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Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Crown Central Petroleum is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products for the East Coast with operations encompassing refining, wholesale, and retail. Located throughout the mid-Atlantic and southeastern states, their 346 retail outlets consist of Fast Fare® convenience stores, mini-marts, and gasoline stations.

Solution Implemented By Crown Central Petroleum

To manage its distribution system, Crown uses SAP. One of their SAP modules provides an integrated, open solution for the entire oil and gas value chain – from wellhead to service station. In addition to its many distribution features, the software provides an integrated infrastructure that lets Crown effectively manage its service station and convenience store, retailing both at the site level and headquarters. For intra-company communication purposes, Crown implemented SysConnect. This Document Management system immediately cleared two of the company’s three biggest communication bottlenecks.

Every week, Crown sends a series of SAP-generated reports to its off-site district managers. These reports include detailed credit and debit history for each retail outlet in the manager’s territory. Before SysConnect, the complete summary was printed on 3-inch credit card paper tape where lines were only 39 characters wide. Crown paid an outside service to send the reports in this format. The dealers were all understandably unhappy about this hard-to-read format. With SysConnect, these reports are generated by the SAP system and automatically faxed to each district manager. In addition to eliminating an outside service provider, SysConnect provides a much-improved format that dealers can easily read.

Crown’s second communication bottleneck was within its maintenance division. Whenever anything breaks within the organization (i.e., a gas pump, the cash register, or even a light bulb), the SAP system generates a maintenance request form and faxes it to the person responsible for fixing whatever is broken. Before SysConnect, the maintenance department was forced to print out each maintenance request and manually fax it.

The department, on average, processed up to 3,000 requests per month and took an employee anywhere from five to ten minutes to process and fax each request. Automating the process with SysConnect helped the maintenance department send out repair requests faster from their desktops.

Once both district reporting and maintenance repair authorizations are fully implemented, the company has plans to target its purchase order process. The purchasing department expects substantial gains in processing time, vendor communication quality, and employee productivity by automating faxes. To integrate SysConnect with the SAP system, Crown utilized the Fax Plug-in and SAP Plug-in. The SysConnect application creates business forms on all operating systems (i.e., Windows, Unix, AS400, DOS) using pre-printed form techniques to replace and enhance multi-part forms. It electronically distributes forms to all printers and digital copiers and seamlessly integrates into most fax, e-mail, and archive systems.

In this instance, all the user has to do is send the proposed document to SysConnect. It takes care of formatting the fax, compiling the distribution list, and sending the completed faxes through the fax server. The user is e-mailed a final sending status for each transmission — success or failure. “The best part of SysConnect software is that you only have to figure out the complicated SAP system once,” states Ronald Johnson, the systems administrator for Crown Central Petroleum. Once setup is complete, only the SysConnect main option has to be modified with a few configurations. “And, because the entire process is user-friendly, we can get in, get it done, get out, and move on to something else really fast!”

Ultimately, SysConnect and the fax server will offer easy-to-use convenience for all of the company’s 120 employees located at headquarters, who will be able to fax and receive faxes from their desktops. The fax server is being set up to interface with the company’s Nortel Meridian PBX system. Using Dual Tone Multi-Frequency routing, 

The company uses only two of the fax servers' eight-phone line capacity. Johnson expects that when the company's automatic faxing is fully operational, they will fax between 1,000 to 2,000 pages per day. With all eight lines implemented, the fax server can handle around 4,000 pages in an eight-hour day, depending on graphic content.

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