Improve your performance with remote, predictive diagnostics for the retail market
From supermarkets to convenience stores, retail operators need to protect their perishable goods. No one can afford to lose inventory because of an improper storage temperature or a failed refrigeration unit or to risk responsibility for foodborne illness due to improperly refrigerated goods.
Refrigeration monitoring can provide peace of mind that the system is running properly and can mitigate risk — offering an additional layer of security for your operation.
Monitoring of retail refrigeration equipment falls into one of two categories: manual checks of an on-panel unit or a refrigeration supervisory control system, which controls all assets from one location.
Manual monitoring may seem straight-forward, but there are several downsides that can be detrimental to the process.
Manual temperature monitoring depends on the accuracy of and confidence in the employee recording the data. Team members may put down inaccurate numbers to get through the process more quickly or to “protect” the budget and not indicate potential issues that need to be fixed.
If done right, the manual process takes a good amount of time. Assigning an employee this task means they are not able to handle other work — tying up already limited manpower.
Variances in monitoring tools and practices
In addition to using cheap tools that are often imprecise, many employees have not been properly trained on monitoring refrigeration equipment, leading to inaccurate readings and even checking the temperature in the wrong location.
A standard supervisory control system does offer improvements over the manual monitoring process, but there are still gaps when using this system.
A supervisory system typically will monitor at the field controller level. The controller tends to have limited memory capacity, and its sole function is to run control logic in a processor. This set-up means it is uncommon for a supervisory controller to provide monitoring or alarm resolution capabilities. In other words, it is data collection without action.
One of the biggest challenges for the retail operator is knowing what to do with the data once they have it. Most of the time, a retailer does not have a refrigeration expert on staff and little ability to interpret, diagnose and act on issues once alarms sound.
Remote, predictive diagnostics is an advanced approach to refrigeration monitoring that can improve your operational efficiency. By automating the process, operators reduce the labor needs for this activity. Additionally, the data gathered by the system is used to perform preventative maintenance, detect equipment issues and dispatch service calls.
Some retail operations may be hesitant to implement a remote system. One of the biggest roadblocks is IT policy. Due to increased risk of cybersecurity in recent years, most large enterprises will not allow anyone to access their network. If that is the case, gateway hardware or a totally separate, isolated internet connection from their facility can mitigate any perceived risk.
Cost could also be a concern, but the economics for this type of system are fairly straightforward. Take an operator who has unfortunately suffered a power outage or failed equipment in the middle of the night and comes to work the next morning to find all the perishable goods spoiled due to temperature rise. They would consider the investment in a remote diagnostic monitoring system to be worth it if it could prevent this loss.
In addition to saving product, predictive diagnostic systems can reduce the total cost of ownership for a refrigeration asset by saving energy, lessening wear and tear and reducing service calls.
To provide operations with a remote, predictive diagnostics solution, we’ve launched WatchTower. WatchTower is a scalable, cloud-based software that works across any footprint. With a simple connection into a facility’s existing refrigeration supervisory control system, operators have a comprehensive view of all refrigeration assets at once backed by support from our forward-thinking, technology-embracing company.
Using predictive AI, our experienced technicians are able to analyze, interpret and act on data. These better-informed, knowledgeable service teams can differentiate between the need for a service call or quick fix that can be handled by retail employees on-staff, avoiding unnecessary service expenses. The teams can also use live monitoring to aid in real-time assessment and repairs. Our refrigeration expertise decreases human error and saves on time and labor costs — and ultimately lowers risk of catastrophic failure, costly downtime and loss of product.
Custom reporting capabilities are another differentiator for the WatchTower service. Not only do we have reports that ensure your operation complies with FDA and HACCP guidelines, but we can create reports tailored to your operation and reporting preferences. For example, baseline reports, which show the initial performance over a period of time, allow us to determine what “normal” looks like for your asset. This reporting enables us to better monitor for future issues based on a number of factors specific to your system.
We also have a rich history of data that allows our AI engine to refine the predictive models and makes our machine learning powerful and accurate. We take these learnings, as well as external forces like weather and power pricing fluctuations, to drive operational efficiency and asset uptime.
Refrigeration monitoring is a critical function for retail operations that is streamlined and enhanced with WatchTower. Want to discuss how Climate Pros’ WatchTower service could benefit your retail operation? Send us an email or give us a call at 630.984.4480.BACK TO HOME