Shell MSO Gains Support

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Shell MSO Gains Support

By Mitch Morrison - 05/01/2003
HOUSTON -- Less than six months after announcing plans to revamp its retail network Shell Oil Products U.S. has attracted 13 operators to the oil giant's new multi-site operator (MSO) program, a move aimed at removing Shell from directly running on-site operations.

The first MSO operator, said Shell spokeswoman Anne Bryan Peebles, is Abdul Moid, a veteran Shell dealer in Chicago, who transitioned 20 sites to the MSO model earlier this week. He is among an estimated 100 multi-site operators Shell is counting on to run what has been some 1,400 company-operated retail locations.

Another operator, Bob Juckniess, president of Indianapolis-based RWJ Cos. Inc., also made the switch. "What Shell has done is properly position the Shell brand to take advantage of obvious inefficiencies in the operation of gasoline convenience stores," he told CSNews Online through a Shell spokeswoman. "The MSO operator will take advantage of these inefficiencies and utilize them to his/her benefit both financially and operationally."

He added, "The MSO program will revolutionize the future of convenience stores operations and further improve the experience customers have at Shell branded locations. The improved customer experience, will allow me to increase my profitability and offer continued employment to a number of team members."

Shell, under the former retail arms of Motiva, Equiva and Equilon, had been slammed in recent years by its dealer and jobber network for scores of bureaucratic inefficiencies.

Looking to build a closer relationship with its retail network while slashing corporate costs, Shell recently launched a strategic initiative to sack certain retail classes in favor of MSO. Under this new offering, Shell retains control of the gasoline island, while the retailer -- typically a jobber or dealer -- operates other assets, including convenience stores, car washes and quick-service restaurants. The retailer, who assumes responsibility over payroll, also receives a maintenance fee from Shell to oversee the pumps.