Supermarket, convenience store and food service industry professionals gathered in April for the 2013 Emerson Technology in Action Conference to gain insight into best practices and ideas for improving retail facility operations. Attendees at the annual customer event, hosted by Emerson Climate Technologies, a business segment of Emerson heard from industry experts and Emerson speakers on key industry topics.
“Our twelfth annual Technology in Action Conference focused on bringing the key operational decision makers in retail together to exchange ideas and best practices. Changing retail formats, heightened focus on energy efficiency and environmental considerations are driving an increasingly more complex operating environment for our customers,” says Mark Dunson, president of Emerson Climate Technologies Retail Solutions business. “This year’s conference not only focused on new technologies to directly address the issues, but it also highlighted how to leverage the significant amount of operational data available to drive insights to action.”
The three day conference in Savannah featured three interactive panel discussions, which provided attendees with knowledge on different topics including big data, environmentally friendly refrigerant options and the future of refrigeration systems.
The Challenges of Big Data in Facility Management — attendees learned from a panel of leading supermarket, variety and convenience store facility managers about how they are handling ever-increasing amounts of operational data, what key performance indicators they look at today and what insights they are deriving to improve their facilities. National and regional retailers as well as data analytics experts addressed trends, opportunities and challenges for businesses as ubiquitous data collection leads to increasingly-larger data sets. The discussion focused on the following issues:
- Opportunities and challenges with current data analysis processes and reporting;
- how advances in data technology have impacted retail operations and caused shifts in other business areas;
- and current data utilization and visualization strategies for facility operations, including: energy consumption, case temperatures, refrigeration system variables, HVAC management, lighting controls and more.
Synthetic and Natural Refrigerant Options for Supermarkets — refrigerant experts from DuPont, Honeywell International, Star Refrigeration and University of Maryland debated the latest refrigerant options to learn how supermarkets can better manage their bottom lines in this ever-changing regulatory environment. Participants discussed current global refrigerant trends and regulatory updates impacting supermarket end users. Discussion topics included:
- Emerging lower GWP refrigerant options to replace R404A;
- the research and development status for HFO replacement blends and CO2 solutions;
- and the benefits of having a refrigeration management plan in place as companies transition away from R22.
Advanced Supermarket Refrigeration Systems — can refrigeration systems help supermarkets achieve their merchandising, operations and sustainability goals? Refrigeration systems experts from Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration, Hillphoenix, Hussmann Corporation, VaCom Technologies and Zero Zone, Inc. facilitated a lively discussion about:
- Best practices for optimizing new and existing refrigeration systems to operate at full potential;
- how increasingly complex and diverse retailer objectives dictate refrigeration system options
- and the importance of system commissioning and training for installers and maintenance.
Technology in Action Conference general sessions focused on Data-Driven Enterprise Management, Facility Management Technology Evolution and Preventative Maintenance Programs. Popular break-out sessions included Advanced Condition-Based Maintenance, Designing a Grocery Store from Scratch, European Market Refrigeration Trends and Facility Management for Small Format Retail Sites.