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The retail sector is currently driven by anticipation. There is a cut-throat competition going on in this industry. It’s estimated to grow further in the coming years. However, operating refrigeration equipment efficiently is a challenge for many retailers today. It helps maintain a low temperature to preserve perishable food products, improving shelf life and reducing spoilage. Ensuring its optimal operation is crucial for retailers.

There has been a rise in retailers catering to online and in-store consumers, especially after the pandemic. It has accelerated the need for innovative technologies that allow retailers to provide efficient services to customers. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a powerful technology that can help the retail industry to implement these changes.

Approximately, 96% of retailers are ready to implement IoT technology in their stores. It does not just optimize the refrigeration process but also helps retailers a competitive edge and gain agility in their operations.

The main challenges faced by retailers in refrigeration equipment operation

Retailers like Supermarkets, hypermarkets and quick service restaurants rely heavily on refrigerators. Any disruption in the functioning of this equipment can hamper the operations.

Here are some of the refrigeration operation challenges faced by retailers today:

1. High operational costs

Refrigerators systems alone consume up to 60% of a retail store’s total energy consumption. Whereas operation, maintenance, and energy costs consume around 90% of the overall life cycle cost of refrigeration.

The average retail store leaks around 25% of its refrigerant charge from equipment every year. It often leads to hefty fines, emergency maintenance interventions, and associated labor costs

2. The incapability of meeting sustainability goals

Meeting stringent sustainability targets related to GHG emissions is crucial for the retail industry. It also includes refrigeration gas leakage reduction. It helps them lower energy costs, understand exposure to the risks of climate change, and demonstrate leadership in the marketplace.

3. Fulfillment of stringent food safety norms

Customer expectations are continuously rising. They are getting aware of healthier and environmentally-responsible lifestyle choices. Providing fresh foods to customers and fulfilling their expectations is crucial for every retailer.

Retailers need to follow food safety norms and good manufacturing practices certified by international organizations. These norms require the low temperature to be maintained in refrigerators to avoid bacteria growth and the rate of enzymatic processes. It puts additional pressure on refrigerating systems. Ensuring temperature monitoring is crucial.

4. Technical shortage

Complex refrigeration equipment requires timely fault detection and diagnosis. A team of experienced service technicians needs to be deployed to perform these tasks. There is a lack of experienced and multi-skill technicians for smarter equipment maintenance. The retail industry may face technical level skill shortages in the future.

How do IoT and AI provide solutions for these challenges?

Retailers need to adopt smarter solutions to overcome these issues. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) have the power to solve these challenges effectively. They make refrigeration equipment smarter than before. At the same time, they constantly monitor, analyze and control operations, manage equipment performance, predict equipment issues, and offer prescriptive recommendations.

Let’s understand how retailers can overcome the above-mentioned challenges of refrigeration operation with the implementation of IoT:

1. High operational costs can be addressed with predictive maintenance-based equipment performance insights. By improving equipment health and operations, it also reduces energy consumption and prevents operation-related issues.

2. Achieving sustainability goals becomes possible with the early detection of refrigeration leakages. With continuous monitoring and alerts from the platform, ensuring energy savings becomes possible even from remote support.

3. IoT ensures continuous monitoring and proactive insights from platforms.

4. Technical skill shortages can be overcome with predictive insights and precise recommendations. The Internet of Things (IoT) gives rise to remote asset management or command centers that standardize the process to ensure corrective actions in refrigeration operations.

It’s time that retailers should realize the role of the Internet of Things in improving the operations of refrigerators. This technology predicts equipment behavior and acts on the predictions or offers prescriptive recommendations in natural language.

Zenatix powerful IoT and AI platform

If you want to bring visibility to equipment health and its operations, reduce unpredicted maintenance costs, ensure standardization in the diagnostic approach and take corrective actions timely, you must look forward to Zenatix IoT solutions. Reach out to us today!

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