Walking a mile in the shoes of a small-scale filler

Not every filling plant gets to have impressive carrousels and a daily output of many thousands of cylinders. In many cases, the right solution is something much, much smaller. In this article, we want to showcase the life of the small-scale fillers. Even though it may sometimes feel like a fight between David and Goliath, small fillers do take up the battle against larger, more resourceful and financially stronger fillers across the globe. How do they do that, one might wonder? It's all about finding a competitive edge.

Small fillers face severe obstacles when they try to compete with the larger fillers with bigger budgets and lower costs per processed unit simply because of economies of scale. This means that the smaller fillers will need to be flexible and adhere to the local and regional demands to a much larger degree in order to offer an attractive product and still be competitive. For some, it makes more sense to invest less, keep the customer circle small and establish a niche business - perhaps in a location far away from everyone else. Others find a way to keep expenses to a minimum, thus keeping their competitive edge in terms of price.

Knowledge and guidance is key

When Kosan Crisplant enters small-scale projects, we approach the customers with the mind set of an advisor. We are typically more involved and more invested - technically as well as personally - than with larger fillers who are familiar with the equipment and the business. For small and especially new fillers, the investment can be immense and they need sufficient guidance before taking the plunge. This also goes for customers who buy plants regularly, but perhaps years or even decades apart, and they need to get their knowledge of the technology up to speed to ensure that they get the best solution and equipment for their plants.

Those customers may also want to tie more small filling plants together to increase their benefits. In those cases, KC can assist with guidance and direction. Our staff asks the right questions and helps our customers avoid unnecessary pitfalls. We also quickly spot opportunities for improvement and possibilities for our customer's business when making routine service rounds. Another aspect we are particularly aware of when we assist small-scale customers with only one filling plant is to finish the task at hand as quickly as possible as the filler doesn’t have other plants to rely on in a down period. Finally, we take on the responsibility of teaching new and especially small fillers how to use the equipment efficiently on the fly so they are self-reliant from day 1 in order for them to gain the most from their investment.

We're in it together

The smaller projects allow us to get really close to our customers and offer our expertise where it is needed. Hence, we are typically tied to small-scale customers for a longer period of time more intensively because a sense of community develops between the plant staff and our installers and supervisors. It's a close collaboration and we realise the feelings at stake - it's their lifeblood. Kosan Crisplant highly values each project and we aim to stay equally relevant to both large-scale and small-scale fillers due to our extensive product portfolio and long-term experience in the gas industry.

Below, you will find four case stories from our small-scale filling plants across the globe. The cases highlight the small fillers' challenges as well as their successes. Some are independent fillers with only one small filling location, and others are a small branch of a larger organisation. Common to all of them is the aim to put LPG cylinders at their customers' disposal on a small-scale basis.