26 Equipment, Design and Operations Handbook 2016 | www.groceryheadquarters.com
and safe equipment performance has become mandatory. Too
often however, retailers choose their equipment—whether it is
ovens, scales, even refrigeration—based on procurement and
factors related to cost and implementation.
“This ‘cost-focused’ mindset may enable grocers to procure equipment at lower prices, however, companies can
go through these items within a year or two,” says Paul
Hepperla, director, new solutions development and enterprise
product management for Emerson Climate Technologies,
based in Kennesaw, Ga.
Besides tying up precious capital in premature investments,
ineffective, unreliable and aging equipment also leads to
wasted labor resources as retailers conduct redundant training among a consistently turning workforce. For example,
the average turnover rate is 67 percent for part-time retail
employees, according to Philadelphia-based Hay Group.
Without established equipment training programs for new
hires however, department managers are tasked with training
new employees without much support—an issue that affects
safety and compliance.
“Grocers should be approaching equipment with a lifecycle
approach in effort to retain value and better operation levels,”
says Hepperla. “They should also focus on service levels and
equipment. With attention on maintenance and upkeep, performance will be extended, and staff training is reduced.”
STICKING TO THE PLAN
When it comes to investing in new equipment, industry
observers suggest the first step retailers take is developing a
list of pre-requisites based on need. Not surprisingly, equip-
ment that can help reduce labor costs is often at the top of the
“needs” list. “Self-cleaning equipment allows the associates to
focus on activities related to selling more products, as opposed
to manually cleaning out an oven at the end of the day,” says
Brian Zornes, vice president, national accounts-retail for
Alto-Shaam, based in Menomonee Falls, Wis. An extension of
this trend, notes Zornes, is wireless technology, which allows
operators to manage the equipment programs from a central-
ized remote location.
Equally important is the need for equipment that meets
regulatory compliance. Grocers face tremendous pressure
when required to meet certain regulatory or market demands.
“Legacy assets can require grocers to spend excessive capital at one time,” says Peter Kirigiti, retail sales manager for
Mettler Toledo, based in Columbus, Ohio. Ensuring regulatory compliance throughout the entire enterprise, he adds,
lowers shrink values and improves the shopper experience.
Finally, retailers want to invest in equipment that can produce an overall return on investment in a reasonable amount
of time. Grocers are exploring equipment that is scalable and
offers flexible menu options, as well as production expansion
potential. “Retailers should be focused on the lifecycle cost of
this equipment, not just the initial spend,” says Zornes.
CREATING AN INTERACTIVE STORE EXPERIENCE
Armed with these prerequisites, grocers are ready to outfit
their selling floor with equipment that can truly transform
store-level customer engagement. By focusing on improving
their fresh departments, supermarkets are investing in equipment that provides a direct impact on profitability, reduces
shrink and drives department efficiency. Among the top
investment priorities are:
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