As managers of supermarket businesses seek to maximize profits, one factor they need to carefully consider is the effect of refrigeration on the quality of their products. Maintenance for physical assets can account for a sizable portion of a retailer's budget, but it's worth every penny. A good refrigeration infrastructure means a healthy inventory, which means more sales and higher revenues.
"A good refrigeration infrastructure means a healthy inventory."
Managers need to think strategically about the choices they make in refrigeration design and installation. Specifically, one topic that's being hotly debated these days is beverage units. Stores devote a lot of resources to refrigerating milk, juice and other drinks that must stay in pristine condition to be sold. Are they doing the best they can – and minimizing expense all the while? There are a lot of angles to consider.
Reducing charges in refrigeration
One of the primary issues with beverage refrigeration today, according to ACHR News, is that supermarkets' current strategies often demand too much refrigerant charge for too little effect. This was the subject of a research paper published at the University of Illinois, entitled "Refrigerant Charge Reduction in Small Commercial Refrigeration Systems."
The Illinois paper explained that most of the charge used to refrigerate beverages is retained in the condenser and liquid line, and a great deal of this refrigerant goes to waste. Strategic changes can be made to limit this waste, according to the study.
"Based on the model prediction, flattening the finless round tube of the heat exchanger to some proper extents is a simple way to reduce charge without penalizing the system performance," the Illinois experts stated.
The objective is to get the same value without wasting refrigerant, labor, money or any other resources. It can be done.
Limit shrink, maximize profits
An ongoing goal in supermarket maintenance is to reduce "shrink" – potential profit that's squandered because of products that go to waste and are no longer sellable. There's reason to believe that with better beverage refrigeration, retailers can indeed put a dent in their shrink issues.
According to Food Logistics, there are a number of potential strategic changes that supermarkets can make where shrink is concerned. The industry publication noted that temperature can vary greatly inside a single storage room, container or truck, and the key is to monitor temperature control and use just enough refrigerant to keep a consistent atmosphere that will ensure high-quality beverages.
This requires an investment, but it's one that will pay off as retailers enjoy stronger sales and more satisfied customers. This is the essence of profit-driven maintenance.