COVID-19 is continuing to cause economic uncertainty across the world, and organisations are having to adapt to the new reality of continued disruption to everyday processes resulting from the pandemic. It is more critical than ever for organisations to reduce costs and increase efficiencies across their operations – to improve financial performance and boost sustainability. And they must do this whilst continuing to meet the needs of clients and consumers.
According to our research, being socially and environmentally responsible falls into the top 3 concerns of companies. However, don’t let the fear of competing in challenging economic times distract you from the importance of focussing on this responsibility and the importance of sustainability. Far from being contrary to economic or business concerns, sustainability can actually help you create a competitive advantage. It’s a matter of balancing environmental concerns with the need to have an economically viable business.
Discovering the ideal balance between sustainability and profitability requires a clear understanding of all aspects of your energy estate. This includes knowing exactly how much you are spending on energy, whether or not you are conforming to regulatory requirements, how others perceive your brand in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability, and what you are doing to protect your energy assets from downtime and other maintenance issues.
If you have not yet considered looking at your company’s energy estate as a way to reduce operational spend and gain a competitive edge, now is the time. Energy consumption is a good place for organisations to focus their energy cost control and sustainability efforts, as it is a major overhead – however, many are unclear how to achieve cost savings and efficiencies effectively – without spending large sums of money or causing further disruption to their processes.
Obtaining visibility into these areas can provide you with the energy intelligence you need to completely transform your energy estate and give you a competitive edge during a challenging economic climate.
Do you know what your company’s energy bill was last month? Last year? The costs add up and probably comprise a significant percentage of your operating costs. Instead of seeing energy as just another expense, transform it into a strategic asset by analysing the data smartly and see where you can turn your energy assets into a new source of business growth. This can be accomplished by installing wireless sensor technology at the device level across your energy estate, transforming specific pieces of equipment into smart assets that can send real-time data about their performance to an energy management platform for simple analysis.
Real-time energy intelligence will tell you exactly how much you are spending and on what specific asset or process across your operations. Armed with this information, you can make smarter, more informed business decisions. For example, you could reduce consumption during peak periods when the costs are higher, thereby lowering your company’s overall costs. You could locate inefficient equipment and proactively fix or replace the asset. You could even identify assets that are operating at times that they don’t need to, yielding costly and avoidable waste – easily remedied by analysing real-time data collected by the wireless sensors attached to the equipment.
To further your sustainability efforts, you could also implement distributed energy resources, such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that generate electricity at the location where it will be used – as opposed to drawing energy from the utility grid. This would give you flexibility over your energy sources and provide commercial benefit, because you could potentially sell excess solar power back to the grid.
Governments around the world are passing legislation to regulate energy consumption in order to promote sustainability, boost efficiency, and reduce carbon emissions. In addition to the obvious importance of complying with regulations, many countries or local municipalities offer tax incentives, schemes or other benefits to companies that prioritise sustainability.
By tracking energy consumption collected by the wireless sensors attached to your equipment – down to the finest details – you can see where you are in full compliance, where you need to step up your efforts, and even where you may be going above and beyond. This will translate into greater profit and ensure peace of mind, because complying with regulations will reduce energy waste and therefore lower energy costs. Demonstrating your commitment to sustainability will also satisfy a large segment of your consumers, as described in the following section.
Today’s consumers are looking for companies that are striving for net-zero emissions, meaning achieving equal balance between the emissions a company produces and how much it helps to remove from the atmosphere. Whether by using renewable energy sources, reducing reliance on the grid, or simply using less energy, consumers want to see that the brands they use are doing their part to help the environment.
According to our research, 89% of businesses say that demonstrating a low carbon footprint by 2025 is essential to their brand. These organisations understand the importance of environmental responsibility to consumers, embedding ‘corporate and social responsibility’ as a top 3 organisational priority. In fact, making sustainability a key part of your brand is proving itself to be profitable – 34% of companies that link sustainable energy with their company values expect to achieve average annual revenue growth of over 20% in the next 5 years.
Sharing your process and results is one of the most effective ways to show your customers how committed you are to sustainability and energy efficiency. To make transparency possible, you must instigate a method by which to gather and analyse the data, which you can then share with your existing and potential customers – and that’s where wireless energy monitoring of your equipment can help. Not only will the energy intelligence collected by the wireless sensors be available in an energy management platform for easy analysis, it will give you the necessary visibility across your estate so you can put an informed strategy in place to lower your energy consumption and therefore your carbon footprint.
Once your audience sees that your values align with theirs, you will stand out from competitors and pave the way for enhanced profit.
In a competitive marketplace where margins are already tight – especially combined with the disruptions caused by COVID-19 – any unplanned downtime of essential machinery has the potential for disaster. Whether unfilled or delayed orders from a factory with a machine failure, or a supermarket that can’t sell food due to failed refrigeration, no one wants to be faced with an unexpected breakdown and the cascading impact it can have on profits.
You can set yourself up for success by attaching wireless sensors to your critical equipment and automatically monitoring the energy consumption levels of all of your assets. You will be alerted to any activity (or non-activity) that indicates a potential problem. Early detection of a maintenance issue means you can proactively issue repairs before the problem results in a complete shutdown of your operations.
Both predictive and preventative maintenance are big cost savers. Fixing a smaller problem earlier is less expensive than more comprehensive repairs later on – and, of course, preventing unnecessary downtime means more time spent serving customers and generating revenue.
Stop thinking about energy as just another line item in your expense column. Rather, think about how energy – and being energy efficient – is actually a strategic asset in your toolbox that can help you gain a competitive edge and reduce operational spend. Taking control of energy consumption and spend will be relevant not just during COVID-19, but beyond.
Companies that view energy as a strategic asset will outperform their competition because of the actions they take now. Implementing advanced energy solutions that drive sustainability and energy cost control can help you improve efficiency, better control business risk, improve resilience, and enhance financial performance.
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