Doing nothing is an investment decision too. Investment with a guaranteed return of nothing.
Here is a common conversation at a manufacturing plant:
Me: … Implementation will cost you $5K and save $15K within 12 months.
Maintenance manager: So we save $10K? Not much for our plant. Besides, I do not make investment decisions here.
Me: You just did. You have just approved a $15K investment into doing nothing. Besides, if $10K is nothing for your plant, would you cut me a cheque for $5K?
Well, last sentence is not so common.
Is maintenance manager at the core of energy waste?
Problem in this situation is NOT mentality of maintenance manager. The problem as I see it is in mentality of Plant Manager or CFO, who assume that at plant level energy is a fixed cost.
Since bills are similar month after month, it must be a fixed cost. – Wrong!
Energy management starts with management, not with energy.
A lot of solutions can be applied to this situation. Here is a simple one:
- Accept that 20% of energy cost is wasted and split energy cost into two accounts: ‘energy’ and ‘energy waste’.
- Allow redirection of funds at ‘energy waste’ from paying to utility to investment into improvement projects.
- Allow accumulation of funds at ‘energy waste account’ to finance bigger projects AND for annual ‘energy efficiency’ bonus.
I wrote about this earlier from a different angle – here.