The retail landscape is undergoing a significant transformation and, in many aspects, stands at the forefront of technological advancements. In this era of innovation and invention, the convergence of retail technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) is ushering in intelligent equipment and data management tools. These innovations empower business leaders to make more informed decisions aimed at optimising overall asset performance.

Getting Refrigeration Right

All of this is contributing to the increasing popularity of Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), which helps retailers navigate digital transformation by automating workflows and make data-driven decisions to enhance efficiency and reduce the costs of their asset management.

But when combined with an IoT solution, the concept of operational excellence in the facilities maintenance environment is redefined. It integrates real-time asset performance monitoring, energy management and carbon reduction into the equation, increasing ROI and maximising employee and guest experiences.  

This is particularly true for commercial refrigeration systems, where maintaining correct temperature and humidity levels in equipment are crucial for the business.  

Commercial Refrigeration in Transition

Commercial refrigeration in retail is undergoing significant changes. Consumer demand for diverse food options anytime, anywhere, is driving the need for on-the-go refrigeration solutions, such as cooled vans and shipping units. Rapid technological advancements are further boosting product demand. The global commercial refrigeration equipment market is expected to grow from $53 billion in 2023 to $78 billion by 2030.

However, environmental consciousness is also on the rise. Efforts are being made to reduce the carbon impact of food harvesting, transportation, and storage. A recent study conducted by Accruent found that, in a food retail store, refrigeration is the largest single energy consumer, accounting for 40-50% of electricity usage.  

Refrigeration plays a central role in the intersection of retail, technology, sustainability, and consumer demands. It affects energy consumption reduction and ensures year-round access to various foods. But developing refrigeration strategies that simultaneously advance business, by effectively transforming raw data into cogent insights, and achieve energy and environmental goals can only be realised with a seamless CMMS and IoT software integration.

Challenges Faced by Retailers

While there are evident advantages to incorporating IoT into a CMMS platform, achieving success in the retail markets has not been a straightforward journey. Indeed, the adoption of IoT has created many challenges for retailers that many are still grappling to solve. The main ones being:

Data Overload: Without the appropriate solution in place to capture and disseminate a vast volume of data, generating actionable work orders or decisions from the data presented can be incredibly difficult.

Rapid Tech Evolution: Technology moves rapidly, which often makes its adoption happen more quickly than retailers can handle. Keeping pace with new tech can hinder data analysis and confidence in collected information.

Data Security and privacy concerns: Protecting sensitive data is vital in preventing unauthorised access or breaches.

Interoperability: IoT solutions and CMMS systems may come from different manufacturers and use various communication protocols.

Multi-Site Management: Coordinating asset visibility and maintenance across multiple locations is challenging.

Complex Implementation: Deploying or integrating an IoT solution with a CMMS platform can be complex and time-consuming.  

Scalability: Systems must scale to accommodate growth for long-term success.

Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to safety standards and regulations is crucial to avoid fines, legal issues and reputation damage.

Benefits of Integrating IoT With a CMMS

To tackle these challenges and harness the potential of a connected IoT network for retail refrigeration, CMMS software plays a crucial role. It aids retailers by:

Enhanced asset management: Proactive maintenance is crucial for preventing equipment failures and identifying issues earlier. The integration of CMMS and IoT streamlines preventive maintenance schedules, improving asset visibility and reducing unexpected breakdowns.

Remote monitoring and work order efficiency: IoT combined with CMMS allows remote monitoring and diagnosis of refrigeration systems, reducing costs and travel time for maintenance teams.

Energy Management and Sustainability: The integration helps retailers optimise energy usage, and reduce waste and carbon emissions, contributing to energy savings and sustainability goals.

Compliance: When coupled with an IoT system, CMMS software can help retailers create safety checklists, track inspections, and ensure compliance with safety regulations, enabling easy reporting to regulatory bodies.

Inventory Management: IoT systems monitor inventory levels in real-time and can automatically trigger replenishment orders. They also offer consumption insights, optimising inventory and streamlining the supply chain.

Cost savings: By monitoring and managing assets remotely, businesses can reduce on-site visits, optimise maintenance schedules, and minimise unnecessary expenses.

Scalability: IoT remote monitoring systems can maximise scalability to accommodate a large number of assets and locations, allowing businesses to monitor and manage their operations across multiple sites.

Integrated Experience Accelerates The Pace of Innovation  

The commercial refrigeration environment can be positioned at the forefront of technological innovation towards IoT and CMMS software integration. Despite challenges, the benefits are clear: improved efficiency, sustainability, and cost savings.

With over 50 years of combined leadership in the food retail sector, the partnership between Accruent and ServiceChannel ensures that customers maximise the impact of their IoT and CMMS investments. With the integrated solution of ServiceChannel’s purpose-built platform with Accruent’s IoT system for commercial refrigeration, customers can accelerate innovation to meet the needs of their rapidly transforming and growing multi-site facilities management.

Click here to learn more about how this exciting partnership can drive digital transformation in your facilities operations.