Watching Super Bowl XLVII last weekend, or rather watching the sports anchors desperately trying to fill the 34 minute gap caused by the power blackout reminded me of how dependent we are on electricity and energy in general. It’s there, we expect it to work when we need it and we know it costs money (and more everyday as the news keep reminding us), but beyond that the majority of us never think about it and how we use it. However the smarter businesses are realising that there is a distinct strategic advantage in really taking an interest in their Energy, how and where they use it and the significant cost savings they can make.
Rising energy costs, increased price volatility, tighter energy and carbon regulations, and increased stakeholder awareness of sustainability has elevated the commercial importance of energy management within firms. The problem is most companies don’t know where to begin with these initiatives other than knowing they want to use less & save money. Strategic energy management is aided by board-level involvement, widespread technology upgrades, and procurement decisions at the corporate level and accurate energy data. In order to make that a reality there are four steps organizations can take to move towards strategic energy management:
Assign Responsibilities across the organization
Define an energy strategy and KPIs that match the organizational strategy
Build the business case to invest in infrastructure to help manage energy
Translate the business benefits into sustainability and financial metrics
Organizations should map out those individuals responsible for energy management within their organization. For most organizations, there will be a management deficit that needs to be addressed by placing responsibility for energy at the senior or executive level.
Organizations need to align their energy management strategy with their organizational strategy. For retailers for example, strategic energy management will equate to operational cost reduction, which in turn will feed higher operating margins.
Armed with the appropriate data and tools, it is possible to calculate the ROI of an enterprise-wide upgrade in energy infrastructure; information that the board will demand before allocating budget to a project. Energy management software applications can help facilitate the business case calculations by tapping into new and existing infrastructure, collecting the relevant data points, and performing the analytics that feed business cases.<
It is important to recognize the value of strategic energy management in terms of both financial gains, as well as contributing to wider sustainability metrics. Organizations such as Intel closely link financial reporting with sustainability and energy reporting to enhance their reputation with customers and to appeal to a wider audience of sustainability minded business stakeholders, including shareholders and financial institutions
So whilst on February 3, 2013, Super Bowl XLVII was overshadowed (no pun intended) by a power outage at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It should also be remembered because of the Baltimore Ravens narrow 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers and Beyonce’s half time show. Energy is important, managing it more so, but it is at its best when it’s an integral unnoticeable part of what your business does best-- putting on the greatest show on earth.
Posted by Chris Purcell, Product Marketing Manager at Epicor