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Energy Intelligence Ideas for Distribution Companies

We are heading into the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere.   Depending on your location a huge portion of your operational costs may be in summer time cooling expenses.

It’s time to look at the best ways to implement additional cost savings for your distribution warehouse operations. Last year we reviewed the Supplier Sustainability Index and how your customers may request specific information about your efforts to reduce your water, power and material consumption to create a more sustainable company.

This study from Aberdeen provides some ideas on how to use energy intelligence tactics to reduce your costs.

You may know the details of your labor and materials costs, but how much data do you collect or track about your energy consumption? In some cases, you may also need to track this information to comply with new regulations to reduce your business carbon footprint and fuel consumption, or face regional or state imposed penalties.

Getting started with an energy intelligence initiative takes a combination of research and commitment by your work force to process change, and technology improvements to track the data.

The three most effective areas to address are culture, equipment and lighting.

  • Talk to your workforce about their energy consumption, make your new initiatives and policies very visible and a frequent topic of company meetings. Ask for ideas for the best ways to place reminders around your facility about the importance of each person contributing to reductions.
  • Review your warehouse equipment replacement program for more modern improvements which are equipped with “sleep mode” when not in use, variable speeds or better Energy Star ratings.
  • Start replacing incandescent bulbs with LED’s and implement motion sensors so area’s without workers are not lit when the space is empty. Have you ever considered how much the heat from your warehouse lighting contributes to your summer cooling bill?

Look at an energy initiative as another aspect of applying Lean principles to your business operations. Where in your facilities is there wasted energy? This is one more area where you can look at removing waste from your processes, and get your entire team involved in achieving results.

Finally, technology plays a key role in the success of energy intelligence. You must measure and document the metrics of your operations to make certain that your efforts are paying off.

Data collection will be simplified by new wireless monitoring devices. These sensors will report and update data on their energy usage are part of the Internet of Things (IOT) trend. Soon many of your devices and equipment will be wirelessly connected to your network and will update data in your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

Configuring digital dashboards and reports to visually display your energy use will make spotting waste and detecting trends easier. Contact Socius for help with configuring your ERP to support your distribution center energy intelligence initiative!


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