4 mins

Breakthrough Moments | Arguing Over the Last Decimal Point

Kathryn Pritzl


Kathryn Pritzl
August 21, 2018


Experiencing A Breakthrough

Attention to detail distinguishes the exceptional from the average. While this attention looks drastically different between organizations, teams, and even team members, it often involves thinking like the people you serve – your clients— and viewing challenges from their point of view. By viewing a potential interaction or outcome from their perspective, it is easier to provide a more tailored and helpful client experience overall.

At Breakthrough, attention to detail is a hallmark of our brand experience, one which distinguishes us in the industry. We treat every client as a Client of One, creating solutions that fit their specific needs. Each client is unique, so the solutions we create are one size fits one.

Part of this tailored approach to fuel management involves frequent communication between different Breakthrough teams, who work together to make sure that a client’s data and strategic plan align to create savings. Because our clients interact the most with our client services team, they often don’t directly witness the rest of the organization that operates behind the scenes on their behalf. These dynamic team interactions illustrate how we think collectively as an organization and have inspired a few breakthrough moments as well.

A short time after Andy Martinelli, Breakthrough’s Director of Data Science, started on the team, one such conversation drove home how important this communication is. During his very first meeting with Jenny VanderZanden, Vice President of Fuel Recovery, he discovered how closely Breakthrough pays attention to detail, right down to the exact decimal point.

“This moment stands out to me because I hadn’t worked with Jenny yet, and she called me to her office to discuss base rates” Martinelli says. “I assumed we were going to discuss some major change to our process. “

While it was a change that would be significant to Breakthrough clients, it wasn’t something obvious.

“When I got there, Jenny said, in typical fast-Jenny talk, ‘Hey Andy, I notice the team is reporting base rates to the third decimal. This isn’t how our clients think about base rates. They only think about it in two decimals.’ I stared at her waiting for more. No more came.”

Having extensive experience working through implementation plans and supporting clients, VanderZanden knew that just one decimal position would make a difference, given how they typically send and receive data.

“Always keeping the client perspective in mind, I wanted to ensure that our client presentations aligned with how they talk about base rates,” says VanderZanden. “While there’s a fine line between $1.199 and $1.200, every fraction of a penny matters.”

Small observations can have big implications, especially when you’re dealing with data representing the millions of gallons and miles that clients record every day for Fuel Recovery.  With her desire to see things from her clients’ points of view, VanderZanden was cognizant of this.

“$0.001 adds up quickly on millions of gallons of fuel reimbursed each year on Fuel Recovery”, she says, “that last decimal point was an important consideration in my mind!”

Here at Breakthrough, our success and the success of our clients are one and the same. From the innovative solutions we provide, to actively following energy market trends, to ensuring that our technology serves the needs of both our clients and our team, we pay attention to the often-overlooked details that matter. In doing this, we create competitive advantages and define the market position in managing energy and information.

According to Martinelli, this interaction showed him just how central this is to Breakthrough’s core values, and how serious our team members are about it.

“That brief discussion shed so much light on how Jenny thinks” he says, “and how much Breakthrough pays attention to detail… but mostly how Jenny thinks.”

To learn more about how Breakthrough can provide solutions for your organization, please contact us.