Our very own, Tony Carrella, offers advice to convenience store owners on how IoT monitoring technology can prevent equipment breakdowns during the colder months. Check out his featured story in the winter issue of Convenience & Carwash magazine.
Here is a link to the article:
By Tony Carrella
There is no getting around it! the harsh winter months are upon us!
This can be a difficult season for many business owners, especially operating multiple locations. As the temperature continues to drop, the sun sets a little earlier each night, and as frost becomes a consistent view in the mornings, now is the time to begin preparing and take necessary precautions so your business doesn’t freeze over.
Many business owners can speak to the battle they encounter each year, as they struggle to combat the cold conditions to stay open, especially during below-freezing temperatures. It’s only a matter of time before the streets and roads are filled with slush, snow, and salt. To stay above the competition, and most importantly, maintain safety within the business, there are four must-dos every business owner needs to be aware off to secure their operations, and ride out the coldest winter months with little to no road blocks.
When your operation is a multi-unit, with hundreds of employees and many change-of-hands, having a universal procedure that everyone follows will allow the management team to have better control over the operations. Not to mention, a winterization plan will save money, promote sustainability, and save time. It’s no surprise that the first freeze, many times, comes unexpectedly, so being prepared for that moment will allow your business to avoid downtime, and consistently service your customers.
When owning multiple operations, in different cities or even countries, geographically, it can be challenging, if not impossible, to visit each location, daily or weekly, to ensure the procedures are being followed correctly. Today, there are many different technologies that provide a great deal of assistance that benefit business owners. For instance, an IoT monitoring technology, like Energybox, will automate and simplify processes, providing users with critical real-time alerts, notifications and equipment diagnostics, enabling you to be proactive and eliminate catastrophic losses.
A universal system that can actively monitor many locations simultaneously across the globe not only offers a peace of mind, but it allows owners to monitor many locations and carefully plan out their site visits based on accurate and specific location needs.
It goes without saying that below freezing temperatures, can wreak havoc on equipment such as pumps, drives, and motors. Sustained freezing of equipment can cost operators tens of thousands in repair costs not to mention loss of relative revenues. Every piece of equipment demands to be carefully monitored and serviced so that it works to its optimal potential.
The first, and most important step, to prevent equipment failure, especially in cold climates, is to familiarize yourself with the equipment’s ideal operating conditions and develop processes and procedures in accordance to the specifications. This step can be easier said than done, especially in a multi-location environment where you could be relying on hundreds of different people to execute this task. Multi-unit operators must automate processes and procedures as much as possible. Advancements in technology is simplifying the process by automating critical steps with customized alerts sent directly to the selected parties via email and/or text when the equipment is at potential risk or operating outside of its normal parameters. These days, this can be done at very reasonable costs, and in some cases as a service, thus limiting capital outlay by the operator.
Many drivers rely on carwashes to keep their vehicles in pristine condition, especially during the winter months, to properly remove dirt and salt. A busy operating carwash might require a heated infrared system and insulated doors to prevent frozen water lines and ice buildup. There are several options for owners to choose from, including a forced air system, boilers, and in-floor heat. Regardless of what system an owner chooses, maintaining that the heating system is working properly is key. If the system breaks down, or the bay doors remain open, the pipes can freeze overnight if there is no flow and the water remain stationary inside the pipes. Fortunately, the market offers some great technologies that monitor in real time the status of heating systems, waterflow, ambient bay temperatures, and if the carwash bay doors are opened for more than a prescribed timeframe. A customized IoT monitoring technology system will not only alert the store personnel and regional management of critical scenarios but will also provide management and ownership with live historical tracking and remediation accountability. This type of alert system acts to prevent costly failures.
Prepare for Power Outages
Mother Nature is unpredictable, and snow mixed with icy weather conditions is unavoidable. Sometimes, a snowstorm can be so damaging that it leads to power outages. An automated system that provides alerts in real-time will give you the advantage of knowing if a location has lost power, which is especially valuable if the loss of power occurs during closing hours.
Another great option is to invest in an automatic generator. Within seconds of a utility power outage, an automatic generator will start and begin supplying power to important equipment, like a heating system to prevent equipment failure and damage.
A universal protocol, maintaining optimal storage temperatures, and having a backup plan for unforeseeable situations, will save precious resources.
Tony Carrella is the co-founder and SVP at Energybox, the digital global leader that specializes in IoT monitoring and data analytics technology. To learn more about how to live track your key equipment performance in real-time, visit https://www.energybox.com/.