Since 1993, Innovative Refrigeration has served the cold storage industry through its ever-evolving platform of state-of-the-art technology, energy saving solutions, and innovative designs.
In 2016, it’s no different for the company, which has grown its business to include customers from all over North America. Mike McGinnis, CEO of Innovative Refrigeration, and John Stoklosa, Vice President of Engineering, sit down to talk about the many different aspects of their company that allow them to truly live up to their name.
In 2016, the world of industry has not only become increasingly competitive, but complex as well. With the regulations of federal agencies like OSHA and the EPA continuously evolving—sometimes on an annual basis—companies are finding themselves scrambling to keep up with the new rules in their industry while still finding ways to be more productive and profitable than ever.
It’s a reality that Innovative Refrigeration knows all too well. After all, much of the company’s main customer base hails from the cold storage and food processing industries in North America.
And yet, as evidenced by the first word in their name, the company has grown over the years to become a leader in the design, manufacture, fabrication, and installation of customized products for their clients, providing continued service for their clients long after the initial sale. “We do it all here, providing a turnkey solution for our customers that all happens under one roof,” says McGinnis.
Expanding to the Web
But more recently, the company has taken its innovative pursuits to a whole new level, designing and developing web-based applications focused on alleviating issues their clients have regarding OSHA and EPA PSM/RMP utility. “In developing these applications, it’s not just about helping our customers maintain compliance with their regulations, but also providing them with a platform that enables them to get out ahead of such and actually save their company significant amounts of money,” says McGinnis.
Specifically, McGinnis is talking about Innovative Refrigeration’s current offering of four different types of applications that both he and Stoklosa agree allows their customers to truly “take control of their facility.”
Let’s start with ePSM. An Internet-based process safety and risk management program, this resource makes compliance with EPA and OSHA regulations much easier through its power reporting tools, action trackers, and maintenance reminder functionality. “By creating ePSM, we have provided a digital method of data archival and retrieval while significantly decreasing the amount of time it takes to create PSM and RMP programs,” says Stoklosa.
But how exactly does it work? Innovative Refrigeration’s technicians assist the client from the beginning in developing their PSM and RMP programs while providing comprehensive training on how to use the software applications. By digitizing their PSM and RMP documents, companies are able to adapt and comply with OSHA and EPA regulations much easier, as the dynamic nature of the software updates itself whenever there is a change in regulations made. “Users receive unlimited digital inspection records, and are provided with automated reminders, deadlines, and notifications to help keep them up to date on what is a very important aspect of their company and its success,” says Stoklosa.
Next is Innovative’s eCompliance tool, a web-based application that allows users to securely document Freon inventory, recovery, disposal, maintenance, and reclaiming as required by the EPA’s Clean Air Act. Serving as a centralized refrigerant management system that includes data storage and reporting tools tailored to current EPA regulations, the eCompliance app makes any company’s compliance program easily understandable for operators, technicians, safety manager, and supervisors. “With this app, all facilities are integrated into the same format, reducing costs, and increasing the efficiency of personnel as well as the reliability and sustainability of a customer’s nationwide compliance programs,” says McGinnis.
Then there is eConserve, an energy management system designed with the goal of helping companies achieve energy efficiency and cost-reduction at their facilities. “This was created to address what has become a very important issue in today’s world of industry—how a company can better reduce their energy consumption and save money,” says Stoklosa.
The eConserve app works by communicating with a data-logging device installed at a customer’s facility, where Innovative Refrigeration’s highly skilled team of technicians and engineers can interpret the signals and design new cost savings programs as appropriate. “You’re getting daily monitoring, day-to-day energy trend analysis, utility bill metric analysis, meter and weather monitoring, and much more,” says Stoklosa, adding, “Ultimately allowing a company to be as efficient in its operations as possible.”
Finally, there is the company’s maintenance tracking program called eService, a centralized location where companies can access all of their service records, troubleshooting initiatives, and work orders at once. “The eService program improves a company’s maintenance visibility and significantly helps them track costs, hours, and parts, ensuring that their facilities are running the way they need to be,” says McGinnis.
Savings For Sysco
Between Innovative Refrigeration’s ePSM, eCompliance, eConserve, and eService applications, customers in the cold storage and food processing industries are truly receiving the whole package. In fact, to further examine the kind of impact they can have on a company’s success, McGinnis and Stoklosa point to Sysco Foods, one of North America’s largest distributors of food products who in 2014 sought Innovative Refrigeration’s help in how to go about implementing and sustaining a successful PSM/RMP program across their vast number of facilities.
“They came to us and said, ‘we have PSM programs for our facilities, but many are missing documents, training programs, lack of follow upon tasks,’” says, McGinnis, adding, “The issues were endless for them, and they weren’t really able to verify anything until it was completed.”
Additionally, there simply weren’t enough resources and dedicated personnel to watch over and monitor the company’s existing PSM/RMP programs. The end result? Many sensitive items were being overlooked, incomplete, or simply forgotten.
For Innovative Refrigeration, the solution was an easy one. “They needed a corporate-wide program that was web-based, so we showed them our ePSM application and took it from there,” says McGinnis. With the ePSM tool, Sysco was able to standardize all of its facilities to one process for all selections of PSM, providing customized program links, tasks & alerts, documentation of missing PSM, employee training, and greater contractor safety. The app also allowed for OSHA and EPA regulators and auditors to have access to Sysco’s PSM/RMP records, giving them a simple and efficient method of recording and reporting on compliance.
The outcome was huge. “From 2009 to 2012, proposed fines for Sysco averaged $60,000 per audit, with three audits a year,” says McGinnis, “But after adopting our ePSM app, those fines dropped to $100 an audit, with 30 audits per year.” That’s right, Innovative Refrigeration’s tools were able to save Sysco over 99.8 percent in fines in just one year while greatly increasing their level of compliance and safety.
Examples like this speak to why Innovative Refrigeration is where it is today, operating as a company that is always thinking about the bigger picture, one that always keeps its customers and their ever-evolving needs at the center of such. And while innovation itself is something that a lot of companies claim to foster nowadays, this company takes it to an entirely different level.