Nowhere in the grocery store is food safety more front and center than in the fresh perimeter, said Josh Williams, team lead for grocery, transportation and logistics for Boston-based SmartSense by Digi.
With a connected IoT platform like SmartSense, Williams said, retailers get 100% visibility into the conditions in the holding environment on those sensitive products, ranging from prepared foods to dairy and produce. With that extra visibility, a grocer can take action when there’s a hidden problem, ensuring quality and reducing shrink.
“By using sensors instead of people, they can redirect labor to revenue producing activities and customer engagement,” Williams said.
Other providers focus on one aspect of the operations in a grocery chain, he added. They may, for instance, offer software or provide networking hardware.
What makes SmartSense different is its holistic approach.
“Our customers rely on our small footprint and easy to install sensors to collect data. But more importantly, our cloud platform works seamlessly with our hardware to provide a single view of their entire chain.”
Anything that grocers track operationally can be done digitally, he added. That includes the temperature in every zone of every piece of equipment, tracking the status of SOPs and other repeatable tasks that have been digitized on SmartSense.
SmartSense also provides advanced analytics to detect common problems and prescriptive workflows that help the grocer resolve these issues quickly without calling a service tech.
“We have a more well-rounded solution than our competition because we can do more to enable our customers for success,” Williams said.
That’s particularly important in the COVID Era, where many operators don’t have enough workers and turnover is at historic highs. When workers are overburdened, tasks get missed. That’s where tools like SmartSense can be crucial.
“Connected solutions can offload many tasks to sensors,” Williams said. “When using an IoT device, you know the data is correct and consistently collected. And once a group of tasks is digitized, managing and analyzing the team performance is easier. New employees come up to speed quickly, and existing employees focus on the most valuable work.”
SmartSense is constantly updating its cloud-based solutions updates to add new capabilities. In 2022, Williams said, SmartSense will expand the power of its analytic tools and add sensor types that provide additional insights for its grocery customers.
“SmartSense has a history of more than 30 years in the connected device space,” he said. “We know how challenging it can be to roll out and maintain IoT networks. We’re proud that the largest retailers in the country have chosen us to be their IoT consultant and partner. They do this because they can’t risk using a fragmented solution that’s not optimized for enterprise retailers.”