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Hitting the Highway with BigRoad

Excel Petroleum Transport and BigRoad

Excel Petroleum Transport , based in Lemont, Illinois, specializes in petroleum transport. With 24 trucks and 50 drivers the company offers 24/7 fuel delivery service to wholesale companies and individual stations located across six counties in the Chicago area. Excel drivers also pull ethanol product from Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin back to the Chicago market. Founded in 2000 by Kevin and Julie Bulmann, Excel has been committed since its earliest days to corporate social responsibility, with a strategy based on core value and ethics.

As part of this strategy, the company prides itself on being a “green fleet” operating in an environmentally responsible manner in order to leave the smallest carbon footprint in the communities they serve. For its efforts, Excel Petroleum Transport has earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay certification. The EPA characterizes SmartWay programs as resulting “in significant, measurable air quality and/or greenhouse gas improvements while maintaining or improving current levels of other emissions and/or pollutants.”

Excel Petroleum Large

Operating State of the Art Vehicles

“All of the vehicles we operate are state of the art, built from the ground up in accordance with the very latest emission standards,” says Excel Petroleum Transportation President, Kevin Bulmann. “In constructing our fleet, we consulted widely with industry experts, fleet managers from across the country, as well as component manufacturers to provide our drivers with the very best equipment on the market today. For instance, in a measure to improve our fuel economy, we implemented a system where the front axle will raise up if the trailer is empty.

This creates less rolling resistance, creates less tire resistance, leads to fewer tolls (because the higher axle doesn’t trigger the sensors) and improves fuel economy. We were able to take our fleet from 5.4 to 7.9 fuel economy. That’s an unbelievable 31.5 percent improvement.” Bulmann also views driver safety and personal wellbeing as an essential cornerstone of the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy.

In addition to providing its drivers with the very latest in fuel efficient vehicles, it has implemented other state of the art safety technologies, equipping every one of its vehicles with LifeGuard RollTek, which combines side airbag protection with the latest in seatbelt technology. Other safety technologies implemented by the company include Goodyear Dura Seal Technology to instantly seal tire punctures; Bendix air disc brakes providing 67% shorter stopping distance; Roll Stability Control on both truck and trailer to prevent rollovers; and Enhanced Stability Control to prevent jack knifing. The company’s safety training exceeds FMCSA requirements by 2400%.

In an industry where owner-operators battle issues surrounding driver acquisition and retention on a daily basis, Excel goes the extra mile to honor its employees with an accelerated time off opportunity, allowing drivers to earn up to one month off to spend quality time with their families.

Putting Safety and Compliance First by Partnering with BigRoad

Excel became part of the BigRoad customer family in 2013, after Kevin began a search on the internet for an electronic logging app. After a trial of the free BigRoad Web App with a subset of its drivers, Excel signed up as a customer through BigRoad’s association partner, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC).

“We recognized that it’s not just about safety in our industry. It is also about compliance,” says Jason Lowry, Excel Petroleum Transport’s Safety Director. “Electronic logs provide our drivers with the most advanced technology, and keeps everyone on the straight line. That’s good for our drivers, and it’s good for our business. All of our information related to hours of service (HOS) is accurately captured. If you are legal and in compliance, BigRoad’s got your back.”

Kevin explains that BigRoad has helped Excel communicate with its customers. “Accuracy matters in the fuel transport business. So we have equipped our trailers with a bottom sensor that verifies a trailer is fully loaded with fuel at the time of delivery. When the driver arrives at the customer destination, he pulls out his smartphone with the BigRoad app and snaps a picture of the bill of lading photo, along with a picture of the fully loaded trailer – showing the sensors are hot. He then does the same after delivery is made. If there’s any question at all about the delivery, we have a full breadcrumb trail that verifies to an owner of a wholesale company and/or the owner of an independent station there was no shortage of fuel and that the driver’s job is complete.”

Getting Rid of Paper Logs

BigRoad also provides a vital electronic paper trail that protects Excel drivers while on the road, and helps streamline DOT inspections. “If one of our drivers is involved in an incident, they can use BigRoad to take a photo of the damage, and that information is fully documented and time stamped with the vehicle’s GPS location,” says Jason. In a follow up discussion with the State Trooper after a DOT inspection Jason was complimented by the officer on BigRoad’s electronic logs. “He told me that everything was so well laid out, there was no reason to go forward with a log book review.”

Kevin is a big fan of smartphone-enabled trucking. “That’s the beauty of a smartphone. The apps are really powerful and a driver has the most advanced technology available right in his hand or in his pocket. We’re not tied to a hardware system in the truck. The equipment is not bolted to the dash.”

He’s also a fan of BigRoad. “The BigRoad electronic logs are so simple to use, so accessible, we’ve had zero pushback from our drivers. I’d urge any owner/operator not to hesitate. It truly can transform your business.”