“People, innovation, and marketing are the lifeblood of any organisation” – CEO Q&A with Jim Green of Novum Ireland

By Business & Finance
20 September 2023
Pictured: Jim Greene, CEO, Novum

Jim Greene is CEO of Novum, the Irish supermarket freezer specialist helping its national and global clients address the twin challenges of climate change and rising energy costs. It employs 200 at its manufacturing base in Clonshaugh, Dublin.

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
Securing a strong legacy for Novum by exploiting opportunities that have the potential to treble its turnover in the next few years, enhancing its reputation for innovation, partnerships, and protecting our planet for future generations.
What are your biggest challenges as CEO?
Balancing short-term goals with long-term vision is a constant work in progress. From COVID to the invasion of Ukraine, Novum has faced many unexpected challenges, especially with supply chain disruption but has still managed to stay on course to hit its growth targets.
We are privileged to be working with some of the most innovative retailers in the world and this presents a constant challenge for Novum to stay ahead of the curve in terms of innovation and customer service.
How do you keep your team/staff motivated? 
Collectively, everyone who dons the Novum ‘jersey’ is playing a significant part in protecting our planet for future generations and this helps to create a sense of pride, passion and purpose. We’ve always been committed to staff development with several internal promotions in the past year. On a practical level, our factory is situated near some disadvantaged areas, and we provide stable employment in a progressive and welcoming environment with regular hours and attractive overtime rates that suit a lot of families. One of our more popular employee initiatives is the opportunity to upskill, with Novum paying the fees to attend a CPD accredited course in refrigeration at our local college of further education.
What are the challenges facing the industry going forward?
For manufacturers, the move to natural refrigerants at scale and at pace, rising costs, and recruitment are real challenges.
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
There is growing demand for frozen food, driven by better quality and choice and a desire to reduce food waste. Food retailers are seeking more flexibility in design, and this is leading to increased demand for plug-in freezers. Also, smart commercial refrigeration, using advanced technology that optimises freezer efficiency, inventory and maintenance whilst providing better data insights is on its way.
Our ‘Panama Green’ transparent door freezer for supermarkets, created with LEAP™ technology, was the first ever freezer globally to receive the prestigious Energy Star Accreditation from the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency.
We have significantly reduced Scope 2 electricity usage for our global partners that include Musgraves in Ireland, ASDA in the UK; Carrefour, Leclerc and Picard Surgelés in France, Eur Sur Gelati in Italy, Dino in Poland, the North West company in Canada and 99 Ranch in the USA.
Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?
It is a time for an open conversation, discussing all options regarding how retailers can simultaneously advance not only business goals but also environmental goals.
As an employer are you finding any skill gaps in the market?
We are finding gaps at various levels, in particular, trades such as fitters, welders, electricians and other specialist skills.
How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
Loyal happy customers, both old and new, driven by a team that always puts the customer first, drives me to succeed. We aim to do well by doing good and by delivering innovative solutions that make a real difference to our customers and the planet, then we put ourselves in a position to have a bright commercial future.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
People, innovation, and marketing are the lifeblood of any organisation.
What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
Our most recent innovation, LEAP™ technology, has been a gamechanger for both Novum and food retailers globally.   LEAP™ is the only plug-in freezer technology that can be installed in even the largest supermarkets overnight, delivering low noise, low heat rejection and low energy consumption. The technology is achieving up to 70% energy efficiency when compared to other systems in the marketplace.
Another major highlight was the Novum team’s embracing of a high growth culture, which was a great source of satisfaction for me personally.
What’s next for your company?
Sustainability is at the core of everything we do. Our goal is to achieve energy neutrality in our manufacturing facility by 2025.
Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?
Further advancement of Novum’s position as the only leading-edge freezer technology company that supports and actively collaborates with global retail giants in Europe and the USA in achieving their own sustainability goals and futureproofing their businesses in terms of environmental legislation.
I would also like to see good headway made in reducing our own Scope 3 emissions. This will be achieved by having key elements of our products on-shored and manufactured in house, due to our investment strategy.