Mansfield Oil, based in Gainesville, Ga., has been established in the industry since 1957. The company markets in 49 states and moves over two billion gallons of product per year out of 900 terminals. Mansfield has supply arrangements that touch approximately 6,000 sites. About 20 percent of its business involves supplying retail customers such as local dealers, grocery operations (including a relationship with IGA) and retail sites at military facilities. About 30 percent of its business involves government entities such as servicing transit and municipalities. Mansfield supplies about 700 school districts, 400 counties (and up to the state level) as well Department of Defense contracts. The remaining 50 percent of the company’s business involves large commercial and industrial customers.
“I’m not really sure how you would characterize us,” said Douglas S. Haugh, Mansfield’s executive vice president and CIO. “We are certainly not a jobber and we are not a refiner – I think independent fuel supplier is close. There are a lot of things that jobbers do that we do not do. We don't run local tankwagons, and we don't run local bulk plants, but we do work with lots of jobbers who do those things. We work with those guys to grow their business.”
From a supply standpoint, Mansfield does not operate on a rack/market basis. The company works with refiners to distribute barrels to end users, often in conjunction with a local marketer. “The reason we do that is that we want to be that preferred destination, or home, for those barrels on the refiners’ basis and not be seen as someone who takes their product and then goes and competes with them at the rack,” said Haugh. “Why would they give us the best deal on refined product if we are just going to go and take it and club them over the head with it on the rack market where they are trying to make money.”
Commercial and Industrial Customers
Mansfield focuses on national accounts, with a preference for Fortune 500 and similar scale companies. Fuel logistics, while critical for these companies, is an operational expense and not a profit center. Mansfield looks to take the headaches away while improving the bottom line in the process. “If a customer has 300 locations in 25 states they can call 10 different refiners and 50 jobbers, or they can call us and we will handle all of the logistics – all of the distribution and all of the supply,” Haugh said. “On a commodity basis we will be as competitive as anybody, but we've really built the business on the service side.”
The company provides full environmental management and fuel inventory controls for shrink reduction. Should managing a carbon footprint become an issue in the future, Mansfield is set up to help its customers in that regard.
These capabilities carry over to the government/municipal side. For South Carolina, Mansfield installed 140 fueling facilities (using the best of the existing municipal locations) tied into a unified access and accounting system like that found with a card lock network. “The state now has its own retail network, and it all runs together serving about 240 agencies,” Haugh said. “So if I'm running Parks and Recreation for Greenville, South Carolina, I can log in and get a report for all my vehicles no matter where they filled up.”
Technology plays a huge role in Mansfield’s commercial business. ”Those large Fortune 500 companies do not want to receive paper invoices, and we pipe it all into their SAP or Oracle or PeopleSoft or whatever they're running from a procurement and accounting standpoint and it's all automated,” Haugh said. “And frankly, almost nobody else in our industry is doing that.”
Marketers and Retailers
Although the retail gasoline side is a relatively small part of the Mansfield portfolio it serves an important purpose and the company maintains an interest in working with dealers on a market by market (and brand/market) basis. Mansfield also offers its “Solo” brand for clients, such as a grocery chain, that want a branded fuel product, but not one linked to the store name.
“We move a lot of gasoline on the commercial and the industrial side, and we want to be in the retail space to make sure that we move enough gasoline so that we are competitive in all the markets we operate in,” Haugh said. “And we move both sides of the barrel for the refiners to help our business relationships.”
Mansfield will also help set up turnkey retail fueling clients such as independent grocers that might operate 20 to 200 stores. This involves everything from initial permitting to construction.
From a marketer standpoint, Mansfield is primarily interested from a services standpoint. First, the company is looking for partners to help support its national accounts with tankwagon and mobile fueling services. Second, while the company typically takes care of fuel supply it looks for distributors with a common carrier business to help facilitate that supply. “We try to give our distributors all the business we can in a local area because we want them to be successful,” said Haugh.
From the tankwagon and services perspective, Mansfield offers its “DeliveryONE” packaged program for marketers. “Basically, we can sit down with a jobber and say we have 25 national accounts in your city and we may be doing most of their volume, but 20 percent of that volume may be tankwagon business,” Haugh said. “We might have 10 or 12 tankwagon customers we can give you in this market. We may have 10 guys that need mobile refueling wet hosing services, and we want to work with you on that. We may have “X” number of customers on our cold flow program that need additive supply or DEF. Ultimately, all of these accounts have to be serviced with a local distributor, and our function is to run the network so that our customers get single settlement.”
On the flipside, distributors that work with Mansfield can use its programs for their own customers. For example, a marketer gets access to Mansfield's winter cold flow program without having to develop a similar program in house. The relationship also provides a greater volume savings on additive costs. The distributors might or might not buy fuel from Mansfield for their own operations, but Mansfield is prepared to provide fuel supply should a jobber find it cost effective.
“We believe that distributors that embrace our relationship, and what we can bring to the table, are offered a pipeline of continuing new business,” Haugh said. “I can hearken back to my Exxon days in 1995 where I was working hard every quarter to bring (our distributors) new programs and solutions and new stuff to sell and new ways to package it and marketing support, but there is just not a lot of that done anymore. But there still is a need for it.”