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Exclusive Q&A: Rite Aid, Giant Eagle ensure product safety with IoT

IoT sensing solutions can help streamline food and medication safety monitoring.

Internet of Things (IoT) sensing technology automates compliance with regulations regarding environmentally sensitive products.

Chain Store Age recently spoke with Summer Kerley, VP of clinical services and business development for Rite Aid Corp., and Victor Vercammen, VP of risk and chief compliance officer of Giant Eagle Inc., about the benefits that IoT sensing solutions can provide pharmacy and grocery retailers.

Both executives focused on the importance of IoT’s ability to streamline the monitoring of environmental conditions that can impact the quality and safety of products such as food and medications. They also specifically discussed how their organizations utilize SmartSense IoT solutions.

Summer Kerley (Rite Aid)
What benefits can IoT sensing technology provide pharmacy retailers in general?
Pharmacy retailers need to identify temperature fluctuations within their refrigeration assets to help them protect the stability of medications and maintain proper storage temperatures. IoT-enabled automated temperature monitoring enables continuous protection and compliance maintenance.

In the event of a power outage, remote monitoring provides complete visibility into temperature and humidity performance and corrective action execution, as well as the length of time of detected temperature excursions. Batteries ensure that remote measurements continue during time without power, maintaining a continuous log for up to 30 days that provides critical data for compliance and product preservation decisions.

Automated reports and real-time alerts significantly reduce the effort of maintaining enterprise-wide compliance, which gives time back to pharmacists to focus on what they do best: interacting with and caring for their customers.

Overall, IoT sensing technology helps pharmacy retailers save time and money on simplified management, receive real-time alerts when a temperature excursion is detected, and improve customer safety by guaranteeing medication efficacy.

How does Rite Aid use IoT sensing technology?
At Rite Aid, we deployed SmartSense’s IoT technology in over 2,400 sites to monitor medication stability, ensure customer safety, and reduce product loss. We needed a digital solution to enable continuous monitoring of our medications and vaccines to meet or exceed FDA and Board of Pharmacy regulations.

With SmartSense, we enhanced our visibility into how temperature excursions affected our medications by implementing three key capabilities, including improved compliance management by maintaining and documenting proper storage temperatures with regulatory requirements

We also gained real-time alerts for temperature excursions at multiple levels of management and guaranteed medication stability, which in turn reduced product loss.

[Read more: Rite Aid aims for end-to-end supply chain visibility]

Victor Vercammen (Giant Eagle)
What benefits can IoT sensing technology provide grocers in general?
IoT sensing technology gives grocers like Giant Eagle the ability to monitor food temperature, humidity, and equipment day in and day out, and provides every store with actionable insights that improve quality control, worker productivity, and food safety compliance.

This is especially helpful in cases of power outage. IoT-based temperature monitoring technology also bolsters food freshness and quality by sending real-time alerts and automated reports when a temperature or humidity excursion is detected allowing us to react quickly to make needed adjustments.

How does Giant Eagle use IoT sensing technology?
At Giant Eagle, we leverage SmartSense’s IoT sensing technology to protect our 215 in-store pharmacies, and rely on the technology to provide digital task management support across 175 of our 200-plus Giant Eagle and Market District supermarkets, as well as 92 of our more than 250 GetGo café and market store locations. We expect the number of active locations to grow in the coming months.

We have deployed SmartSense digital temperature monitoring devices to monitor our critical food assets at the point of product remotely, automatically, and continuously. The IoT-based temperature and humidity monitoring technology bolsters food freshness and quality by providing automated reports and real-time alerts.

In addition, Giant Eagle uses the SmartSense Digital Task Management solution for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) compliance of prepared food products. Using an intuitive wireless probe, we measure the required temperature through the process of warming and cooling and the system logs the user, timeline, and menu items for compliance purposes.

[Read more: Giant Eagle remotely ensures product freshness with IoT]

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