At the highest level, many manufacturing executives believe in the intangible values of ‘green’ or sustainability initiatives. However, few have been able to quantify this value in real dollar amounts and even fewer understand the relationship between production technology and sustainability.

Even in this challenging environment, leading manufacturers are committed to their sustainability agendas. The successful manufacturers realize that becoming more intelligent about energy usage starts at the top.

The importance of having executive-level responsibility for company-wide energy management vision and performance cannot be overemphasized. It is extremely difficult to execute a strategy without a true executive champion to implement the changes in processes, collaboration, culture, and technology upgrades. Once you have the executive endorsement, it is critical to implement a series of standardized processes to ensure that the strategies made at the board level are executed at the plant floor - and then carried out through production, maintenance, manufacturing, engineering, and finance. Further, cross-functional involvement of these stakeholders around the sustainability goals encourages and supports an atmosphere of innovation. Sustainable success in manufacturing operations requires an all-encompassing and integrated approach.

Secondly, in order to run an Operational Excellence program and lean organization, manufacturers need the ability to drill down into the performance of energy programs across product lines, geographies and facilities. This enables a company to identify the best practices and identify the groups or plants that are hitting sustainability goals. This also enables a company to benchmark themselves against their peers and industry standards further driving a culture of change and improving overall performance.

Implementing an effective energy intelligence program involves multiple steps, processes, and measures. However, the payoff is worth it, as insight into energy data allows executives to make more valuable, relevant operating decisions. Energy costs won’t be declining anytime soon, making it imperative for companies to embrace proactive sustainability practices. By getting commitment from the top of the organization you set your company’s program up for future success.

To learn more, read this paper on how energy and water management can give your organization a competitive advantage. 

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About the author

Reid Paquin

Industry Analyst, Food & Beverage/CPG, GE Digital

As an industry analyst at GE Digital, Reid Paquin applies his extensive manufacturing knowledge to help food, beverage, & CPG companies apply best practices from a people, process, and technology perspective to drive improved performance from their operations.  Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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