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What Your Refrigeration Engineer Wishes You Knew About Tech


by Jim Dudlicek, NGA director, communications and external affairs

Refrigeration is the heart of the supermarket, and retailers need simple, cost-effective solutions for refrigeration monitoring and maintenance.

How do you identify key refrigeration performance issues? What kind of data and analysis is valuable in preventing losses? When should you repair, update or augment refrigeration equipment? What new technology is on the horizon?

To explore these issues, NGA hosted a recent webinar with refrigeration monitoring software provider OpSense. Leading the discussion were Stu Gavurin, co-founder and CEO of OpSense; Dale Hall, owner of Coastal Refrigeration Technologies LLC; and Tim Pifer, owner of Piggly Wiggly FWB, which operates supermarkets in Alabama and Florida.

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

Technology comes with a cost, but lack of technology has its own cost. The price tag of a refrigeration monitoring system could be outweighed by the cost of product lost in a freezer or cooler failure, not to mention the potential loss of business and a tarnished reputation. “Is it sales you lost today or sales you lost forever?” Hall remarked. Pifer added, “The investment paid for itself very quickly.”

Catch problems before they become issues and are more costly to fix. “My concern is walking in the next morning, three of my cases are down and everything’s a complete loss,” Pifer said. “Unfortunately, sometimes it’s a customer that discovers there’s a problem and that’s embarrassing.”

Investment in technology delivers value beyond money. While guarding against product loss and heralding advance warning of needed repairs, a refrigeration monitoring system protects brand image, offers some peace of mind and allows owners to take time off more easily, knowing that conditions can be monitored remotely.

It’s not always an emergency requiring costly late-night service calls. Monitoring systems can assess the severity of problems, which might permit a more orderly relocation of product and relaxed solution planning.

Multiple departments can be monitored more easily with the right system. As Pifer noted, there can be coolers and freezers for meat, seafood, dairy, deli and bakery as well as the frozen aisle. Automated systems can keep an eye on all of them at once.

To view this complete webinar, along with others in the series, visit nga.sclivelearningcenter.com/MVSite/default.aspx.

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