Sep 2, 2021
Innovating in an Unprecedented Year
Kendra Keller, Vice President & General Manager, North America
Industry leader Kendra Keller shares her insights on how Dover Fueling Solutions continued to innovate in 2020, which was an unprecedented year for everyone. Kendra discusses her team’s challenges, how the team overcame those challenges to continue to support customers, where she sees the industry going, and more.
Kendra is the GM & VP, North America at Dover Fueling Solutions and has over 20 years of experience with a long tenure at DFS. Kendra rose through the ranks and now leads DFS’ largest regional business segment.
Q: It’s no surprise that the past year and a half has been difficult for everyone. What has been your biggest surprise in the industry? How has DFS had to pivot? What have you been most proud of?
KK: I was in this role for maybe six months when the pandemic hit. I kicked off the year in 2020 thinking this would be the best year ever, we had the EMV liability shift date coming up, we were launching the Anthem UX™ user experience platform – everything was lined up to be great.
The pandemic hit and everything was turned upside down, but what I’m most proud of is that our teams stepped up and didn’t allow anything to get in the way of delivering on our strategic initiatives. We could have stopped, but what we saw right away was our distributors were still out in the field and our industry wasn’t slowing down. As an essential business, our production kept running. We quickly decided we weren’t going to let the pandemic be an excuse.
We worked through numerous supply chain disruptions, we were still able to achieve great results for EMV, but the best thing was that we were able to launch a product like Anthem UX in the middle of the pandemic. There were so many obstacles and many times where we heard, “we can’t do that because of COVID.” We would come back and challenge each other and ask, “why can’t we do it?” Maybe there is another way we can do this.
The incredible way our customers responded made all of the hard work worth it. We had to find new ways to interact with them and we had to ensure we could keep delivering on our commitments to them. Despite everything thrown our way, we still had a great year and were able to do great things.
Q: Over the past few years, DFS has made significant implementations in the product portfolio. It now includes Anthem UX, the DFS DX™ connected solutions platform and a wealth of partners. What are the driving factors behind such an aggressive portfolio expansion and why is this so important to DFS?
KK: We are aligned as a company to be the leader in innovation and technology. It’s not just DFS who is aligned with this goal, our parent company Dover Corporation is also aligned. They are willing to invest in us. Through our partnerships with Tech:niche and EdgePetrol, just to name a few, and acquisitions we’ve made, like AvaLAN, it’s clear we are seen as innovators in technology, and Dover is willing to invest in us and support us in that endeavor.
But it goes further for us than acquisitions and partnerships. What’s really exciting is our investment in our new products like Anthem UX and DFS DX. It’s encouraging to know we will continue to launch new, ground-breaking products and create opportunities to partner and acquire technology. Our commitment to deliver all of this to our customers and meet their expectations as the technology leader in the industry is our ongoing priority.
Q: How do you see the industry evolving from where it has been to where it is today?
KK: Customers recognize the margin on fuel varies, and that can’t be the only place to make money. Site owners are trying to find creative ways to drive an increase in revenue. They realize technology can help to increase customer loyalty and foot traffic, drive more in-store sales, lower the cost of ownership, drive efficiencies at the site and much more.
Five years ago, they weren’t ready to have those conversations. With tighter margins, they are looking for additional revenue opportunities and our solutions can provide the value they are looking for. Customers are finally realizing technology can help.
Q: Innovation matters. And while the inside of c-stores has really evolved, the forecourt has been stagnant for decades, if not a century. What was your first reaction when you heard about the Anthem UX user experience platform?
KK: When we first kicked off discussions about Anthem UX, I thought it was great. You see it, with the 27-inch touchscreen, and its slick and modern and looks amazing.
But when you dive deeper and start to unpack the Anthem’s true capabilities and the benefits the platform brings, it’s truly amazing. We are just getting started. There are opportunities to stack additional functionality, interface with other software and applications and so much more. The possibilities are truly limitless.
Q: How are your customers and the industry as a whole responding to this new technology?
KK: Our customers truly love it. Anthem UX is a different type of product, a “game changer” as we often hear. Our tagline is “seeing is believing” which couldn’t be more true. It does require a different type of selling on the true value of the solution, and customers really want to see it in the field. We talk about it and we show demos and presentations, but they want to see it in action, hence the recent kick off of our DFS Technology Roadshow.
Q: What are you most excited about for the rest of the year?
KK: We continue to see challenges in the business with extreme supply chain disruption and ongoing management of the impacts of the pandemic on our employees, customers and suppliers. However, despite all of that, we continue to deliver value to our customers and meet their expectations. We have managed to maintain our lead time to customers at competitive levels, we continue to make progress on new product initiatives, and market adoption and interest in Anthem UX is on the rise. Our team is excited about the unlimited possibilities we can provide, and our customers are too.
It takes a lot from each and every one of us to be where we are today. We wouldn’t be here without all of our amazing employees and their relentless commitment to DFS. We will continue to face challenges but I feel confident we can work together through any obstacles we face. I think it’s so important that we continue to develop new innovative products but know there are endless possibilities with the current products we have.
For the past 10 years I’ve been with DFS, my passion for the company and the employees only continues to grow. One of the greatest things about DFS is the commitment and enthusiasm our employees have towards DFS. There’s been an industry shift though, and I see that level of excitement outside the walls at DFS and pouring into the community. The best is yet to come for us. We are aligned, we are customer focused, we are execution champions. The opportunities are truly limitless for us.