In the transition to a post-COVID world, the grocery store industry has its work cut out for itself. Not only are sales falling short of projections now that consumers are no longer confined to their homes, but unprecedented inflation, labor shortages, supply chain issues, and stricter net zero legislation bring additional challenges.
This all adds up to increased pressure on Facilities Management (FM) teams to increase efficiencies and reduce energy emissions — goals which are driving this year’s facility management initiatives. To make sure you’re ready for 2023, learn more about the major facilities management trends we expect to see not only this year but in years to come.
2023 Facility Management Trends
1. Energy Monitoring
With rising energy costs and accelerated net zero targets, FM leaders are eager to reduce energy consumption. As a solution, they’re turning to remote monitoring software or EMS (energy monitoring systems), which tracks energy use, refrigeration performance, and refrigerant leakage and alerts facilities teams to spikes in energy consumption. This allows them to take mitigation steps remotely, if possible, or dispatch a technician if needed to address any issues before they turn into excessive power bills.
For example, City’s Spark+ tool is used to monitor temperature conditions of refrigeration units, hot bars, and other food and beverage equipment. Using data received from thousands of energy meters along with live weather data, the system alerts City’s central monitoring team to any anomalies so immediate action can be taken. As a result, City typically achieves a minimum of 10 percent reduction in energy use through EMS systems alone.
2. Predictive Maintenance Technologies
In recent years, the facilities management industry has been exploring new tools to support predictive maintenance. While we’re only just getting started in this promising area, it’s clear predictive maintenance technologies will be a game changer for FM teams.
By allowing FM teams to predict asset failure before it happens, they can cut down on unplanned downtime, save time in the field with more precise diagnostics for technicians, and extend the life of equipment.
Predictive maintenance utilizes specialized tools and technology to monitor the condition and performance of equipment to detect issues before they lead to asset failure. While predictive and preventive maintenance have similar goals, predictive maintenance technology can detect specific problems. Proactive facilities management leaders increasingly use a mix of both preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance technology.
Multiple types of predictive maintenance technologies are being explored, including ultrasound technology, vibration analysis, infrared analysis, laser-shaft alignment, oil analysis, and predictive analytics using artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. City utilizes SOUNDTech+ ultrasound technology, the City branded predictive maintenance tool powered by DST, which has a track record in the field of predicting catastrophic refrigeration rack failure before it becomes an issue with up to 98% accuracy once the tool is programmed.
3. Cutting Costs
Tackling rising supply chain costs — an ongoing issue thanks to inflation, shortages, and labor challenges — continues to be a priority for facilities management teams in 2023.
The key to finding savings opportunities is to analyze spending on a weekly basis. This means looking at the supply chain a continual basis. From making bulk purchases to working with suppliers to order parts for less, there are usually a number of ways to cut back.
Partnering with an FM provider that uses an integrated self-delivery model can also help cut costs thanks to efficiencies resulting from close alignment. This model also achieves demonstrated cost savings through energy management and predictive maintenance technology.
4. Focus on Sustainability
Thanks to stricter net zero standards and increasing consumer awareness, sustainability remains a central focus for retail facilities managers. From installing EV charging stations to reducing emissions, everyone wants to get ahead of the curve. Here are some of the ways FM leaders are going green this year:
- Adding EV charging stations: Due to the passing of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), more and more grocery retailers are adding EV charging stations as a convenience for shoppers. Fast charging stations, which can power up EVs within 15 minutes, are particularly hot.
- Converting to electric fleets: As grocery fleets convert to electric, special EV charging stations are required for delivery trucks.
- Implementing sustainable refrigeration practices: The average supermarket uses thousands of pounds of HFC refrigerant and has a leak rate of about 25 percent of the refrigerant charge every year, according to the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC). Gas containment programs, strong PM programs, and transitioning to lower-GWP refrigerants are all ways FM leaders are reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- LED retrofits: City’s customers see an average reduction of 225-250 KWH per year in 40,000–50,000 square foot facilities. Facilities that haven’t yet updated to LEDs are sure to make the transition in the near future.
5. The Rise of IoT
More and more FM teams are turning to IoT technology to help them make better informed decisions backed by data, streamline work management, and achieve cost savings. In fact, grocery retailers using the IoT can reduce costs by as much as 15 to 30 percent, reports McKinsey.
Some common uses for IoT technology in facilities management include:
- Automating labor-intensive tasks: By automating tasks and processes that are traditionally done manually, IoT solutions can save retailers on labor costs and free up employees to do other valuable work.
- Managing assets: IoT asset management can help grocery stores, superstores, and convenience stores better manage their HVAC and refrigeration systems, which is imperative for protecting perishables and ensuring food safety.
- Improving maintenance processes: By monitoring equipment performance in real-time, facility managers can identify issues before they result in downtime or costly repairs. Additionally, some IoT platforms offer predictive maintenance capabilities, which allow for preventative maintenance measures before breakdowns occur, further reducing downtime and product shrink.
- Optimizing scheduling: IoT technology can help pair the right technician with the right skillset in the right area of town who can respond the fastest and has the right part on their truck for the job.
- Saving energy: Automated HVAC and refrigeration systems controlled by IoT devices can save significant amounts of energy by identifying equipment that’s using excessive energy and automatically adjusting conditions.
The Future of Facilities Management
While the facilities management industry is evolving every day, it’s clear that the future is a self-delivered FM model that focuses on sustainability. Success will ultimately depend on who you choose to partner with in that journey.
At City, we offer a holistic approach to facilities management, which is proven to reduce retail store emissions by at least 25 percent and significantly lower costs. City is the only IFM provider with a 360-degree approach to facilities management. Learn more about our facilities management services.