A mobile application developed by a Beaver County couple and an Oklahoma City company is designed to automate an oil purchasing process that for decades has relied on handwritten paper receipts.
The iPad enterprise app is now available through Conquest RT (Real Time), the company that Jim and Debbie Hilton formed to distribute it. They have worked for the past eight months or so to take their idea and develop the app with Phase 2 Interactive, an Oklahoma City mobile development company.
Both Hiltons work in the oil industry — Jim Hilton runs a small crude oil and off-spec company that buys oil, and Debbie Hilton is an oil and gas accountant.
Together they had run into problems with ticketing for years.
“Ticketing has always been an issue. Everything that we've dealt with, we've addressed (in the app),” Hilton said. “We're always hunting that paper trail. It's enormous.”
Currently, companies in the crude oil purchasing business rely on handwritten receipts from truckers pumping the oil into their trucks for transport. The truckers fill out the receipts by hand on the lease site, perform calculations about the oil's weight and volume using calculators, sign the receipts with pens and carry them around until they can mail them to the right people, the Hiltons said. An invoice copy of it is left on the site for producers to pick up later.
The process of getting the information about the purchases from the site to the companies can take up to 12 days. Receipts arrive with scribbled handwriting, smudged with oil, or with torn or wrinkled paper, and then are manually entered into a
Speeding the process
Conquest RT automates that reporting process from days to less than a minute, with a goal of reducing errors and providing instant additional data for analysis.
Using the app on the iPad, truckers open a receipt that has been prepopulated with the company's name, GPS data about the lease site and legal information, Debbie Hilton demonstrated. They then type in key data about the purchase, and calculations about the volume and other data are made automatically. They use their fingers to sign the receipt on the iPad screen before it's emailed to those on the distribution list.
“We want it to be as easy as we can,” Debbie Hilton said.
Ten years ago, a truckload of crude was worth about $2,500; today, the same amount is worth about $18,000, Jim Hilton said.
“Mistakes are more costly than ever,” he said. “The commodity and the timing and the measurements are even more critical today because of the money that's
Conquest RT's electronic ticketing process for crude oil purchasing uses 3G networks — and will take advantage of new network technology as it improves — to send the record of the purchase from the lease site, he said.
Developing the app required several months of intense work due to strong interest from oil purchasers, as well as technical problem-solving, said Shane Kempton, director of consulting for Phase 2 Interactive, and Heath Clinton, Phase 2 president and chief operating officer.
The group had to find a printer that worked on site, printed the right size of paper and could talk to the iPad, since oil purchasers still wanted the paper at the site, Kempton said. They also had to make sure that the app would always know to connect automatically with the database, whether the iPad could get network access at the site or had to wait until the trucker was back in range.
For more information about the app, go to http://conquestrt.com.