Fuelling growth through data
Founded in 1990 as UK Fuels, Radius Payment Solutions grew steadily for over 20 years, eventually leading the merger of 25 smaller firms to create a major fuel card management and telematics business. Today Radius employs over 1,000 people in 14 countries, and is harnessing the data it’s captured on clients to provide a better offering. Radius’s Technical Director Jamie Hillman talks to Inflexion about the power of data.
“We’ve done a rapid roll out of new features and services over the years, including the Velos charge card, vehicle rental, Velocity vehicle check, telematics, insurance, and connected cameras,” Jamie enthuses. His pride in what the firm has done is matched by his drive to do more: “Through building these features, we’ve been accumulating lots of data but haven’t stopped to consider what we can do with it. There is a feeling within the business that we need to utilise this data.”
There is lots of it, given Radius’s position as the key intermediary and service provider between major energy companies, energy retail networks and over 200,000 SME customers.
He gives a few statistics which paint a bright picture of the breadth and depth of data Radius has amassed: the firm has 200,000 fuel card customers making around 40 million transactions per year, and tracks over 100,000 vehicles or 350 million miles per month through its telematics, including their braking and accelerating.
Radius participated in Faculty, a data science consultancy firm which specialises in using artificial intelligence to solve real problems, six week fellowship programme. Founded in 2014, the firm has trained and transitioned over 250 STEM graduates into data scientists through its fellowship programme and has worked on over 300 commercial projects, including Radius’s.
Knowing they wanted to assess market share, Radius and Faculty first needed to identify refuels and fill-ups done outside the scope of Radius’s own cards. Challenges incurred during the exercise included the sheer size of the data set, validating assumptions, restraining the scope in order to deliver something meaningful in a six-week timeframe (the length of time Radius had the data scientist for) and finally, communicating the results effectively with the business.
“This exercise revealed our share of wallet and ultimately raised more questions. For example, we learned that some customers were using our stations in one geography, but not in another. And if we had 30% share of wallet, what about the other 70%?”
Ultimately, working with data experts to harness Radius’s data was a very positive endeavour.
We managed to improve our fuel site data, which has value for lots of the business. Also, we now understand regional variation in our market share, which is generating new opportunities for growth. Most importantly, we've shown the business some of the potential of data science.
Radius is using data to explore ways to cross-sell its telematics and insurance businesses, as well as expand further internationally and acquisitively. Since late 2017, Radius’s management team has had the support of Inflexion, who provided £150 million minority investment. At the end of last year, Radius acquired Adam Phones to launch a new telecoms division within the Group, and most recently, Radius announced the acquisition of Plant-i, a provider of tracking and telemetry solutions to the plant and construction sectors.