Taking the stress out of fuel management for Fairfields Farm

Read how we helped provide peace of mind to keep productivity high through reliable fuel supply below.

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Fairfields Farm is a shining example of an entrepreneurial success story within the UK agricultural industry. Owned by husband and wife team, Robert and Laura Strathern, the farm harvests potatoes, maize and rye on farmland across the Colne Valley, just north of Colchester, Essex. The farm grows 12 different potato varieties which are cold stored, washed, graded and bagged before being supplied to wholesales and retailers across the UK.

Farming has been in the family for three generations and in 2006, Robert and Laura decided to start making hand cooked crisps. The farm started producing the crisps on site in 2013 to ensure the highest quality standards and Fairfields Farm Crisps now sell their natural, locally sourced, award-winning crisps and potatoes to customers around the world including Hong Kong, Dubai and North America.

Running a busy farm and business supplying the competitive FMCG market means that the Fairfields Farm team are often working long hours to meet demanding production schedules. With a fleet of farm machinery in operation on a daily basis, making sure the farm never runs out of fuel is essential to productivity remaining high.

To provide greater control and visibility over fuel levels and avoid running out during busy periods, Certas Energy helped Fairfields Farm introduce a fuel monitoring system that would make fuel management one less thing to worry about on this thriving farm.

The problem

As the Fairfields Farm Crisps business continued to grow and production ramped up the team were often working around the clock to meet production deadlines. As a result, although vital to keeping moving, checking fuel levels often fell to the bottom of the list. This meant that Robert was having to place emergency deliveries, costing him valuable time and money.

Fairfield Farm Crisps needed a fuel management solution that would provide peace of mind through a reliable supply, allowing the team to get on with what they do best.

The solution

Robert’s father had been a loyal Certas Energy customer for many years, so through his recommendation, Fairfield Farm Crisps approached Certas Energy for a solution in May 2015.

With the Certas Energy team’s expert knowledge of the agricultural sector and understanding of the demands placed on farms during the busy harvest season, they developed a bespoke fuel management package that suited the needs of the farm. Certas Energy introduced its telemetry technology to the farm’s 10,000 litre steel tank to ensure that their fuel needs would be met during busy periods when the farm’s team needed peace of mind.

During busier times of year, such as the summer and harvest season, Fairfields Farm can get through between 100-200,000 litres of fuel which is a huge volume and they can’t afford to run out. The telemetry system monitors fuel supplies 24/7 and automatically triggers a delivery when fuel levels reach 50 per cent. A delivery is then made from either Certas Energy’s Sudbury or Ipswich depots. This means Robert and his team don’t need to do anything to guarantee a safe, reliable and secure fuel supply and is much more accurate than the side gauge.

The fuel management solution from Certas Energy also included a monthly payment plan. These monthly payments mean that Fairfield Farm Crisps is able to plan its monthly outgoings, by knowing exactly how much its fuel bill will be, allowing them to invest more within the business - including new product expansions and new flavour collaborations with other brands.

Amy Frost, Certas Energy Account Manager

“Fuel management doesn’t need to be stressful or time consuming but for many busy farms it’s a continual challenge. By providing a range of fuel storage solutions, we can help farms meet regulatory requirements for fuel storage and protecting against theft, spillages and leaks. Fuel monitoring technology also helps to prevent farms running out of fuel by triggering automatic top ups when fuel levels reach a certain point. It’s an absolute pleasure working with Robert and the team at Fairfields Farm and seeing the business continue to go from strength to strength has been really rewarding.”

The results

With the confidence that its fuel is being managed by the telemetry system installed by Certas Energy, Fairfields Farm has been able to stop worrying about running out of fuel, giving them the time to focus on running a busy farm and successful business operation.

Robert Strathern, Fairfield Farm Crisps Owner

“The telemetry system has given us one less thing to manage on the farm as I know fuel levels are constantly being monitored so I don’t need to worry about taking time to place an order. The local Certas Energy team are friendly, helpful and focused on making my life easier which is really important as we continue to grow the business. I know I can always call Amy, our dedicated point of contact, if I need an extra delivery if we’ve got a really busy week and she’ll get it sorted for us. It’s exactly the kind of service farmers need from a fuel provider. ”

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