Advanced energy management helps grocery chains stay competitive

By Switch Automation • October 5, 2017

The birth of the supermarket in the 1950’s streamlined convenience for consumers and shifted their focus to savings. Cost then became a key differentiator and remains one today. It’s hard to scan the latest headlines without reading about encroaching price competition from foreign chains or a major acquisition by a large retailer. Grocery chains are seeking out creative ways to get an edge, and operating more efficiently with advanced energy management has caught their eye.

Now more than ever, grocers are looking for ways to drive operating costs down while increasing profits – and next-generation energy management software is providing the answer.

Learn how grocery chains are saving on operating expenses. Watch the video!


Savvy operators know that controlling energy costs can increase profits in the same way that lowering prices attracts more sales. The U.S. EPA estimates that every $1 in energy savings is equivalent to $59 in increased sales. Thin profit margins -1% according to the EPA– are contributing factors. But, generating energy savings can be easier said than done.

advanced energy management refrigeration

Leveraging energy management isn’t a new concept within grocery chains. They spend an average of $4 a sq ft on energy–mostly consumed by refrigeration, HVAC and lighting. As new devices become available, energy managers continue to install the latest controllers, sub-meters and sensors with the hope of savings advantages. The challenge with all this technological advancement is that it’s happening fast and in silos. With each new device, comes another system to monitor and manage. Conspicuously absent is a way to integrate ALL the systems, sub-systems and devices that help facility teams understand where inefficiencies exist at the equipment, store and portfolio level. In short, they’re so busy gathering data from various places, they don’t have time to combine it, analyze it and act on it. Often, they’re missing critical pieces of the puzzle that point to root causes and lead to huge savings.

Could your portfolio benefit from advanced energy management?

Thankfully, the Internet of Things (IoT) offers a solution. It’s no secret that data is valuable and grocery organizations are working hard and fast to figure out how to mine it. Many successful operators have turned to smart building programs, versatile by way of their interoperability, rather than a conglomeration of one-off applications. Here are a few questions to ask when considering implementing a smart building platform to optimize store performance:

  1. Am I able to see all my store(s) operations in real time?
  2. Can I track persistent problems and identify the root causes?
  3. Can I view, analyze and control my store performance from a single place?
  4. Can I measure cost implications of a problem, a new piece of equipment or a change I made?
  5. Can I validate repairs that my vendors made were effective?

The grocery landscape will become increasingly competitive as major industry players force each other to drop their prices to win customers. The questions above will help illuminate visibility gaps and demonstrate whether or not a smart building program could add value to your organization’s operation. A connected, interoperable portfolio of stores creates an environment where centralized teams can reduce the amount of maintenance emergencies that arise every day, creating a systematic and proactive approach to examining operational trends.

If you’d like to learn more about gaining a competitive edge from advanced energy management, we’re hosting a free webinar on October 18th at 11 am PDT to explain how grocers are integrating siloed systems.

Want to find out how to save 15% on energy and maintenance? Watch the video!



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