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Posts tagged ‘Paul Hepperla’

Equipment Investments for Increased Customer Engagement

I was recently featured in an article for the Grocery Headquarters 2016 Equipment, Design and Operations Handbook. Below are some highlights around in-store equipment investments.

Grocery Headquarters EDO Handbook 2016_cover

We know that the demands of today’s consumers are increasing while their time is decreasing. Food retailers are addressing this trend by focusing their efforts on fresh, specialty and convenient offerings – which has prompted a need to think about the impact on store-level equipment.

In this Grocery Headquarters article, the editor discusses the criticality of the “fourth wall of retailing” – a term coined by the theater industry about the separation between the audience and stage. Grocers are aiming to break down the wall with consumers by focusing on their senses. They want to create “a more interactive, community-centric shopping experience.”

More supermarket consumer engagement is happening in perimeter departments, especially where fresh foods are on display. Safe, efficient equipment is needed and downtime is not an option.

We’ve seen that when retailers use a “cost-focused” mindset to procure equipment at lower prices, it may not last. Grocers should use a lifecycle approach in reviewing equipment to retain its value and achieve better operating levels. With attention on maintenance and upkeep, equipment performance will be extended and staff training costs can be reduced.

To read more about how grocers are investing in equipment and lighting to better engage with shoppers, read the full article here (subscription required).

 For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

Paul Hepperla
Director, New Solutions Development & Enterprise Product Management
Emerson Climate Technologies


Five Advantages of Connected Technology for Contractors

I recently wrote an article featured in Contracting Business discussing a prominent industry trend: IoT and connected technology.

The adoption of new connected technology has a ripple effect in various areas of the industry. No one knows this better than contractors installing and servicing HVACR equipment. From supermarket to convenience stores and foodservice operators, connected technology can help to improve facility operations, reduce maintenance visits and ultimately lead to lower costs and more satisfied customers.


This technology is now being called the Internet of Things (IoT) — a network of products like ovens and refrigerated cases that collectively gather and exchange data — which provides valuable insights to make retail businesses more nimble. In turn, contractors can use this technology to provide better service.

Here are five key advantages:

  1. Quicker, more accurate installations

Many facilities currently use similar systems for HVAC. Including additional connected technology and IoT for kitchen equipment can streamline their capabilities. IoT will save money and time as well, as the technology can provide data about activity and maintenance needs to the contractor. The equipment can then be configured automatically.

  1. Improve customer satisfaction and the bottom line

For regional and national products, IoT will decrease installation time from months to minutes. Instead of contractor visits or program disks or flash drives, IoT allows remote installation. This will ultimately ensure consistency and accuracy across regions. Maintenance will be more virtual as well, and technicians will no longer make onsite adjustments because contractors can monitor and update software remotely.

  1. Achieve efficiencies with remote monitoring and management

In cases when technicians must be dispatched, issues will be triaged and sent to those who can interpret them. This will save time by allowing technicians to bring correct repair equipment, instead of relying on store associates to analyze the problem.

  1. Extended service for additional opportunities

IoT provides service information to ensure that parts are replaced based on their use, not a pre-determined schedule. Detecting service issues early will also prevent them from escalating into more expensive repairs. Finally, the longevity of the client-contractor relationships might allow other item or service needs to be met.

  1. Making insights actionable

The increasing use of connected technologies offers powerful solutions for convenience stores and grocery retailers, and IoT is also causing contractors to become mainstays in the industry.

You can read the full Contracting Business article online here.

For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

 Paul Hepperla
Director, New Solutions Development & Enterprise Product Management
Emerson Climate Technologies

A New Cook in the Kitchen for Foodservice Retailers

In a recent article for, deputy group editor Abbie Westra interviewed two experts from our Retail Solutions team to discuss solutions that bring connectivity to foodservice equipment. Paul Hepperla shares some of the highlights below.

At Emerson Climate Technologies, we’ve been talking about connected kitchen technology as the latest in our offering for foodservice retailers. Dean Landeche, VP of marketing for Retail Solutions, and I sat down with an editor from to discuss how we’re helping foodservice equipment manufacturers bring the Internet of Things to commercial kitchens.

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Seven Actions Retail Facilities Teams Can Take to Improve Store Operations

What can facility managers do to improve their partnership with store operations? This post lists seven actions facilities teams can take which can help both teams succeed.

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Store Operations and Facilities in Retail: Opposites May Not Attract, but They Can Work Well Together

Store Operations and Facilities in Retail

For every decision made by the facilities team in a retail environment – from maintenance and energy to design and construction – store operations are the primary stakeholders in those decisions. So, what is the relationship between store operations and facilities?

These groups may work closely together within some retail organizations, but that is not always the case. While the overall goal for both groups in a retail environment is the same, there are several differences between them that may make it difficult to work together toward that goal. Yet, recognizing these differences and using them to understand how the other group works can result in opportunities to enhance facility processes and improve store operations – and ultimately provide a better customer experience.

In general, one of the biggest differences is that the facilities team works “behind the scenes” and the store operations team is often interfacing directly with consumers. With facility management, the focus is more on capital and finding innovative ways to enhance processes that reduce costs or result in energy savings, while the performance of the store operations is measured by sales. This results in a large amount of external or market-based pressure on operations, while the pressure on facilities comes from within the organization. Store operations professionals often have a sales, marketing or business mindset, while the facilities team is likely made up of professionals with engineering backgrounds. There is often higher turnover within the operations team, and a store director or captain often has a larger team to manage. Operations may consist of about 300 employees, while facilities may have, on average, about 10-20 employees.

Below are six tips for the facilities team to work together with the store operations team to enhance facility processes and improve operations:

  • Engage more. Be more visible and engage with them.Take the time to go out to the stores and engage with the operations team, if you are able to.
  • Use facilities data in their report formats. Ask the store manager to see his/her daily or weekly store report to better understand how the store is measured. Find out the areas they tend to focus on most. Take the facility maintenance and energy data you’ve compiled and provide it to the store team in a format that will fit well in the report shared with their manager.
  • Relate what you do with how they are measured. Take the areas where store operations is evaluated – i.e., total sales, dollars sold per hour worked, average items per sale, margin and shrink – and, if it makes sense, find ways to equate them to case availability, dollars sold per alarm, dollars sold per maintenance hour, margin loss of energy increases and shrink related to refrigeration issues.
  • Educate. Identify opportunities tohelp the store operations team better understand your strategy and processes. Consider implementing an energy awareness program or invest time in store awareness mechanisms. You may post photos for associates to show how to properly stock a case. Sharing infrared images with store directors can help them see when a case has been overstocked, which to reduce customer complaints about cold aisles.
  • Help their staff be efficient. Provide the store operations team with tools and information that can allow them to work more efficiently.
  • Make training easy. Simplify training on facility maintenance processes for store operations. Show them what to do when a problem occurs and explain the way a system works to illustrate why your approach is the best way to relegate the issue.
  • Eliminate nuisance calls and false alarms. This may be the biggest one on the list. Too many false alarms and nuisance calls can harm your relationship with the store operations team. If you are able to ensure that the alarms and calls they receive occur only when an issue needs to be addressed, a store director will place higher importance on the alarms and will see the value your team can provide in improving his/her operations.

The outcome of improved relationships between store operations and facilities drives down costs and improves satisfaction, resulting in a better overall retail environment.

Are you a retail facility manager or engineer? What is your experience in working with store operations? Please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

Paul Hepperla
Director of New Solutions and Product Management, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

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