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06/07/2021

Pilot Flying J Uses Artificial Intelligence to Boost Fuel Margin Accuracy

The travel center operator hopes to increase its revenues by $750,000 annually.
Pilot travel center

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J hopes to increase its revenues by $750,000 annually with emerging technology solutions.

The travel center operator tapped Infor's Infor Coleman Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to help boost its fuel margin accuracy to 99.99 percent.

Prior to using AI and ML, the company's finance team spent five days a month closing the books and a sixth day making sure there were no errors in fuel margins. According to David Clothier, vice president of finance, treasurer and controller for Pilot Flying J, the company sells roughly 7.5 billion gallons of gas per year. With those numbers, a 1-cent error can have a significant impact on business, he said.

Pilot Flying J had already deployed an Infor multi-tenant cloud ERP system, so Clothier took advantage of its pre-integrated data, analytic, AI and ML capabilities to look for errors in the fuel category.  

In less than 90 days, Pilot Flying J's AI application was tested, validated and operationalized. The Infor cloud ERP system calculated and updated data automatically — and anomalies were available to the travel center operator's finance team in an Infor Birst analytic dashboard, according to New York-based Infor.

"We didn't have to purchase any additional software to create an innovative service to deliver to our finance team," Clothier said. "We leveraged the technology we already had to help solve a business problem. There's very little incremental cost, so the ROI is fantastic."

In addition to fuel margins, Clothier plans to use Infor Coleman AI to help optimize Pilot Flying J's workforce scheduling. With detailed, time-stamped data at the item and store level, Pilot Flying J expects to be able to predict the next 13 weeks of sales revenue, down to the department level, according to Clothier.

These predictions can be fed into the workforce management system to help optimize scheduling.

Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J has more than 750 locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces.