ReedGas Propane Co.

January 1, 2008 By    

When computer programs streamlined for propane companies hit the market, ReedGas chose its own route. Instead of buying another company’s product for its in-house programming, the southwest Louisiana propane business built its own from scratch.

It hired two programmers to construct a system that provides ultimate flexibility and the basis for ReedGas’ claims that it’s an “up-to-date” company.

ReedGas Propane Solutions is the software that took eight years to implement and, with the help of longtime ReedGas employee Sylvia Fontenot, was finished in 2005. It incorporates sales from all company divisions to create one bill per customer and helps with the overall management of accounts receivable.

“This program is unique to our industry by allowing us to conduct all aspects of our business – from marketing to routing to sales forecasting to billing,” says John McManus, president and CEO of ReedGas. “You name it – we can do it.”

ReedGas used the software to learn that 70 percent of its customers had electric water heaters. Knowing whom to target, it launched a marketing campaign that highlighted propane for water heating and, in doing so, reversed the numbers: 70 percent now have propane water heaters, McManus says.

ReedGas relies on the program heavily for routing purposes, using information from degree-days to help keep customers’ tanks full. The company also stays “up to date” by replacing trucks every seven to nine years, offering its 24-hour computerized refueling service (GasKard 24) and keeping customers informed through a comprehensive Web site.

McManus, 46, and his wife, Miki, are third-generation owners of ReedGas. Miki’s father, Lony Reed, and grandfather, L.M. Reed, also ran the company that L.M. started in 1935. Lony remains chairman of the board.

With headquarters in Eunice, 80 miles west of Baton Rouge, ReedGas sells most of its propane to residential customers for home heating, water heating, drying clothes and cooking. Its accounts range in size from a 120-gallon tank at a hunting camp to two 1,000-gallon underground tanks on a 12,000-square-foot property.

Even with a handful of independent competitors in the region and the major oil companies surrounding it, ReedGas stands the test of time.

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