Co-op News > September 2020 > Change is Good

Change is Good

Sep 03, 2020

September Update

I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer. I spent almost 3 weeks training with the Army Reserve in late July and August. During our time at Ft. McCoy we were tasked with getting certified on the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) so that we can test others in our unit and we also went to the rifle range to qualify using the Army’s new Marksman Qualification Test. I’m 58 years old. The word ‘new’ to me doesn’t necessarily trip my trigger (no pun intended). I’ve been doing the same physical fitness and marksmanship tests since 1983 and they’ve been working just fine for me, so why change?

Change can cause anxiety but it often makes our lives easier and more efficient. Take for example how we used to deliver propane when I first started in the propane industry in 1991. Our delivery people would use route books to keep track of the last time a customer’s tank was filled and the next time they would need a delivery. Everyone had their own system so if a delivery person left the cooperative it was a struggle for their replacement to decipher their way of doing things. Now we have computer programs and routing software to assist the delivery folks in getting propane to our customers in a timely manner. We are also investing in monitors that give us a real time reading of the volume of propane in the tank using cell phone technology. Eventually my goal is to have the majority of our tanks monitored.

Our propane delivery folks have also benefited from new technology. They used to make 3 trips to the tank. First to the tank to hook it up, back to the truck to engage the pump, then to the tank to monitor the fill, back to the the truck to shut the pump off, then to the tank to unhook the delivery hose, and finally back to the truck to roll up the hose. Like a human ping pong ball. Now the drivers can start the pump at the tank using a handheld control, monitor how much propane they are putting in on a screen on the handheld control and shut it off when full. This saves a lot of effort, especially when there is a lot of snow.

Our new trucks also have some new features such as collision alarms and backup cameras. These are a nice addition to add another level of safety to our deliveries. The loading fittings are more ergonomic to help reduce injuries to our delivery personnel. The newer trucks have larger tanks so that we will cut the miles driven annually, which reduces wear and tear on both the trucks and our roads.

The investments we have made in technology and safety cost money but will make us more efficient and create a safer environment. I have made requests for fixed assets this year numbering in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without your support we would not be able to make those expenditures. Thank you.

addison-900x600.jpgPremier Cooperative provides Wisconsin members with over 15.7 million gallons of propane each year!

To put that number into perspective, the bulk plant pictured behind our Energy Specialist Addison holds 18,000 gallons. We'd need to fill that very tank over 872 times to provide our members with the agricultural, residential, and commercial LP applications that they depend on throughout the year.

If you’re wondering how the training worked out, it turns out that the apprehension I felt over the new Army tests was wasted emotion. I found the physical training test had more events but nothing that I couldn’t handle. The rifle qualification was more complicated but I actually liked the additional challenges. I hit 35 out of 40 targets, which was the highest score in my unit. Not too bad for an old guy. An added bonus was that the training was fun.

Thank you for your business and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Tim Lease

Division Manager

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