On top of that, fully integrated airline fuel management systems come with inevitable vendor lock-in. Hence, it reduces an airline’s flexibility to choose the desired solutions for different process of the value chain.

Dedicated Fuel Management Systems

What is this fuel management system about?

Contrary to fully integrated platforms, dedicated fuel management systems are solely focused on one aspect: The digital airplane fueling process. Accordingly, those solutions’ horizontal scope isn’t that broad —compared to a fully integrated platform— however, the vertical functionality is usually more comprehensive.

Provider

Information Design One (Product Website)

Pro’s

Three aspects to mention in that context. First, dedicated fuel management systems provide a high level of flexibility when it comes to an airline’s entire process chain. You don’t have to stick to one platform across all processes but can select the best-fit. Second, since dedicated solutions are specialized in the digital airplane fueling aspect, functionality and quality are extremely good. Third, dedicated solutions are more comfortable and faster to implement in most cases since they focus on one isolated process.

Con’s

Depending on the goals you want to achieve, some of the advantages can also turn into disadvantages. Flexibility can lead to additional efforts to align between systems and stakeholders. Additionally, if you are looking for a comprehensive tool —a big bang— dedicated fuel management systems might be not the way to go.

Fuel Provider Systems

What is this fuel management system about?

Although not that prominent, we still want to mention them in this context. Besides independent fuel management system providers, there are also fuel providers that offer fuel management systems.

From a functionality and process-coverage point-of-view, they are somewhere between fully integrated and dedicated solutions. That means they cover more processes than dedicated systems but aren’t that broad compared to fully integrated solutions. Same accounts for functionality: Probably slightly more than fully integrated but less than dedicated solutions.

Pro’s

The most significant advantage solutions provided by the fuel provider lies in the fact that you don’t have to bring in a new provider. Subsequently, there are only two parties (airline + fuel provider) involved when it comes to set up and operations.

Con’s

From our point-of-view, there’s one massive disadvantage when choosing a solution directly from a fuel provider. Actually, I would say it contradicts the idea of digital fuel management. So let’s recap quickly: The idea of digital fuel management is to bring together airlines on the one side and fuel provider on the other side. The relevance and benefits of the platform grow with every additional fuel provider. Or in other words: The more fuel provider are connected, the more airlines will use — which will lead to further fuel providers, and so on. This entire platform aspect —or call it network effect— doesn’t exist for fuel provider solutions. Period.

Fuel Management Systems — A Quick Summary

So what’s the best fuel management system? I would say there’s no answer to that question — you have to define your goals and framework first. Questions you should answer in that context are, for example:

  • Are we looking for a solution that enables digital airplane fueling or for a broader scope?
  • How do we rate flexibility when it comes to software selection?
  • Do we need to connect more than one fuel supplier?
  • Are we looking for an integrated or open platform?

Based on your answers, you should have a clear picture of the direction you go.

What Do You Think?

Always happy to get your feedback and start a discussion. Just hit me up on Twitter or get in touch on LinkedIn.

Want To Know More About Fuel Management? Here’s Where To Start!

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Future Perspective — Electronic Fueling & Digital Fueling Processes

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How Digital Fuel Management Drives An Airline’s Efficiency?

CEO

Benjamin is an information-enthusiast, a content-maniac, and CEO of Information Design (in this order). His daily business revolves around pioneering solutions with the aim to change the way companies use information. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry, and working with renowned companies all over the globe.