Changing the world for better... at least the world of gas stations)

Month: December 2015

Express-coaching for top officials in 30 minutes

This conversation has been translated in English with some abridgements. Full version >>

Line personnel from procurement departments is recommended to refrain from reading.

Alexander Kuzmin is an expert with over 20 years in non-fuel business of gas stations and the implementation of projects of its reorganization. With this huge experience, Alexander is ready to offer the plan for the changes to the chain of stations of the federal scale in just 30 minutes.

His partner in this conversation is the head of federal chain which is bringing together more than one thousand stations located over the entire territory of the Russian Federation. In our dialogue, he will be called the Leader.

Leader: Alexander, you promised to tell me about the most important changes that I need to carry out so that customers perceive our stations on a par with the best European chains. And you promised to do so in just 30 minutes.

Alexander Kuzmin: Before you begin the conversation i would like to clarify what are the specific goals you want to achieve?

Leader: For over the last five years there has been a significant strengthening of the position of vertically integrated oil companies, whose major shareholders are various state-controlled structures. In the eyes of the vast majority of Russian citizens oil companies and their corresponding chains of gas stations are clearly perceived as being a part of  the “state”. All attemps to prove them otherwise had the opposite effect.

Alexander Kuzmin: In simple terms, Russian drivers should take your gas station as being the same as “cool” foreign ones. Is that so?

Gas stations’ non-core businesses processing – customer’s opinion

Pain-in-the-assLESS or “Three in a boat: men, poverty and dogs”*


 «I have known a Russian learn Chinese within six months. English! they learn it while you are talking to them. The children play at chess and study the violin for their own amusement.

The world will be glad of Russia when she has put her house in order»

Jerome K. Jerome

The soviet film “Three Men in a Boat” perfectly captures the spirit of Jerome’s novel, although there’s a little that’s been left from the original masterpiece. The road sets a special mood and genre of ironic travel writing is very close to my working mood. The irony is the best way to survive the road adventures both for a traveling person and for the host country. There’s no such thing as perfect road, car, gas station, caf? in this world.  Instead there are cozy and clean, minimalistic and heaped up, making part of a chain or solitary places. You want to go at one gas station, the other one you want to pass.

“When we got to Datchet we took out the hamper, the two bags, and the rugs and coats, and such like things, and started off to look for diggings. We passed a very pretty little hotel, with clematis and creeper over the porch; but there was no honeysuckle about it, and, for some reason or other, I had got my mind fixed on honeysuckle, and I said: “Oh, don’t let’s go in there! Let’s go on a bit further, and see if there isn’t one with honeysuckle over it”.

History repeats itself several times, and the characters of Jerome were nearly left on the street without an overnight stay. Do you think that drivers choose gas station somehow differently? I can talk about the “rational” choice of the people for hours.

Contemporaries did not accept Jerome’s prose as the “real literature”, and yet hundred years later readers are still smiling over the adventures of his characters: they have the charm of spontaneity. It would seem that the Russian people should feel closer to “Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow.” By the way, I can describe the exact location, range and volume of fuel sales, call the management and staff by their names, remember caf?’s menu in almost all of gas stations located alongside the road which once was traveled by Mr. Radishchev. What Thames and adventure of the George, Jim and Harris trio mean to me? But it seems that the irony is closer to my heart and soul than social satire. I smile once again, re-reading the description of the process of packing the road basket, comparing it to the formation of commodity matrix of a store in gas station and “heroes” of economic reports are no longer extras in a sad play staged day after day, not understanding the overall meaning or their own role.

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