a day in the life of an analyst
It’s Tuesday morning and after a twenty minute drive, I arrive at the office, which is located on White Moss Business Park, just off the M58 in Skelmersdale. The first job of the day is to log in to the Fairbanks wetstock management system, 'Wizard' and to catch up with the team about any issues that may have arisen overnight. A brew is of course ideal at this time in the morning.
Next, it’s time to open my email inbox. Over the course of the day, I receive a lot of emails and although this may seem overwhelming at first, the sheer number reiterates the sense of responsibility that is attached to this job. The fact that over 120 petrol stations are being analysed and guided by your recommendations is as satisfying as it is demanding. I should explain every analyst at Fairbanks is part of a larger team, and each is in charge of a specific contract or group of contracts. You may be more familiar with some of the larger companies we work with, which include BP, Tesco and Shell, to name a but a few.
Back to my emails! There is a wide range of activity that needs to be responded to from my inbox, ranging from alarm alerts that have activated overnight (these can range from water readings in a tank to a stuck probe) to requests from the directors of oil companies requesting certain information or seeking information about an issue on site. In addition to this, there are frequent phone calls from the sites you monitor with regards to delivery queries or the progress of planned maintenance that is to be carried out on site. It is satisfying to know that the sites look to you for help and guidance for issues that may arise. It’s a rewarding feeling.
Throughout my E-Mails that occur over the day, I generate my extreme variance report, a daily report that is essential for spotting any issues within the data that has been received from my sites. This is where a good eye for trends, patterns and an inquisitive nature comes in useful. At this stage it is often necessary to get on the phone and query, amend and investigate any data that looks incorrect. These processes allow you to build a good relationship with the on-site staff.
The clock strikes 1 o’clock and it’s lunch time! There are plenty of options for lunch; I normally visit the nearby café situated a 2 minute walk from the office taking this opportunity to get some fresh air and a leg stretch, as well as enjoying the often varied and themed lunches that occur throughout the weeks. However, if the weather is not looking too good, I grad a sandwich from the Waterfields van and take a seat upstairs in our well-equipped staffroom which has a TV and kitchen area. This is a good chance to meet with your colleagues from other departments and have a good chat.
Back to work, and it’s now time to work on the weekly report; this highlights any tanks that are flagging due to a drop or change in performance over a monthly period. This part of the job is like a game of Cluedo by where I use the in-house analytical program to look for clues and begin to piece a story together to explain the tank’s performance, ruling out potential issues along the way until I am left with the reason justifying the tank’s performance. This can often lead to opening an investigation where an under-performing tank needs further attention. An important thing to mention is if we ever need any further support there are always numerous people available, including our dedicated Operational Service Managers or our Analysis Support Consultant team who can offer further advice.
Once the investigation is opened it is the Analysts job to work with the site to complete some quick on-site checks before recommending any specific engineer work. Over-dispense is quite a common issue that we identify; with notable instances being finding these issues on very busy forecourts and saving the customers in excess of £10,000 by meter resets. I find resolving and identifying an issue on-site through an investigation is the most satisfying part of the job, especially when you have built a good relationship with that customer.
After a handover with the team, I usually leave the office shortly after 4pm and head home, before heading back into the office the following day looking forward to the varied workload that it will bring.