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M2M can also cement a closer customer relationship. Royal Dutch/Shell offices in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have joigned Sensile Technologies SA, an M2M solutions provider in Lausanne, Switzerland, to test M2M in remotely administering and managing heating oil storage tanks. The solution, based on sensors and Siemens’ wireless modules, monitors each tank and automatically issues an alert when the level falls below a certain threshold and allows Royal Dutch/Shell and its customers to know the exact volume of heating oil in tanks at all times.

“Raw materials are commodities, so if customers can’t get good service, they may seek an alternative,” says Thomas Eberle, Sensile Technologies managing director. “Enabling M2M makes sure this doesn’t happen. It allows visibility into distributor’s inventory and makes ordering and replenishment planning more accurate. In the end, fill rates are improved and so is the customer relationship through automated ordering and other proactive strategies.”