BMSERVICE company is a major player in the industrial refrigeration, technological, and commercial equipment market. Among our clients are hypermarkets Auchan, Novus, Epicenter - the largest home improvement retailer in Ukraine, Domino's Pizza, Zhytomyr Butter Factory, Azhur Ice Cream Factory, Pervomaisky Milk Canning Factory, Fornetti, Eurobazar market, Stolichny wholesale market, gas stations chain Lukoil. Today BMSERVICE is the general partner of GTInvest in the field of industrial refrigeration. Alexander Makarenko, CEO of BMSERVICE talked with the founder of GTInvest Alexey Prokhorenko, about market trends, building successful communication with customers, the impact of global warming on business, and the latest IT solutions.
- How do things stand now in the industrial refrigeration and commercial equipment market in Ukraine? What are the trends for 2021?
The food retail market will continue to grow steadily. In the next few years, the main activity will remain in convenience stores. A perfect example is the Kolo supermarket chain, which opens 12 new stores a month. Today it has about 200 stores. There is another niche that is occupied by stores with a unique product line, unmatched style, and vibe. The chain of butcher shops Ukrprompostach, cheese, and ham stores HolovaNoga are excellent examples of first-class service, a unique product range, and an approach to doing business.
The opening of new chains is unlikely, but there are exceptions. Epicenter has already set about active expansion in this field. Our company has designed and built up three facilities for them. Nine more projects are in the works, and about 50 supermarkets are due by the end of 2021.
- What about the trends in the industrial refrigeration market? How does the industry develop?
The major trend is the search for solutions to reduce energy consumption. As the temperature rises on the planet, the capacity of the air conditioning and refrigeration industry is increasing, and energy consumption is increasing globally. Over the past years, our company has been offering and implementing projects using multiple energy-efficient technologies and solutions. For us, this is a new dynamic market in which we are making successful steps.
- How do you manage to maintain your leadership in the market?
The foundation of our consistent growth is five simple rules.
First: The product and service must be of high quality. For example, in the industrial refrigeration niche, our large team of specialists works 24/7 throughout the country and is ready to support the client at any time.
Second: Integrity and openness. We must bring efficiency to our client's projects and minimize future risks, and not just sell our equipment at any cost.
Third: Safety first. You can never compromise with safety.
Fourth: Do not be indifferent. We take a proactive stance and demonstrate creativity and innovation working with customers.
Fifth: Social responsibility is the basis of our business. We are implementing energy-efficient technologies to reduce the pressure on our ecosystem.
- What should an entrepreneur pay attention to when he orders commercial refrigeration for business?
We realize that our customers are the owners or representatives of a business, and their goal is to succeed in front of their consumers. This is already an image issue associated with certain risks. Therefore, we recommend paying attention to the following points:
Price: a high price does not always mean quality, and a low does not always mean profit. Focus on pricing efficiency and risk.
Team: the contractor must have a large number of specialists who can back up in the event of an emergency. Their experience and completed project list need to be thoroughly examined.
Comprehensive approach: you should be offered service from the idea and concept to its technical implementation.
- How long does it take to estimate and implement a new project?
Our engineering team is sufficient to perform complex calculations in 6 hours after receiving a well-defined specification from the customer. The project execution may take from three weeks up to three months depending on the complexity and scale of a project.
- One of your customers is Auchan hypermarkets, which entrusted you with the maintenance and reconstruction of all hypermarkets in Kyiv. What are you doing to effectively manage the job, eliminate accidents, and breakdowns?
In Auchan, our company has implemented a dispatching system built on Сarel controllers.
All subsystems are integrated into a single monitoring system using data recording and storage. The monitoring system unit is connected to the Internet providing access from any browser or a mobile phone. You can connect to the Wi-Fi of the monitoring unit in a store's backroom to get direct access to the refrigeration system with different access levels without having to use the mobile internet. All user actions are logged and stored for a specified period.
All equipment accidents are recorded, and notifications about them are automatically sent to the dispatcher of the service organization by email, SMS, or Telegram online messenger. The monitoring system has broad capabilities for reporting on equipment operation. It is possible to schedule automatic email reports to various recipients. For example, a daily equipment performance report, compliance with temperature regimes report for store managers, and a monthly report on the store energy consumption for the owner. You can generate work schedules for a specific period, as well as overlay various schedules, i.e. the work of a refrigeration plant and its consumers. We are talking about a fairly flexible system with strict control.
- How does global warming affect this kind of business?
According to the International Energy Agency, 2,000 TWh of electricity is consumed only by air-conditioning systems, with 4 billion tons of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. It accounts for 12% of the total emissions. Experts predict these numbers to triple by 2050.
Our company takes part in the competition of innovative environmentally-friendly startups under the auspices of UNIDO GCIP Ukraine with the Global Warming project.
The project plan allows for the use of low-potential thermal energy of refrigerant vapors, which are typically emitted into the atmosphere, for heating and hot water purposes.
Possible implementation options:
- Installation of a heat pump (of our design and production) for heating water in the heating system up to 70°C/158° F
- Heat recovery from refrigerant vapors for hot water supply (water heating up to 60°С / 140°F)
- Direct use of refrigerant vapors in air-cooled condensers for room heating.
The company was the first in Ukraine to develop and implement such a project. We have successfully implemented five projects to upgrade the heating and hot water supply system in Auchan, installing heat pumps (a thermal capacity of 150 kW), air condensers, and heat recovery systems.
- The entire world is fighting for better service. How much attention is given to this issue by BMSERVICE?
Service is the foundation of our business, and seven years ago we started with the idea of building a large-scale 24/7 service company in cities with 1 million people and large regional centers. For companies operating in our segment, the service is an excellent add-on for sales.
The deficit of qualified specialists and unwillingness to invest in the training and development of employees brings about poor service. Nothing left to do but to make money selling a product, because it is easier and faster. Only those who have a first-class product and service and have a competitive edge.
- How do you build relationships with clients? What is your secret to success?
The ability to hear the client's needs and adequately respond to them is the premise for the development of our company. At some point, we mastered how to create an effective framework. It enabled us to scale up the business. Today, our 24/7 service covers the entire territory of Ukraine, and we continue to grow. We have implemented and are successfully using uniform service quality standards for our customers. We employ 86 service engineers, and HR processes (staffing, on-boarding, development) have become similar to high-speed racing. We always ask for feedback from our customers and understand that if their feedback is positive, then you need to scale the changes. If negative, then tweak or change. Competition helps to grow and continuously fine-tune our service.
- Tell me about your business processes automation. What IT solutions do you use?
We understand that operational processes are crucial in current conditions - they are the pillar of good service. We are actively engaged in the improvement and automation of internal processes, from accounting to service engineers. At this stage, the company is in the middle of implementing the TASKER Help Desk software, which will fully automate the service department, optimize and streamline the processes. For example, eliminate paper and "manual processes". Clients will be able to single-handedly manage service requests in their accounts, track job status, accept completion reports remotely, and monitor the condition of their equipment.
- What do you want to achieve in your industry?
Our global goal is to be number one in our niche and to become more open, transparent, and understandable for potential investors and business partners. We are already working on the quality of corporate governance, brand recognition, raising credit history. My goal is to go public on a major stock exchange. It's a challenging goal. Now our focus is on increasing our capitalization and operating income, investing profits in our production facilities.