FAQ: What do Shippers Need to Know About Fuel Recovery?


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Hear Matt Balzola, Vice President of Go-To-Market, discuss prospective clients’ most burning questions. Matt has helped many clients adopt a Fuel Recovery program, reducing fuel cost, consumption, and emissions along the way. Here he has helped us answer key questions that may arise along the road to becoming a Breakthrough client.

Q: How are Breakthrough Fuel Recovery prices calculated?

A: To understand how Fuel Recovery is calculated, it’s important to compare to the traditional way shippers calculate fuel reimbursements. Typically, shippers use an index-based fuel price as an input to their fuel surcharge schedule. Most commonly we see the Department of Energy’s National Diesel Fuel Price Index (DOE Index) in shippers’ strategies.

This price is a poor representation of fuel prices across the country because fuel prices vary over time and by location. Taking an average across the country dilutes the fuel price volatility carriers experience on individual lanes.

Instead of relying on an index, Fuel Recovery prices the fuel incurred on every lane, every day. Fuel Recovery pulls data from thousands of fueling locations across the US. Comparatively, the DOE Index only uses a few hundred. Our calculations account for price variability, taxes by state, time of movement, and geographic variance.

For every route your freight travels, we calculate the cost of fuel within a five-mile radius. That way, you pay the actual price for the fuel that moves your goods to market, not a national average.

Over millions of miles, even the slightest variability in price adds up. Breakthrough was founded on the principles of accuracy and fairness. Fuel Recovery calculates the price of fuel on every movement, every day across truckload and intermodal modes of transport.

Read more about our Fuel Recovery calculation here

Q: Who else in the transportation and supply chain marketplace utilizes Breakthrough’s services?

A: We work with leading supply chain executives and teams from a variety of industries across North America. Since our founding in 2004, our client base has become robust. Over time with greater adoption, market-based fuel reimbursements are becoming an industry best practice.

Breakthrough’s 16 million annual shipments cover more than 7 billion miles and over 1 billion gallons across North America. Fair and accurate reimbursements provide benefits to clients of every size. We have clients who move thousands of shipments per day, and some who move several hundred. It’s a practice your organization can believe in and support regardless of size.

Q: How should we facilitate change management within our organization and with carriers?

A: Breakthrough clients will tell you that implementing a market-based fuel program meets their strategic and operational goals. Our team of experts works closely with clients to develop a comprehensive change management plan. Getting your internal team up to speed shouldn’t be a hurdle to operationalizing fair and accurate reimbursements. Our training and connectivity processes ensure that implementation is seamless.

We also know that communication with carriers is important for shippers at this stage in the process. Breakthrough works with a large portion of Transport Topics’ Top 100 Truckload Carriers, Top 20 Brokers, and Top 15 Intermodal providers. Additionally, Breakthrough clients made up 14 of the top 25 Shippers of Choice awards as reported by FreightWaves in 2019. This is indicative of healthy carrier relationships despite shippers’ use of Fuel Recovery.

In addition, Breakthrough works with providers of all sizes. Our extensive database contains thousands of carrier SCAC Codes that already fit into your network. For most new clients an overwhelming number of their carriers are already using Breakthrough with other shippers.

With the right approach, change management becomes less of a pain point. Most carriers understand the value of fair and accurate fuel reimbursements. Clients who employ a data-based implementation and education plan see little pushback from carriers.

Q: What technology requirements are needed to implement Fuel Recovery?

A: Breakthrough ensures all interested parties receive fuel specific to your shipment data in a timely fashion. Our technology communicates with any TMS currently being used by your organization. We can also process multiple different file transfer mechanisms and many of these are already integrated with current Breakthrough clients.

Further, we can accommodate diverse file configurations. We want to save you from having to resource development time to conform to our data standards. Breakthrough translates your file format to meet our data requirements for a seamless information transfer. You’ll see minimal change to your daily processes on the technology side with Fuel Recovery.

Q: What opportunities are available beyond year one?

A: Once your Fuel Recovery program is operational, we have data and insights to input into a new strategic roadmap. Breakthrough offers a suite of fuel and freight management solutions beyond Fuel Recovery. Our data-based approach keeps our clients on the cutting edge of the industry. These solutions work together to give you the most comprehensive energy management strategy possible.

Read more about them on our solutions page!

Fuel Recovery is just the beginning, and clients realize continuous improvement year over year as their relationship with Breakthrough deepens. The more data we process, the more opportunity we uncover. It’s really exciting to tackle a new relationship and see how far we can take your organization’s energy management.

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