The information age’s effects on business

January 25, 2019 By    

The technology industry is one of the most vibrant areas of business in the U.S. Somewhere around 2012, the economy shifted from the traditional industrial age to a new digital age due to its dependency on technology. This new historical period also is known as the information age.

The definition of what “digital” and “information” mean, exactly, continues to change over time as new technology is introduced. What we do know is that there is no turning back from the use of information technology. Many businesses rely and depend upon user information they are able to draw from such technology.

“Nowadays with technology, most people – millennials and anyone else – they want to be able to look at their phone and gather all of their information, and project information the same way,” says Frank Edwards, general manager at Ohio-based Linden’s Propane, an EDP company.

When used how it’s designed, technology can save businesses time and money. Propane retailers at the recent LP Gas Growth Summit shared how technology in the propane industry is doing just that.

Nicole Sullivan, senior vice president at Anderson Propane Service in Fredericksburg, Virginia, is one of many retailers who now use propane tank monitoring systems to optimize their businesses.

“Like a lot of people here, we’ve implemented tank monitoring, and that’s been really beneficial for delivery efficiency,” Sullivan says. “We’re constantly reinvesting into [back-office software] and making sure we’re getting the most out of [that] product as well.”

North Carolina-based Ormond Energy also uses tank monitors, according to President Rodney Ormond, and is looking to deploy more in the near future.

“There are some delivery efficiency issues we’re trying to tackle,” Ormond says.

While that technology is being used to communicate vital information to a business’ operations team, others are using technology to communicate with their customers.

“I’m currently looking into having an app that would be able to communicate between the customer base and us, and it could be between orders, tank percentages – just a user-friendly app that customers can [use to] speak with us,” Edwards says.

There also are many uses for technology in the cylinder exchange business.

Sina Zarei says Louisiana-based Vacherie Fuel always is looking for ways to incorporate technology to automate processes. The cylinder exchange process is extremely labor intensive, according to Zarei, who is the company’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.

“It’s one of the exciting things I’m trying to take away from [the Growth Summit],” Zarei says, “because I know there are a lot of vendors that could help provide those solutions.”

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