7 Challenges for Monitoring and Controlling Refrigeration in Retail Estates and How to Overcome Them

4 Minute Read
7 Challenges for Monitoring and Controlling Refrigeration in Retail Estates and How to Overcome Them

7 Challenges for Monitoring and Controlling Refrigeration in Retail Estates and How to Overcome Them

Effective refrigeration management is crucial for retail estates, especially those dealing with perishable goods like food and pharmaceuticals. Ensuring that refrigeration systems operate efficiently and consistently can prevent product loss, ensure customer safety, and optimise energy consumption. However, achieving this in practice involves navigating several challenges that often vary within different environments and climates.

What are those challenges, and how can organisations overcome them? Read on to find out!


1. Energy Consumption

Refrigeration systems are major energy consumers. In a retail estate, where several units run continuously, the energy cost can be substantial. Monitoring energy usage in real-time and optimising operations to reduce consumption without compromising the cooling performance is a significant challenge.

Leading retailers use the LoweConex Software Platform to implement automated rules at scale that minimise energy consumption asset by asset. The LoweConex Bureau consists of refrigeration specialists with extensive backgrounds in in controlling systems at scale in large estates.

Using proven condition-based logic rulesets, we work to ensure organisations can mitigate energy consumption all while staying within temperature compliance requirements.

2. Temperature Consistency

Maintaining consistent temperatures across all refrigeration units is critical. Fluctuations can lead to spoilage and waste. However, factors such as frequent door openings, varying ambient temperatures, and equipment malfunctions can cause temperature instability.

Temperature instabilities can be detrimental in retail, costing large estates millions in wastage through perishable goods and lost trading time. Ensuring then that refrigeration setpoints can be regularly monitored and controlled dynamically is essential for success.

3. Predictive Maintenance

Predictive Maintenance (PdM) is utilised to minimise the cost of maintenance as it aims to find the best balance between reactive maintenance and preventative maintenance

To enable predictive maintenance organisations need extensive operational performance data, to enable machine learning and AI. Conventionally to now, organisations have utilised operational asset data, but have not aggregated or collected it over time, making the implementation of machine learning impossible.

As technology evolves, organisations need to evolve their tech stacks to stay up to date and ensure they can leverage the latest advancements to reduce works orders and optimise maintenance efficiencies.

4. Data Management and Analysis

Modern refrigeration systems often come equipped with sensors and monitoring capabilities, generating vast amounts of data. Managing this data and extracting actionable insights require advanced analytics tools and expertise, posing a challenge for retail estate operators who may not have in-house data scientists.

5. Regulatory Compliance

Retail estates must comply with various regulations regarding food safety and refrigeration standards, such as those outlined by the Food Standards Agency.

Keeping up to date with changing regulations and ensuring all systems comply adds another layer of complexity to the monitoring and control processes. Moreover, as refrigeration fleets have high energy consumption, they pose a material risk to retailers in light of emerging sustainability regulation and challenges.

To stay compliant with the CSRD, ESOS and the SECR (just to name a few!) retailers need operational performance data to understand consumption impacts at an asset level.

6. Integration with Other Systems

Refrigeration systems need to be integrated with the business estate overall building management systems (BMS) for centralised monitoring and control. This integration can be technically challenging, especially when dealing with legacy systems that may not easily interface with modern BMS platforms.

LoweConex acts as a layer above both BMS technologies and IoT gateways, providing complete connectivity regardless of data source. Having that level of connectivity shatters the complexity of integrations and provides organisations with complete visibility of asset performance.

7. Cost Management

Balancing the costs associated with monitoring and maintaining refrigeration systems against the need to prevent losses and ensure efficiency is a constant challenge. Investing in advanced monitoring technologies and regular maintenance can be expensive, but the cost of not doing so can be even higher in terms of product loss and energy inefficiency.

Check out this case study on how a leading retailer utilises LoweConex to save ~£300,000 per annum on energy costs.

Solutions and Strategies

  1. Implement IoT and Smart Technologies: Utilise Internet of Things (IoT) devices and smart technologies to enhance real-time monitoring and control capabilities. These systems can provide alerts for temperature deviations and equipment malfunctions, enabling proactive management.

See how our IoT refrigeration solution is helping some of the world’s largest retailers, hospitality chains and industrial manufacturers.

  1. Energy Management Systems: Deploy energy management systems to monitor and optimize energy consumption. These systems can adjust cooling levels based on real-time demand, reducing unnecessary energy use.
  2. Regular Training and Protocols: Ensure staff are regularly trained on maintenance protocols and emergency response procedures. Clear guidelines and regular drills can improve readiness and reduce the impact of system failures.
  3. Advanced Analytics: Invest in advanced analytics platforms to manage and interpret data from refrigeration systems. These platforms can provide predictive maintenance insights and optimize operational efficiency. We may be slightly biased, but we think you should give LoweConex a look!
  4. Compliance Management: Use compliance management software to stay updated with regulatory requirements and ensure all systems meet necessary standards.

By addressing these challenges with innovative solutions and strategic planning, retail estates can ensure their refrigeration systems operate efficiently, safeguard their products, and minimize energy consumption, ultimately enhancing overall operational effectiveness.

Book a demo

LoweConex is your trusted estate automation partner. Using our award-winning software platform, we empower businesses’ estates through connected automation at scale.

Using our system, users can connect to any hardware, software, or asset, ingest data from those systems, then connect, monitor and control their estate and assets from remote locations through LoweConex.

With centralised control for refrigeration, temperature control, HVAC, building management systems (BMS), lighting, wet systems and more, your business can actualise change rapidly with automated rulesets that ensure your technology responds instantly to physical changes in surrounding climates.

Trusted by some of the biggest names in retail, hospitality and BMS, LoweConex is helping businesses to reduce spend via energy management, automating reporting capabilities, creating maintenance efficiencies, reducing risk through accurate compliance and giving back control with centralised capabilities and dashboards.

See how it could work for you! Book a call with our team today.