Photo: Home-Tech/CSI

Photo: Home-Tech/CSI

Seeking a better way to handle its fuel purchases, Home-Tech's fleet made the switch from a traditional plastic credit card to an electronic accounts payable solution.

Home-Tech, a regional service company with a fleet of 75+ service vehicles, initially sought a fuel card solution to better manage its fuel spend. Upon analyzing the options in the market, the fleet chose to adopt CSI's  full suite of no-cost payment solutions and launched global-fleet, globalVCard for accounts payable, and CSI’s traditional P-card.

Home-Tech was using American Express plastic cards before adopting CSI’s electronic accounts payable solution. “These cards work well for us and allow us to earn gift card rewards, which are useful to give as employee rewards or other ‘thank you’ gifts,” said Sonya Sawyer, CFO for Home-Tech. “But when paying vendors through the plastic cards, it’s a manual process where we provide the card number over the phone.”

Home-Tech initially moved 50 percent of its payables over to CSI’s virtual program,gaining efficiencies through automation and reducing costs by eliminating paper checks. “Writing checks is archaic. This is a new way to make payments that’s easy and allows us to earn 1 percent cash back,” Sawyer said.

Home-Tech reduced the number of checks written by 40 percent within the first six month. The company plans to continue expanding its use of virtual card payments throughout its business, including its corporate giving program, according to CSI. For those vendors that continue to require manual payment at the time of purchase, Home-Tech relies on CSI’s plastic credit card which provides the same opportunity to earn cash back rewards based onspend volume.

CSI’s fuel cards enable the company to save on fuel costs, one of the biggest cost centers for fleets of any size. “Before CSI, I had no idea how much more expensive fuel was in certain areas around us and how big of a difference in price five miles could make,” said Chelsea Skaff, who oversees the fuel program for Home-Tech.

Skaff said the real-time reporting available  has helped the company better manage fuel usage,and the free Smart Buy application provides the ability to locate the lowest priced fuel options in the fleet's operational area. One of the transitions that required a shift in thinking on Home-Tech’s part was the need to fund payments immediately. “With the virtual card program, we didn’t have the ability to wait 30-40 days to cover the payments like we had been accustomed to,” Sawyer recalled. “Once we became familiar with the program, we adapted and the cash flow difference has been more than compensated by the rebate we receive through the program. The 1 percent back is a no brainer.”

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet