September 18, 2020
In recent years, unforeseen events like extreme weather, geopolitical issues, and the COVID-19 pandemic have threatened to sideline or shut down businesses across the country. In some cases, they have severely disrupted fuel supply chains. When your business depends on a steady supply of propane to keep it running, you need to be confident in your choice of a propane partner. How do you ensure that you’ll have a sufficient and uninterrupted supply of propane, even when faced by spikes in demand, road or border closures, or inclement conditions?
With 70 years in the business, we’ve learned what’s important. Let’s take a closer look at the questions you should ask your supplier about how they would secure your propane supply – no matter what.
Q1: Does your propane supplier have abundant reserves?
Sometimes the demand for propane will spike, as it did in the Prairie provinces in 2018, when an early snowfall at harvest time caused a surge in crop drying for rural farmers. Demand was simply too high for some suppliers to be able to provide all their customers with the amount of fuel they needed to keep their operations going because they lacked adequate reserves.
Because Superior has multiple fuel supply sources across Canada, we can tap into them when the demand for propane surges. Our extensive storage capacity means we have stock on hand when our customers need it. This includes:
- 170 storage and distribution points
- 20 million litres stored in underground caverns
- 5 million litres in railcar storage
During this particular event, we ensured that Superior customers received a steady and sufficient fuel supply. We also provided propane to a number of new customers — farmers who were unable to secure the fuel they needed from their propane supplier.
Q2: Do they have a robust, national propane distribution network?
Having a plentiful supply of fuel is only one part of the story; the other is getting the fuel to customers, wherever and whenever it’s needed.
Typically, rail is the most efficient way to transport overland because freight trains can ship very large capacities in a single haul. In a vast country like ours, inclement weather and inaccessible transportation lines can sometimes pose problems transporting propane to customers, particularly when they are located in remote regions.
Superior Propane has developed an extensive and diversified distribution network, including major and smaller railway lines, as well as trucks, ships, pipelines, and planes. This diversity and flexibility means that when situations cause a particular route to be obstructed, we can mobilize our alternative distribution methods to get propane to our customers, even when other suppliers can’t.
When rail service could not access Churchill, Manitoba, residents could not get the propane they needed to heat their homes or cook food. Superior provided a reliable supply of the desperately needed fuel for two years, via container ships from Montréal.
In other instances, where railway line closures have prevented the shipment of goods, we’ve been able to secure massive numbers of transport trucks and drivers by deploying our fleet and supplementing them with resources from our hauling partners.
Q3: Do they have the technology to help you anticipate your propane needs?
In addition to abundant fuel stores and a robust distribution network, technology plays an increasingly important role in fuel security.
At Superior, we use advanced technologies to anticipate customer needs and work proactively to minimize disruptions.
For example, we equip customers with SMART* Tank™️ wireless technology that monitors fuel tank levels. When the fuel sensor detects that fuel has dropped to a certain level, it automatically triggers a delivery. This results in greater convenience and time savings, and the peace of mind our customers enjoy from knowing they’ll never risk running short of propane.
Superior customers also have access to the mySUPERIOR™️ portal, which provides immediate access to tank levels, billing information, and payment options. Customers can track deliveries or take a look at usage history to identify trends and find efficiencies. For even more convenience, the mySUPERIOR App gives all this information on the go, from the customer’s phone or device.
We also keep our customers well informed. If we forecast a potential situation, we communicate this to businesses so they can plan around it. During both COVID-19 and the Alberta floods in 2020, we reached out via email, phone and sales reps to tell our customers what to expect and help them plan. We operate not one, but four strategically placed call centres across Canada, which means our lines of communication are always open, in any time zone.
Q4: What is their track record, particularly in emergencies?
When a disaster or force of nature occurs, you need to know your business won’t face costly downtime because of a disruption to your propane supply.
Superior customers are confident in our ability to deliver propane undisrupted, because of our secure supply, diverse transportation capabilities, customer-focused technology, and proactive forecasting and planning.
As the only propane supplier that is truly national in scope, Superior Propane serves customers from coast to coast to coast, ensuring they have the fuel they need to operate, in good times and bad. That means our customers enjoy the peace of mind that they’ll receive a continued and ample supply of fuel for their business.
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