Industrial and manufacturing facility operators are under enormous pressure to keep a lid on operating expenses, justify capital expenditures, and keep production moving. It’s a tough job at the best of times despite how advanced building systems have become. On top of that, the impact of COVID-19 has created new challenges for profitability and productivity due to a multitude of human resource and economic constraints. To overcome these challenges, one questions takes centre stage: Where should operators spend their limited time to be effective and see results as part of an operating plan for the new normal?
According to BOMA International, utilities and maintenance are top cost centres for private-sector industrial buildings, second only to management fees and taxes.
Unlike fees and taxes, utilities and maintenance are areas where operators have greater control over what, when, and how they budget. Building systems directly impact utility and maintenance cost and indirectly impact productivity through air quality and a healthy workplace environment. Knowing that building systems have an impact on maintenance and utility costs as well as productivity, here are four activities to consider when developing an operating plan for the new normal.
1. Understand Energy
Critically assess the way you buy energy and your utility relationship. Ask yourself: do you continually assess your utility bills to ensure you are paying the optimal energy rate? When planning new projects always consider how future changes to the utility market affect the risk associated with a capital project. If you currently manage multiple utility feeds to your facility, take the time to understand their relationship to the total cost of energy.
2. Calculate Project ROIs
Make the business case to reduce utility usage and lower indirect variable costs for better contribution margins. By collecting and analyzing a robust set of data, you can prioritize the projects that will have a positive impact on the bottom line. Take the time to understand industry best practices used by competition and consider adopting innovative approaches to your operations.
3. Leverage Technology
Understand how building technology can impact facility health and safety by following ASHRAE’s recommended best practices for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring continued operation. Ask yourself: would leveraging access control and occupancy tracking allow for better traffic management and minimization of person-to-person contact? Consider assessing how air quality impacts your production line and facility common areas.
4. Stimulus Funding
Be first in line and take advantage of available business funding by planning capital investment projects early. A detailed plan could put you in a better position to secure stimulus and climate action funding as Canada continues to reopen the economy. Take the time to consider how you will uphold any reporting or other obligations associated with available funding. Make sure you have a trusted partner that can help secure project incentives to improve ROI and build a better business case for the project.
Business across Canada are adapting to the new normal and, for manufacturers, this means getting ahead and staying ahead of evolving regulations and productivity constraints. We are actively working with clients to address the top operational considerations and to help them prioritize the efforts that will ensure a safe and successful operation in the new normal.
Modern Niagara can be your trusted partner as you start developing your operating plan for the new normal.
|Contact our Energy Solutions team to develop your plan today!|