Annual Cargas Energy Summit

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The 13th annual Cargas Energy Summit was held virtually this year for the second time in its history. This format allowed energy customers and partners from across the country to safely participate in educational sessions, get a sneak-peek at upcoming features, and connect with one another.

A total of 337 people registered for the event, and 207 logged on and participated in at least one of our Cargas or partner-led sessions.  

Over the past few decades, and particularly during the pandemic, companies across many industries have come to understand the importance of business technology. In his keynote presentation, VP Aaron Cargas discussed the origins of one vital piece of technology—the information system. In his presentation, he charted its development and compared the original version to modern iterations like Cargas Energy.

The story begins at the start of World War II when government employee Tex Thornton joined the U.S. Air Force. At the time, the Air Force did not have any reliable methods for managing inventory and logistics, with “planes, pilots, and parts of planes strewn all over the world.” As military operations rapidly expanded during the war, Tex Thornton stepped in with plans for a system to organize and share information.

Keep in mind there was no such thing as an “information system” at the time. What Thornton built—a network of teletype machines, punch cards, IBM accounting machines, and a slew of handwritten reports and charts—became the basis for this generation’s high-tech and real-time data systems. Thornton’s system saved more than $1 billion in parts procurement, reduced grounded planes from 12% to 3%, and cut munitions procurement by $3.6 billion.

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After successfully implementing his information system into the Air Force, Thornton and several of his team members—known as the “Whiz Kids”—received jobs at Ford Motor Company. Henry Ford II, the newly-promoted head of the business, responded positively to Thornton’s unsolicited request for employment.

By implementing the information system that Thornton and the Whiz Kids developed, Ford Motor Company went from losing millions each month to turning a profit. Seven of the ten Whiz Kids who joined the Ford team went on to be executives at the company, and thus the era of modern corporations was ushered in. 

Cargas used Thornton’s story as an allegory for today. Just as the Air Force needed a system to juggle planes, pilots, and parts, the fuel industry needs software to handle trucks, drivers, and inventory. And, despite the rudimentary technology used in the first information system, the elements and the roles they play are near-identical to what users experience in software like Cargas Energy.

Since the era of Thornton and the Whiz Kids, information systems have become software-based and shifted from peripheral tools to fully realized and centralized solutions. Nowadays, such software is paramount to maintaining operational efficiency, promoting employee engagement, and supporting end customers. The presentations made at this year’s Energy Summit explored these three themes, covering the latest quality of life improvements and offering exciting sneak previews for Cargas Energy customers.

As businesses become busier and customers require more specialized care, companies streamlined operations wherever possible. Cargas Energy has done its part to help with improvements to the following:

Routing Modules

Tank Monitor Integrations

Dashboarding for Business Insights

Product Management Focus for Delivery Operations

Employee Engagement

The Cargas Energy team understands that software users have valuable insight into what does and does not work with a given software module. So, Cargas took time this year to interview users and gather ideas for small software improvements to make the day better. Cargas Energy has seen 30 small improvements since last year, many of which focus on boosting quality of life. While these updates have been minor, they add up to deliver a smoother experience for users.

During his keynote presentation, Aaron Cargas said, “We want to continue to work on the software that impacts your end-customer.” Recent consumer-focused changes have brought a product management focus to payments, the service module, and customer service as a whole. Communication capabilities now include a texting module and the potential for a Salesforce integration.

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