Stock taking is recognised by accountants and stores managers as a safe means of keeping track of stock, it is inconceivable to imagine a modern store that cannot account accurately for stock.
Indeed, stock control is considered to be so important many businesses use it to keep an eye on stationary levels and it is therefore pertinent to ask why some businesses adopt a more relaxed approach to wet fuel stock?
One of the issues with wet stock in bulk storage is the difficulty of taking accurate measurements. Moreover, fuel has a tendency to evaporate as well as grow and shrink in volume during changes of temperature - in stark contrast to physical stocks of goods.
As stored fuel is sensitive to rising and falling temperatures and evaporates, the key to controlling stock is by comparing its actual volume against a calculated stock level, which is possible with the right equipment.
A reconciliation system needs a means for measuring the volume of fuel in storage; the volume of fuel that is being dispensed, and nothing more than pen and paper as basic stock level management can be achieved with the aide of a dip-stick or simple tank gauge and fuel dispensing pump equipped with a volumetric meter and a non-resettable register.
Admittedly, stock management with such basic equipment is unlikely to be particularly accurate, although it will provide operators with a simple method for reconciling liquid fuel stock - and the comfort of security.
To reconcile stock, an operator will typically establish a starting-point stock level and read from the fuel pump’s non-resettable register.
Using a chart, the operator will record stock movements daily; including deliveries into the storage tank, and fuel dispensed through the pump.
The operator will thus be able to track the calculated - or 'book stock' value, against the tank gauge, and monittor any differences to identify potentially significant issues.
Modern tank gauging systems
Although modern tank gauging systems provide a more accurate indication of stock levels than dip-sticks, they function using the same process.
Table: Simple Stock Calculation
The table shows an example of a simple stock calculation using data from a fictitious site. It demonstrates the above technique without focusing on data analysis (although readers should take note of the data in Column 1, 'Difference' as it shows that the comparison between tank stock level and book stock fluctuates as a result of errors in tank gauges or fuel pump meters; fluctuationsin termperature, and other influences.
We can see from the results that there is no trend towards fuel loss as the value in Column 1 remains relatively constant rather than entering into negative territory.
Non-fuel theft and leak-related reasons for negative readings include poor pump calibration and faulty gauges
Above all, the table demonstrates how easy it is to implement a stock reconciliation regime.