Once a hidden cost, energy bills now represent a significant chunk of corporate Australia’s operating budgets and will continue to exert greater pressure on profit margins as prices fluctuate and rise.
For many businesses implementing an effective energy management system to identify savings opportunities is proving to be one of the most effective ways to control costs and increase productivity.
Without good energy management and business intelligence into energy usage, inefficiencies can easily go unnoticed – and not only erode profits but impact negatively on a company’s performance, competitive advantage, reputation and long term sustainability.
With it, decision makers can identify improvements to existing operational processes, consider alternative energy sources and technologies and confidently renegotiate their contracts with energy suppliers.
Reducing energy consumption is often regarded as the low hanging fruit when it comes to cost savings.
Strategies may be as simple as shifting production to off peak energy times, to sourcing cleaner and cheaper fuel options and investing in major capital works or equipment upgrades.
The Fosters Group is a business case in point where a strategic approach to energy management used robust data to overturn an original decision not to upgrade key equipment, resulting in enhanced production capacity and OHS and environmental benefits for one of its major operating plants. To read more on Fosters and other company case studies go to http://eex.gov.au/energy-management/the-business-case-and-beyond/industry-case-studies/ or search for ‘case study’.
WHAT ARE THE SUCCESS FACTORS AND BENEFITS IN MANAGING ENERGY?
Companies who successfully manage their energy share two key elements – a best practice approach and an indepth understanding of their energy sources and use. They are also on the ball when it comes to investing in energy efficient systems, processes and technologies, are informed about how energy is procured and are up to speed on investigating alternative sources of energy. They also have:
- The commitment and buy-in from leaders to invest in energy management systems
- The necessary personnel and skills to undertake robust energy efficiency assessments
- Clear energy efficiency goals linked directly to business plans and performance metrics;
- Strong communication and education programs which convey energy management as a business priority and promote the company’s successes.
Other benefits reported by Australian companies included the ability to business proof themselves against volatile energy markets, a longer lease of life on key assets due to reduced production uptime, and an enhanced reputation among the general public, direct consumers and potential investors.
For more information, see the Energy Management section of the EEX website.