When it comes to maintaining perishable inventory, you need effective monitoring. OpSense, whose operations headquarters are located in Louisville, offers an IoT monitoring platform for grocers, convenience stores, pharmacies, and restaurants. We recently spoke to Stuart Gavurin, OpSense’s CEO, about what his company does.
What need does your company meet?
Gavurin: The need comes from people who operate food services businesses—restaurants, grocery stores and so on—in brick-and-mortar environments. They have perishable goods, and they want to know whether their inventory is okay or not okay. Historically, the people [responsible for making this determination] are often overtaxed associates who have other things to do. So, how do we make those people less stressed so they can deal with their primary job [duties]? It’s an important function. Why not automate it?
Automation provides significant savings in perishable inventory, labor costs, compliance and equipment maintenance. It can maximize productivity. With automation, our clients can receive alerts and monitor digital checklists in real-time and gain a 360-degree view of their locations. It represents a big savings in terms of ROI.
How do you automate it?
Gavurin: We built a software platform that uses sensors that are placed where the food is [located]. These sensors collect information about the conditions—such as the humidity, the temperature, fluid level and so on. That data is reported to the cloud and [stored] on the cloud. The business applies rules around that data. It’s configurable and tailorable. If there’s an issue, then the right people at the right time are notified either by a text message, an email or a robocall to allow them to quickly address the issue. At that point, they can assign people to complete the task or run it up the ladder, so to speak.
What kinds of data do the sensors detect?
Gavurin: There are different sensors, but they can detect temperature, humidity and if a door is left ajar. We can determine if the airflow is poor or has changed. It could be that a specific food needs to be submerged to a certain amount of water or that a certain amount of steam is needed to keep things warm.
What does your software do?
Gavurin: We have a very configurable software platform in which we can input the rules to include acceptable thresholds for any measure—like nanos don’t have enough amperage, or there’s not enough airflow. We can also determine a period of time where the client should be concerned with something so they know how to triage it. Clients can get in pretty easily and update those rules.
How did you get into this line of work?
Gavurin: I worked at a company that provided software solutions for Kroger. We built something very similar for them called Fast Alerts. We realized that, yes, Kroger is big and they have plenty of money. However, there’s nothing wrong with bringing this concept to others in the food service and distribution industry. So we asked for Kroger’s permission to build our own. They said, ‘We’re onboard with keeping food fresh and safe.’ They were a really great partner.
Are predictive analytics a part of your product?
Gavurin: When something is wrong, you can notify the clients immediately. But there’s also the ability to use that data to predict when something might happen. We can look at the reporting and say, ‘We’re having trouble here.’ We can get ahead of the problem.
Talk about starting a business in Louisville.
Gavurin: I found only advantages. When you’re a startup, you need friendliness. You need people who are willing to help. Louisville is an intimate town. We were able to reach out to some of the local independent grocers like Rainbow Blossom, who is a very approachable group of people to present the idea. We did a proof of concept with 21c, just to see if we understood how restaurants work. They opened their doors and let us prove it out. We were about to try this out thing before we really went hard into our investment.
You can’t really do that sort of thing at a Silicon Valley or New York City or Washington DC; it’s just not as intimate environment.
We did a proof of concept with 21c, just to see if we understood how restaurants work. They opened their doors and let us prove it out. We were about to try this out thing before we really went hard into our investment.