For anyone who operates a supermarket in today's economic climate, with its competitive markets and thin profit margins, it's of paramount importance to keep a constant watchful eye on energy efficiency. Energy makes up a sizable portion of any store's budget, so a key profit-driving strategy is to cut down on unnecessary spending and get maximum value out of every dollar allocated to energy.
The decisions that store operators make with respect to refrigeration project management are key in this regard. Refrigeration is a primary concern for supermarkets on a daily basis – it's vital to keep the cold items cold in order to maintain the appearance of product quality and ensure customer satisfaction. In order to keep the budget at peak levels of efficiency, managers should be wary of their refrigeration costs and watch out for any suspicious irregularities.
One shining supermarket example
According to GreenBiz, one example of a supermarket achieving great success with improved project management is the New England chain Shaw's, which invested during the 1990s in an energy monitoring system that helps maintain the stores' physical assets and keep costs under control. Kathy Loftus, Shaw's energy and regulatory affairs manager, told the news source that implementing such a system has easily paid for itself.
"Energy makes up a sizable portion of any store's budget, so a key profit-driving strategy is to cut down on unnecessary spending."
"With this system, we are able to diagnose a problem quickly, and either make a correction remotely through the energy management software, have store management take care of it, or dispatch maintenance personnel with a graphical representation of the problem," Loftus explained.
The company begin to implement the new monitoring system in 1997 and hasn't looked back since. Shaw's objectives were not only to keep expenses under control, but also to perform essential maintenance functions that helped reduce the risk for leaks.
Short- and long-term benefits
The beauty of investing in supermarket maintenance is that it pays off in multiple ways, helping your finances in the short run while also contributing to long-term improvements. For example, in Shaw's case, GreenBiz noted that the energy monitoring system works well for detecting anomalies and addressing them – inefficient screw compressors, hot-water systems that need modification, anti-sweat heaters in refrigeration systems. These elements, however, are just one small part of the bigger picture.
By also helping supermarkets with serious issues such as preventing refrigerant leaks, maintenance does a lot for businesses, helping them ensure customer safety and guarding them against the government sanctions and bad publicity that stem from harmful incidents. In this way, effective maintenance turns out to be a powerful driver of supermarket profitability.