R3 Retail Development: A Systematic Approach to Energy Management

R3 Retail Development: A Systematic Approach to Energy Management

CIO VendorRick Ferguson, Chief Engineer & Co-Owner and Suzanne Ferguson, Chief of Operations & Co-Owner

Energy Management Systems (EMS) and Program Implementations may not be rocket science, but they come close. With multiple departments, varying levels of stakeholders, and more than a dozen service vendors to manage, it is no surprise that many facility directors find store-wide and multi-location energy management daunting.

R3 Retail Development makes it their business to streamline the process with its turnkey solutions built on customer needs and enhanced by technology.

R3 Retail Development, owned and operated by Rick and Suzanne Ferguson, excels in unlocking hidden profits in energy management program development and implementation of strategic building controls. In today’s world, building control systems are the conduit to energy management, a core component in a building and business’s success and sustainability.

But simply having an EMS “program” is not enough. Rick Ferguson explains, “The real value lies in determining and understanding the true life-cycle costs and savings of your EMS investment.” Having expert knowledge and insight into how conservation efforts in one area affect other interacting systems is essential to understanding overall costs and savings of an energy conservation strategy.

Rick Ferguson, who founded R3 Retail Development in 2003, began his career on the customer’s side of the fence as a refrigeration engineer for a large supermarket chain. Having performed countless energy studies and refrigeration designs, the foray into energy management programs and building control offerings was a natural progression. “With a focus on bridging the gaps in services offered by competitors, I built the business around servicing needs not met when working with large organizations,” recounts Rick. “My Dad was a consultant and my mom ran her own successful business, they instilled in me the value of always giving the customer more.” This value-added mindset combined with Rick’s love of technology and gadgets carries over to the work environment cultivating a culture that embraces industry change and puts the customer at the core of the business.

Rick is joined at the helm by Suzanne Ferguson, as chief of operations. Suzanne, a process improvement expert with extensive project and program management experience develops, streamlines, and automates the company's processes through technology. Drawing on over 25 years’ experience helping organizations define and implement strategic plans, she helped take the company to the next level. Recently developing the company’s proprietary app, nR3g, she’s established standardized processes enjoyed by staff and customers. This digital infrastructure maximizes the team’s availability to handle large volume rollout projects with consistent results while providing facility managers the much-needed visibility and control over capital projects.

Together, Rick and Suzanne have built a team of energy optimization and building control experts. They have created state-of-the-art tools to support both their employees and their customers in a culture that focuses on customer needs while maintaining family values. When you combine Rick’s engineering expertise, Suzanne’s business savvy and a great team of employees with a customer-centric mindset, you get a winning combination.

The mindset of caring about and listening to customers—from developing operational strategies to investing dollars in technology—drives R3 Retail Development’s expanding portfolio of service and equipment offerings.

We developed nR3g, a custom app, establishing a systematic collaborative approach to help facility directors manage their EMS projects across the nation

Making Business Easy

While energy expenses continue to rise, and companies strive to become leaner and greener, we see an increase in outsourcing Energy Management services. Multi-location capital and retrofit projects are no cakewalk for facility directors. This is precisely what R3 Retail Development resolves; as an extension to the customer’s team, they reduce inherent risks and bridge the gaps while building in transparency, seamless communication, and effective collaboration.

The roles of facility managers continue to evolve. Today, they not only manage facilities but also contribute to the overall strategic value of their organization. With increased performance expectations comes an increased need for transparency, clear audit trails, precise project management, and enhanced collaboration. R3 Retail Development provides facilities managers with the tools to meet these objectives.

“We developed nR3g to create a systematic approach for capital and retrofit projects. It offers facility managers the best visibility and collaboration to ensure project success,” says Suzanne.

With nR3g’s unique and specialized dashboards, R3 Retail Development’s clients can visualize a roll-up of their Key Point Indicators (KPI) needed for business. The firm’s custom nR3g app allows clients to have full visibility of the EMS design, manage projects, and procure customized reports while maintaining secure collaboration with third-party vendors to track issues, share documents, drawings, and deliverables with automated notifications across a portfolio of projects as well as a deep dive into a specific project’s details.

R3 Retail Development provides web-based vendor and customer portals to provide real-time customer-specific information. Gone are the days where facility directors must call multiple vendors to get a project status. With nR3g, projects can be monitored in real time.

Making Energy Management Sustainable

“Making energy management sustainable is challenging, it changes over time. We keep pace with the latest developments, helping our clients achieve their goals year after year and realize the ROI,” says Rick. From ‘concept to completion,’ R3 Retail Development ensures a sustainable energy management program from the initial concept to design, implementation, installation, and post-project service. Multiple vendors become unnecessary.

R3 Retail Development works with organizations who are just beginning their journey towards improved energy efficiency as well as organizations with well-established efficiency and sustainability programs. Finding the right EMS design for maximum savings for each client is what R3 Retail Development does best.

What happens after a project is completed determines whether a project is sustainable and efficient. In addition to robust energy management and equipment installations, R3 Retail Development provides clients with ongoing post-project services for long-term success. These services include ongoing vendor and staff education, vendor security management, and EMS Alarm Triage, which equates to as much as 80 percent savings for maintenance issues that can be handled via remote access over the cost of on-site service technicians.

From a financial return standpoint, R3 Retail Development specializes in utility company and government sponsored rebates and incentives for energy efficiency initiatives–in every state. Rick puts it this way: “We investigate what is available, work with the utilities to manage the paperwork, ensure the equipment on-site meets the requirements of the incentive, and implement it on behalf of the customer.”

A Customer-Centric Mindset

At the core of R3 Retail Development success is their customer-centric culture. Customer centricity is not just a core value; it is what sets the company apart from other EMS service providers. As Suzanne says, “We are transparent, forthright and uphold the highest level of integrity. We work nationwide, yet we are still a small family-owned business with strong family values. We put our customers at the core of our business. We don’t just try to get projects and get them done; we build long-term relationships. As an extension to our clients’ teams, we anticipate their needs and find or develop solutions to respond to those needs, frequently before the customer even expresses what the need is.”

One of the most difficult challenges facility directors face is making sure staff use energy management systems properly. Training can be costly and time-intensive, which is why R3 Retail Development offers each client post-project energy management system controls training, a quick-start guide, and training videos to get the new employees of its clientele up to speed. The company’s focus on customer care is a true differentiator. Suzanne believes that her team’s “on-going services post-project is where customer loyalty and retention are born.”

A Perfect Balance of Left- Brain Strategy and Right-Brain Design

On par with the current technology trends, R3 Retail Development leverages the Internet of things (IoT) to collect information from sensors, analyze that data, and make it actionable to generate value. The best way to add value to that bulk of information is to understand how and where the energy is being spent and enable the devices to work in conjunction. R3 Retail Development reviews data sets in real time to track how each component is performing in relation to the overall system and predict future equipment maintenance issues–both foundational elements for developing operational and human strategies for proactive, continuous improvement.

"We anticipate customers’ needs and respond with solutions, frequently before the customer expresses what the need is"

Sustainable efficiency programs begin with good designs that incorporate strategy, human factors and long-term maintenance needs. R3 Retail Development incorporates these factors at the project onset developing prototype models to enhance construction, ensuring project sustainability and reducing maintenance costs.

Going the Extra Mile to Ensure Success

R3 Retail Development’s strong relationships with its trade partners translate into additional client benefits, like access to new technology. An example is their recent partnership with Software Motor Company (SMC) who manufactures an ultra-efficient motor system that is 20 - 50 percent more efficient than premium motors and offers full IoT connectivity for monitoring performance in HVAC, refrigeration, and pumping applications.

Rick states, “We are very excited to be able to offer our clients this technology creating new avenues for substantial energy savings. We are also planning further development and enhancements to our proprietary software app (nR3g) created specifically for managing large-volume energy efficiency roll-out projects for multi-site retail organizations.” The app provides a customized dashboard and reports, full audit trail, schedule, communications, issue tracking, and partner vendor collaboration across a portfolio of projects as well as a deep dive into a specific location’s implementation.

Moving forward, R3 Retail Development is poised for growth and enhancement of its energy management program to expand its value-added R3-grade services across the nation. In Suzanne’s words, “It is not just about exemplary service. For us it is about putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes, anticipating and responding to customer needs, and simply making it easy for a customer to do business with us.”

- Arijit Sarkar
    November 20, 2018