“xTrade makes it possible for us to integrate central pricing functions with stations, pumps and signs, in a secure and traceable manner.”
OKQ8 has 2800 stations, both manned and automated, in Sweden and Denmark. In 2014, a decision was made to expand communications via xTrade, which had previously handled financial integration between central systems and stations, so that they would now include real-time fuel pricing. Fuel pricing is key in a field as fiercely competitive as the fuel industry.
– There was a desire to utilize the secure channel for all stations that xTrade offered, and thereby have a homogeneous communication system, whether for central or local price changes, price reports or pump discounts.
Price management for pumps and signs is a critical process for OKQ8. It is necessary to guarantee an ordering and prioritization of messages, and there is also a high demand for traceability so that it will be possible to guarantee and check that each step of pricing is carried out in the correct order. For example, changing of price signs before the pumps can be updated with a price change.
OKQ8 manages pricing for four separate fuel companies, which means that prices must be managed in a sealed, compartmentalized manner between different, competing chains. xTrade’s unique and defense-accredited security came in very useful in resolving this critical problem.
The central xTrade system at OKQ8 is configured so as to communicate with all stations via binary information. The pricing system connects to xTrade and sends a new price to a given station or group of stations, independently of whether this is a central pricing change or a local price war. xTrade handles the flow of business so that all signs and pumps are changed in the right order, and reports and confirms all steps back to the pricing mechanism.
The pricing mechanism generates an automatic configuration in xTrade and changes in station address information are input directly from OKQ8’s station registry to xTrade via xTrade’s external API.
With xTrade, it is possible to track each individual step in the process, and if any pump is not updated, this can result in an alarm for steps to be taken by the appropriate personnel. xTrade can also guarantee that prices are not set by any unauthorized persons, and can validate the legitimacy of both central and locally-requested price changes.
When the same platform is used for both traditional business integration and technical integration, only one link to each respective station is needed. Aside from the cost advantages, this greatly simplifies matters for OKQ8 staff, as they do not need to manage several different systems.
Having security, queue management and process management all set up with xTrade simplifies the solution considerably. Implementing the process did not require any development at all – it was simply a matter of configuring the platform. This also provides advantages such as clarity and transparency, which is especially important when there are four cooperating but competing companies that use the same solution.
– It is always good when a business manager can see how the business process is configured, and understand what is going on. Traditional integration platforms, where a developer does the coding, lead to a situation where only those who have been specially familiarized can understand what is going on, which does not work for OKQ8.
Investment in OKQ8 introducing a central price-management function became simply a matter of configuring the new flows in xTrade with respect to the integration between central systems and all the stations.
Aside from the integration of the systems above, there was the application for pricing and background ERP systems. These can now more easily be expanded with additional functions for a dynamic and fast-moving market, as xTrade takes care of secure and traceable transportation of information between them and other systems.