For over 25 years, 4Refuel Canada LP has been delivering fuel directly to its customers – a process known as mobile on-site refuelling – and creating a legacy by pioneering the industry in Canada.
Throughout the years, 4Refuel has supported thousands of companies: saving them time and money by delivering fuel for their fleet and equipment directly to site, improving efficiencies and productivity and eliminating the need for inefficient trips to fuelling stations.
In 2019, 4Refuel was purchased by Finning International Inc., the world’s largest Caterpillar dealer, and continues to grow. Today, they are North America’s largest last mile mobile on-site refueller with locations from coast-to-coast across Canada and in all major Texas markets, servicing more than 6,000 customers.
Putting Customers First
There has always been a culture of customer service within 4Refuel. This was apparent early in the company’s history and illustrated shortly after expanding into the Ontario market in 1997, when the company was set to make its first delivery but found that their trucks had been vandalized overnight and were undrivable.
Rather than missing the delivery, using a little ingenuity, 4Refuel was able to come through and make a lasting impression on the customer.
“It was important to us that we didn’t miss that delivery and we got it done,” says Joe Valeriote, 4Refuel’s Chief Commercial Officer and one of the company’s early employees.
“The customer knew the lengths we had gone through to make the delivery and wrote us a letter of appreciation for getting the job done. I still have a copy of it.”
This commitment to customer service continues today as 4Refuel provides services to its customers on a 24/7, 365 days a year basis. The company’s customer service team is also accessible 24/7 every day.
“We are a strategic partner to our customers and an integral part of their operational effectiveness. Ensuring availability to our customers gives them peace of mind knowing that if they need to reach us for any reason, anytime, they can,” says Larry Rodo, 4Refuel’s President & CEO.
It’s this type of culture and customer service that has given 4Refuel its reputation as a leader in the industry.
And the company has been recognized for its efforts, receiving multiple industry awards over the years for safety performance, business management and human resources practices.
Awards include Canada’s Best Managed Companies, Canada’s Safest Employers, Best Small and Medium Employers and Top Fleet Employer.
What has always differentiated 4Refuel is its fuel management technology and customer-centric operating model. While providing on-site value for its customers, 4Refuel learned that customers were having trouble managing their fuel. It was an administrative nightmare and very inefficient.
To further assist customers, 4Refuel created Fuel Management Online, a proprietary customer fuel management portal that houses all customer fuel purchasing details – from coast-to-coast, in one central location.
The company’s Operations Management System provides to-the-second routing information to make sure that 4Refuel’s fleet is following through on its commitments and on-time delivery.
“What has really set 4Refuel apart from our competition has been our consistent quality, unmatched geographical reach, having the industry’s largest solution-focused sales team, and our continued investment in technology,” says Rodo.
“Whether it’s Fuel Management Online, which is designed to help our customers track and manage their fuel, or our internal Operations Management System, we’ve invested in technology to continue to provide value added services to all stakeholders further enhancing our service capabilities,” says James Lee, 4Refuel’s Chief Innovation Officer.
“We understand that the service we provide our customers is mission critical. Without fuel, they aren’t generating revenue, so we need to be there for our customers when we say we will be there. In other words, failure is not an option.”
Servicing Customers Through a Pandemic and Natural Disasters
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the demand for 4Refuel’s services became even more important due to the simple nature of their business: 4Refuel’s service is contactless and they deliver fuel to customers during their downtime.
This has helped customers focus on productivity and reduce concerns about potentially exposing employees to the virus.
4Refuel, being an essential service itself, helped to fuel many critical and essential services during the pandemic: from COVID-19 test centres and hospital generators to communication towers and other service providers.
“We are so proud to have been able to fuel so many essential services like hospitals, COVID-19 test centres and first responders,” says Rodo.
4Refuel was also able to support many companies in the transportation industry, which are critical to stocking store shelves with food, water and personal protective equipment – especially in the early part of the pandemic when panic buying became a growing concern across Canada.
“This pandemic helped us to see who the real heroes are,” says Rodo. “They are healthcare workers and first responders, as well as truck drivers and operations personnel that help keep the supply chain running.”
Even though COVID-19 came with a learning curve, as it did for most companies, 4Refuel is no stranger to dealing with disasters.
The company has responded to many natural disasters over the years, including the ice storm in 1997, Ontario blackout in 2003, Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016 and flood in 2020, Hurricane Harvey and Irma in 2017, and the recent Texas winter storm in February 2021.
In January 2021, 4Refuel was called to assist Kingston Fire & Rescue in Verona, ON, where a devastating fire broke out at a seniors’ home. 4Refuel allowed the fire trucks to stay on-site to complete their important work without having to leave to refuel – helping to ensure that all lives were saved.
“The economy runs on fuel and in times of crisis, fuel supply is critical. We use our network and supply relationships to ensure fuel gets to where it’s needed during crises or emergencies,” says Rodo. “We’ve developed quite a track record and I believe it really stems from having strong plans and a great team that wants to help out and has the expertise to get the job done for our customers.”
A Culture of Safety
Environment, Health & Safety continues to be a top priority for 4Refuel.
The company invests significantly in safety programs like defensive driving training, ergonomics assessments and hazardous materials training to help with driver safety and accident prevention. That’s in addition to back-up cameras, dash cameras, automatic shutoff valves, pneumatic safety rails and steel braided hoses – standard tools that makes 4Refuel’s fleet the most high-tech and safest in the industry.
“We believe that we have the safest trucks on the road. Our equipment and technology far exceed the minimum safety standard,” says 4Refuel’s Director of Fleet, Keith Lamb.
All of this has contributed to improving the company’s safety metrics.
“Our job is not only to make sure that our employees go home safe every day, it’s also our duty to ensure the health and safety of our customers and their employees, as well as the communities
we serve,” says Rodo.
From an environmental perspective, the company plays a crucial role in helping its customers manage, track and control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By bringing one truck on-site to refuel an entire fleet, versus each truck driving to a refuelling station, the company’s business model helps reduce overall carbon emissions.
“Without a baseline measurement, companies can’t reduce emissions. We provide them with an overall picture of their fuel usage so they can use it to manage, control and ultimately reduce GHG emissions,” says Rodo.
It’s providing this invaluable information to companies that is drawing interest from their sustainability office, rather than their procurement office, and changing the conversation from fuel supply to carbon reduction.
The company has been recognized by its customers and suppliers for its safety performance, service and return on investment. Coca-Cola gave 4Refuel the Supplier of the Year Award in 2019 and they have also been recognized numerous times for their safety performance by
Shell Canada, Texas Mutual Insurance
and Federated/Northbridge Insurance.
Our partnership with the PMTC
4Refuel has been involved with the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) for many years. The company won the PMTC Vehicle Graphics Design Award for Night-Time Safety in 2008 and through the PMTC, became aware of and took part in the Trucking HR Canada’s Top Fleet Employers Program in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, Lamb joined the PMTC Board of Directors.
“I’ve spent the vast majority of my career, more than 34 years, in the fleet industry and this was a way for me to share my expertise with others in the field,” says Lamb. “I just wanted to give back in some small way.”
25 Years of exceptional service
2020 marked 4Refuel’s 25th year in business and an opportunity to reflect on a quarter century of milestones and successes.
“We have such a rich and proud history and have had so many wonderful accomplishments over the past 25 years,” says Rodo. “We’ve been able to change customer behaviour because they saw the value in what we do and we’ve evolved together. We’ve effectively created an industry.”
While the past 25 years have seen 4Refuel grow from a two-truck operation to North America’s largest on-site fuel provider, the next 25 years are poised for even greater growth
“We are constantly researching new innovations to understand what products and services our customers are looking for or are going to need, both today and in the future,” said Rodo. “We are learning a lot about energy transition and electrification in our industry and our approach is to always remain on the leading edge of advancement to ensure we can provide our customers with what they need to be successful. We are so proud of how far we have come over the past 25 years and we are even more excited about the next 25 years.”
To learn more about 4Refuel and its service offerings, visit www.4refuel.com.