Before the doors open at the AHR Expo on February 4,join usat 8 a.m. for an interactive E360 Breakfast discussion on HVACR refrigerants and regulations. You’ll hear about several industry trends to keep your eyes on over the next few years.
Refrigerant regulations are in constant flux, making it extremely difficult to stay current on the latest changes and information. Emerson’s regulation experts, Rajan Rajendran and Jennifer Butsch will highlight some of the latest regulatory updates and refrigerant options to help get you up to speed.
In addition, Emerson’s Ken Monnier will explore several industry trends that could potentially impact you over the next decade.
During this interactive discussion, you’ll have opportunities to ask some of your most pressing questions and share thoughts on measures that attendees might leverage to address today’s challenges.
Tuesday, February 4 Orange County Convention Center
8 – 9:30 a.m. Room: W205 (West Concourse), Level II
9800 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
Afterward, you’ll be ready to hit the AHR Expo floor. We hope your first stop is the Emerson booth (#2101), where you can take a close look at some of our exciting technologies:
Copeland™ AWEF compliant condensing units for walk-In coolers and freezers — take energy efficiency regulations out of the equation with condensing units certified to meet AWEF requirements.
Copeland Scroll™ Digital Outdoor Refrigeration Unit, X-Line Series — learn how precise temperature control and significant energy savings are made possible with latest innovation in variable capacity modulation technology.
Copeland™ Modular Indoor Solution — see how our AHR Innovation Award finalist provides an all-in-one micro-distributed solution for food retailers, restaurants and convenience stores with display cases and walk-in boxes.
Supervisory Controls — learn why retailers large and small rely on this total-facility platform to monitor, optimize and control their refrigeration systems, HVAC, lighting and more.
Connect+ Enterprise Management Software — get an inside look at our newest IoT-enabled software suite designed provide advanced operational efficiencies across a multi-site retail network.
Register now to reserve your seat at this informative, idea-filled E360 Breakfast — a great way to start your day at AHR!
Paul Hepperla | Vice President, Solutions Strategy – Cold Chain
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
In 2019, Emerson hosted an in-depth E360 panel discussion on automating the commercial kitchen. The panelists, a cross-section of industry experts, proposed valuable insights on the potential that automation and connectivity offer commercial restaurants. In the second article of this three-part series, I summarize their thoughts on building the business case for internet of things technologies and tackling common challenges. You can read the full article here.
Internet of things (IoT) technologies are steadily making inroads in the commercial kitchen landscape. And that’s posing a set of challenging questions for quick-service restaurants (QSR) eager to benefit from the cost savings and improved quality control that a connected kitchen can deliver.
For this reason alone, building a sound business case for IoT technologies is critical. The process is an excellent opportunity to tackle difficult questions at the front end to avoid costly pitfalls during — and after — implementation.
Ensuring data is actionable
As we discussed in our first article in this series, IoT technologies offer tremendous potential to reduce labor costs and improve food safety. But before QSRs invest in new technologies, they must first ask how serious their operators are about actually using data.
This is one of the most important questions to ask, because applicability must always be the defining feature of every IoT investment. As more equipment comes online and the number of data points expands, store managers will have access to a staggering amount of data that they don’t have the time or skillset to interpret. To be useful, the data must be paired with simple alerts or other actionable information that operators can quickly and easily act upon.
Determining data ownership
As they build their business cases, QSRs must also determine who will own the data. Most often, this will be the foodservice corporation, the franchisee or the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Issues can arise when the owner of the data doesn’t see much advantage in sharing with others.
However, making the data accessible to all three parties may prove beneficial to each. Sharing information between the corporation and the franchisee could identify new avenues for cost savings. OEMs could use the information to make ongoing improvements to their equipment. And opening up access to source and derived data could lead to a reduction in service calls and lower service warranty costs.
Simplifying the user experience
The user interface is another consideration that QSRs need to factor in early on. Most QSRs source their equipment from multiple manufacturers, which makes uniformity a challenge. Any efficiencies captured through connected equipment could potentially be undone if operators are forced to log into and navigate multiple interfaces in order to access data.
Some QSRs, such as Wendy’s, are creating custom interfaces which share a common look and feel. This allows employees to share the same user experience, no matter which equipment interface they are accessing. Conversely, QSRs can opt to invest in a common interface that consolidates data for all equipment types and brands in one place, under one login.
Room for improvement
One area that still needs refinement is servicing. IoT technologies should be providing technicians with a trove of information. Yet whether it’s because the data is too siloed or because IoT is relatively underdeveloped in commercial kitchens, the benefits to servicing are falling short. Still, as the technology matures, productivity gains for servicing and maintenance will come to light as well.
Emerson’s product development expertise is moving the industry closer to a true plug-and-play approach by simplifying connectivity and developing application program interface (API) strategies. Our goal is to provide intuitive, streamlined access and information that operators can act upon so they can achieve their business objectives, protect their brands, and drive greater cost savings.
In the next and final article in this series, we’ll delve into the future of automation in the commercial kitchen and dig into the emerging challenges of data security and connectivity protocols.
Paul Hepperla | Vice President, Solutions Strategy – Cold Chain
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
In 2019, Emerson hosted an in-depth E360 panel discussion on automating the commercial kitchen. The panelists, a cross-section of industry experts, proposed valuable insights on the potential that automation and connectivity offer commercial restaurants. In the first article of this three-part series, I summarize their thoughts on how automation is shaping labor efficiency and food safety. You can read the full article here.
Automating the commercial kitchen is not a new concept. But as the adoption of internet of things (IoT) technologies accelerates, commercial restaurants are looking at a future where automation will more effectively deliver on their top priorities: reduced labor costs and improved food safety. The key for quick-service restaurants (QSR) will be investing in solutions that actually address what matters most to their operations.
Driving greater labor efficiencies
Thus far, the foodservice industry has had great success with using automation to enhance human labor. In the near future, the goal of automation will be to begin to replace human labor. Connected equipment and related technologies hold the potential to not just eliminate steps, but to automate manual processes. As a result, QSRs will be able to shift from saving minutes here and there to reducing their actual headcount.
That’s not to say that the entire labor force will be replaced by touch screens and robots anytime soon. Rather, automating repetitive processes and universally undesirable tasks will enable employees to focus on higher-value activities. Enterprising QSRs could even use automation to improve employee satisfaction and retention by integrating incentives into everyday tasks.
Improving food safety
Automation will increasingly play an omnipresent role in food safety. This is welcome news for QSRs complying with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). For example, by automating food temperature documentation, QSRs will have greater confidence that the work is done correctly and consistently.
To fully benefit from automation, QSRs will need to integrate both hot side and cold storage areas. Doing so will provide operators with a real-time, end-to-end view of food safety, from storage to preparation to delivery to customers. Over time, the aggregated data can be used to further improve efficiencies and identify energy management cost savings.
Staying focused on long-term value
As the evolution of the commercial kitchen comes into view, it’s easy to get swept up in the possibilities and promise of emerging IoT technologies. But QSR operators need to look beyond the novelty and focus on real-world applicability.
A new high-tech solution may promise to improve operations through automation. But will it promote or detract from the customer experience? Will it deliver long-term, sustainable labor savings or just reallocate existing staff to different assignments? Above all, will it actually mitigate the risk of fines, bad press and reputational harm resulting from a food safety issue?
Likewise, operators need to determine what they will do with this abundance of data. The information is useless if it’s not attached to an actionable plan. And that means humans cannot be completely removed from the equation — yet.
At Emerson, we’re asking these questions on the front end to derive valuable business outcomes from all automation and connectivity initiatives. Our goal is to help operators capture the real-time data they need to ensure that food is safely stored, prepared and cooked. Our Cooper-Atkins solutions support critical food safety initiatives by automating temperature monitoring throughout the cooking and preparation processes. And as more of these processes are automated, QSRs benefit from enhanced productivity on the human side.
In our next article, we’ll delve into the business case of IoT technologies and the challenges involved with data ownership, user interfaces and servicing.
For large retailers with multi-site store networks, there are significant advantages to using alarm management services and enterprise software — from reducing operational costs and preserving food quality and safety to lowering maintenance costs and improving energy efficiency. In a recent E360 Webinar, Best Practices in Enterprise and Facility Optimization, I talked with Scott Fritz, Emerson’s director of enterprise services & IT operations, about the keys to maximizing performance in these critical areas. View the webinarin its entirety and continue reading to learn more.
The process of managing assets, food inventories, service requirements and energy efficiency at an enterprise level involves a variety of stakeholders, including store managers, service technicians, alarm technicians, facility managers, energy managers and food safety managers. Companies need both the proper tools and strategies to effectively coordinate these resources and manage their collective efforts.
The following four best practices are designed to leverage enterprise software and services to help your company achieve its critical business objectives.
1. Gain a centralized view of operations. Today, multi-site retailers are tasked with managing large asset and equipment portfolios — such as aging HVAC, lighting and refrigeration systems — and an ever-increasing number of “smart” assets connected via the internet of things (IoT). Enterprise software offers a centralized view and management of these critical assets, enabling remote support, user access controls and network-wide broadcast of changes (such as refrigeration and HVAC setpoints and lighting schedules).
By optimizing facilities management and controlling setpoint data, large enterprises — such as a supermarket with 250 sites — can achieve up to $1M annually in operational labor savings.
2. Establish effective alarm management. Keeping a network of sites and their assets performing optimally requires the abilities to mitigate costly failures, save energy, and ensure food safety. But with virtually thousands of issues to sort through at any given time, this is no small task. Alarm management services allow companies to filter out the noise of countless non-essential alarms and prioritize critical issues. These timely and pertinent notifications accelerate issue resolution and prevent their potentially negative consequences.
For example, by avoiding food loss and delaying the “shrink” of perishable items, companies can save more than $2M annually.
3. Enable remote access. Service technicians and maintenance teams are running increasingly lean, with a scarcity of available new talent to replace an aging workforce. Enterprise software enables remote field connectivity to service issues via intuitive software that can be accessed on handheld computers and mobile devices. Having access to this data helps technicians evaluate and troubleshoot issues remotely — often eliminating the need for service calls (i.e., truck rolls) — while serving as a real-time training tool for new technicians.
The reduction of unnecessary truck rolls and service calls across an enterprise can save up to $1.5M annually.
4. Automate setpoint and energy management. Facilities managers are under increasing pressure to meet myriad day-to-day commitments — all while trying to achieve their profitability targets and reduce their liabilities and risks. Enterprise software with predictive analytics capabilities can help automate the compliance of critical operating parameters — such as refrigeration and HVAC setpoints — and deliver insights that facilities managers can leverage to make informed decisions.
By deploying setpoint management tools that ensure continuous commissioning of equipment and establishing processes to maintain optimal energy levels, companies can achieve up to a $2.7M reduction in annual energy spend.
By following these four best practices, companies can transform the productivity, energy efficiency and overall optimization of their enterprise operations. Emerson has the enterprise software, alarm management services and domain expertise to help large supermarket and restaurant chains optimize their multi-site store networks. View this webinar in its entirely to learn more.
Amy Childress | Vice President of Marketing & Planning, Cargo Solutions
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
The cold chain in perishable food distribution is a complex and delicate thing. Just one hour out of optimum temperature range can have significant impact on a product’s shelf life. More serious cold chain lapses can pose waste, food safety and environmental issues, causing businesses and entire industries financial and reputational harm. At the E360 Forum in Houston last fall, I shared common cold chain pitfalls, real-world case studies and best practices for successfully navigating this complicated process. Read more below, then view the full E360 Forum presentation.
Those blueberries on your cereal? They’re from Chili. That orange? South Africa. Today’s food travels incredible distances to get to you. And behind your grilled salmon supper, there’s a dizzying array of complex cold chain management and monitoring that needs to happen to get it to your table — safe and tasty.
Industry experts say that from farm (or ocean) to your fork, there can be as many as 15–20 transfer points (hand-offs) in the cold chain process, encompassing trucks, containers and even planes. Each stop increases the risk of food safety incidences, spoilage and lost profits.
What’s at stake when the cold chain breaks?
Food and resource waste
One of the more frustrating things to me is the amount of time, money and resources spent producing food and getting it to where it needs to go — only to have it spoil by the time it gets to the point of sale. Think of all the work, expenses, fuel and greenhouse gas emissions it requires to get product from California to the East Coast. When there’s a break in the cold chain, all of that time, effort and money could potentially be lost.
According to Food Foolish by John Mandyck and Eric Schultz, the amount of food waste in the supply and distribution of food is staggering. They estimate that:
1 billion metric tons of food is lost or wasted each year
One-third of food produced each year is never eaten
800 million people in the world are chronically hungry
In addition, food waste has a devastating impact on the environment in terms of water waste and the creation of greenhouse gases. Mandyck and Schultz go on to say: “If food waste were a country by itself, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China and the U.S.”
I don’t need to tell you there’s big money in each trailer transporting food commodities across the country and around the world. If there’s a break in the cold chain, the financial impacts can be painful. Check out the food value estimate per truckload:
Beef — $150,000 to $250,000
Poultry — $60,000 to $225,000
Pork — $80,000
Strawberries — $20,000
Bananas — $16,000
Food safety and public health
According to the CDC, about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. Not all issues are directly attributable to compromised cold chain processes. But with elevated temperatures, a very small situation can grow exponentially in a very short time. By properly managing temperature, you can mitigate and isolate a potential food incident before it can spread.
Conquering the cold chain
We know what can go wrong when temperatures aren’t right. But how can broken links in the cold chain be prevented? To answer that, here are a few best practices for facilitating good temperatures in transit.
Start with appropriate pre-cooling processes. Remove field heat from product as soon as possible, pre-cool containers, and “pulp” or take product temperature to ensure it’s at the correct setpoint.
Follow proper loading practices for optimal air circulation.
Establish and communicate proper transport temperatures; pay attention to mixed loads.
Employ independent temperature-monitoring devices and proper placement procedures.
Check temperature history and place immediately into cold storage at the distribution center.
Transport from the distribution center to the retailer needs to be closely monitored as well. In fact, this is one of the areas where we see the most breakdowns: the transfer at the final point of sale. Deliveries typically come in very late and perishables are not put into cold storage quick enough.
Baked bananas and blockchain
One of our customers recently shared a story about a load of bananas they received. The retailer was using one of our real-time monitoring devices and knew before the containers were unloaded that bananas had basically cooked in transit. Armed with real-time temperature data, they declined the shipment, saving $28,000 on two loads — loads they may have previously accepted.
Digital time and temperature loggers, real-time trackers with proactive alerts have been a part of perishable loads in transit for years. As illustrated by the story above, they have been instrumental in identifying temperature flux and allow retailers and suppliers to be more preventive and proactive.
Emerson is leading exciting developments in analytics based on aggregated data from these devices. Vast amounts of in-transit time, location and temperature intelligence are now stored in the cloud — and can be tapped for deeper cold chain insights on best routes, carriers, shipping lanes and suppliers.
Another technology getting a lot of industry buzz is blockchain. (It’s not just for cryptocurrency.) Blockchain offers an incredibly secure platform to share deep and detailed data across all the supply chain players. It lets disparate, previously siloed, entities share common, unalterable data on a common framework. We’re currently working with IBM to create food freshness applications and shelf-life predictors that could be shared across the blockchain platform. And that’s only the beginning.
To hear more best practices, cold chain success stories and even a few cautionary tales, be sure to view the full E360 Forum presentation here.
Commercial & Residential Solutions is a global innovator of energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions for residential, industrial and commercial applications. www.climate.emerson.com