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At our recent Synergy 2024 event, we heard many exciting and engaging customer stories, perhaps none more so than Finnish food delivery company Wolt.

Wolt recently started working with Accruent, using the Observe product, so we invited Mattias Hovinen Gråå, part of the real estate global team, on stage to give a live Q&A. He talked about everything from the company's global growth and expansion plans to the importance of real-time visibility & data-driven decisions across the company's retail estate portfolio.

There was a huge amount of ground covered and for those of you who weren't in the room, we've captured it below.

Can you give a brief overview of Wolt?
"Our target is pretty ambitious. We want to make cities better for consumers, merchants and couriers alike. The company started off with restaurants, but it's evolved to become more like 'the mall in your pocket' covering everything from electronics to fashion. To enable this, Wolt develops a wide range of technologies, from local logistics to retail software and financial solutions, and operates its own grocery stores under the Wolt Market brand."

How is the business growing?
"Expansion is in our DNA. We're a fast-growing, ambitious company, and the figures bear that out. We are available in 26 countries and 500 cities as we speak. This involves over 230,000 courier partners serving over 36 million registered users. On top of that, we've just passed the point of having 10,000 Wolt employees, too."

Where did Wolt start from, and where is it now?
"The company is around ten years old now, but it wasn't until 2020 that we started to invest more and grow our own grocery chains. Two years ago, we joined forces with DoorDash. This was a €7 billion deal and one of the biggest fintech acquisitions ever in Finland, so it was pretty significant. It's one that means we're now the biggest Q-Commerce player globally."

Please tell us more about Wolt Market.
"It started with groceries, but we've built up the infrastructure with micro fulfillment hubs and great logistics both in and outside the premises in which we operate. This is to meet our target of delivering goods - whatever they may be - within 40 minutes. It means the location is critical, and in each of them, we add ambient shelving, freezer rooms, cabinets and so much more. These locations aren't open to the public, but they serve as hubs for our staff and couriers so that customers using the app can get their deliveries within the target timescale."

What are the key compliance and regulations challenges?
"Pretty early on in the journey, we realised that demand was coming predominantly from the food and safety departments. Therefore we looked at how we could minimise shrinkage and how our real estate could help reduce the OpEx cost for Wolt while keeping our ambitious sustainability and energy reduction targets front of mind."

What are the key requirements Wolt needs to do that?
"In terms of food and compliance safety, this means having the ability to monitor the temperature and humidity of food in the freezers and cold rooms to make sure it has been kept to the right temperatures and in the right environment. We have locations all over the world so the ability to monitor in real-time is also critical. Accruent built a seven-point plan using Observe in order to help with this, which provided a low-cost, scalable, and portable remote monitoring solution for food safety, energy consumption, and employee wellbeing. It ensures that work orders are easily creatable and can be instantly viewed at any level of the operation."

What has been the impact of Observe?
"For us, it's critical because each location is different. The set-up, layout and systems can vary as well as the type of products stocked in them so we needed something that was flexible and can scale accordingly. It not only needs to adapt to the locations we have today but the ability to grow as we do. It's very early in the process but we're already making better decisions and using data points to prevent potential failures and breakdowns on our equipment."

Can you give an example of how Observe has helped?
"One of the elements we have implemented in our Athens store where Observe is being piloted—is the interactive floor plan. This pinpoints where sensors and in-store devices are and alerts us instantly if there is an issue with temperature or energy failure. Aside from being an energy-saving asset, it means our teams can instantly see where an issue is and head straight to it."

Where do you see Wolt moving forward from an IoT perspective?
"This test point solution has been valuable to understand that we are moving towards a broader IWMS system including more data points, for instance, HR, IT, and security, as well as starting to look even further into work order systems like SLAs and other critical maintenance aspects. Essentially, pulling together a structured approach across our entire real estate portfolio or in terms of building a foundation of where we want to be and how we want the business to scale."

Where do you see the partnership with Accruent expanding?
"We’d like to roll this out across Greece, have the operational parts of the business live test it to get their feedback, and then start to scale it across the Wolt business. The question is how and in which direction.”