Despite massive layoffs this year, The Great Resignation continues to plague operations leaders. As a result, many businesses have been forced to seek out new ways to maintain performance, and convenience stores are no exception. A recent CStore Decisions and Humetrics HR Benchmarking Survey shows staffing ranks as the top concern for C-store retailers in 2023. So how do stores continue meeting the needs of customers amid labor challenges? The answer is automation and the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT can positively impact a C-store’s business and protect its bottom line. A connected facility harnesses the power of IoT to reduce costs and enhance operational efficiencies. The analytics gathered from a connected facility provide invaluable insight into everything from product safety and equipment performance to decreasing maintenance and increasing profitability. By tapping into the power of automation, C-store owners can rise above labor challenges, deliver a quality experience, and save money.
Why Automation is the Answer
Automating processes enhances operations and reduces administrative burdens on employees. With solutions like Open Kitchen, c-stores can connect, analyze, and control key equipment to automate essential facility functions.
For example, remotely controlled thermostats make it easier to manage heating and cooling costs in smaller facilities like C-stores. In addition, automated texts and emails provide actionable guidance so employees can stay in front of HVAC issues while maintaining a comfortable environment. And with advanced analytics and access to internal HVAC diagnostics, IoT can reduce maintenance costs and help avoid failure.
Automating lighting and heating, ensuring compliance with cleaning and safety practices through the use of a mobile app and workflow templates, and real-time alerts about equipment issues, are just some of the benefits of a connected facility. For hot bars, quick ovens, or shake machines commonly used in C-stores, connected equipment can decrease human error and offer better visibility into operations which drives uptime and profitability.
Reducing Labor Pain Points
Automating workflow management reduces labor pain points and prevents cognitive overload. Alerts, automated checklists, and proper reporting allow employees to focus on what really matters. For example, Open Kitchen can control energy use and temperatures (which helps optimize HVAC performance) so workers are comfortable and less distracted. It can also alarm workers when food is not being stored or prepared at the proper temperatures, which reduces their stress levels.
Another way IoT reduces labor pain points is by making workers feel more confident. Coming in contact with a lot of people at work, especially in a post-pandemic world, can be stressful for employees. Deploying and integrating new technology, like a no-filter air purification system and/or antimicrobial LED technology that greatly reduces bacteria and other unwanted microorganisms, can help keep employees safer.
Ask a member of our team how automation and IoT help reduce labor challenges for C-stores.