The lack of supportive culture for energy management at industrial companies is hampering energy efficiency efforts. Vice versa, organizations that undertake energy management initiatives typically do it on a 30,000-foot-level, failing to leverage the knowledge of energy leaders at local plant sites.
Although this company culture issue ranked third as one of the primary barriers to industrial energy efficiency among energy leaders who had partaken an LNS Research survey, the consultancy’s president and principal analyst, Matthew Littlefield, remarked that it was a recurring theme in his follow-up conversations with survey respondents.
Littlefield wrote on LNS Research’s blog that these local energy leaders, who participated in the survey and are characterized as “long-term employees with engineering/automation backgrounds, having deep knowledge of plant operations, and having a passion for energy efficiency,” often face a lack of C-level focus and employee culture at their organizations when it comes to optimizing energy management and sustainable operations.
The author said even though industrial companies might have chief sustainability officers or energy directors at the corporate level, there is a missing connection to the plant and operations level. Among the main culprits, Littlefield noted, are “moderate energy industries” such as food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals, and automotive. Here, energy use is not seen to have sufficiently big enough impact on product cost to be addressed as an operational issue, according to Littlefield.
He noted: “Companies need to increase efforts to create an environment of closer collaboration between energy management leadership and operations leadership. This shared vision of efficiency and sustainability should then be incorporated at the plant level, providing local leaders with the right tools … for continuous operational improvement.”
Littlefield’s insights can be fully seen here.
LNS Research queried over 150 energy executives to produce its 2012-13 Industrial Energy Management Survey, designed to uncover objectives and challenges and to benchmark data that are top of mind in making energy management decisions.