Challenges for the new energy and utilities manager

Submitted by Sérgio Grassi on Mon, 07/16/2018 - 13:02
challenges for the new energy and utilities manager

Learn how the changes caused in the market are bringing new challenges to the energy and utilities manager and making management of this area more complex.

 

The deployment of new technologies and the increasing pressure to improve the energy performance of organizations is rapidly revolutionizing energy and utilities management environments. On the other hand, many uncertainties also surround this market, bringing new and constant challenges to managers in this area.

 

Managing a company's energy and utilities goes far beyond consumption monitoring: it also covers the administration of a complex operation directed toward increased energy efficiency, improvement of planning and management, maintaining high team performance, risk reduction, and process optimization.

Big changes in the energy and utilities area

Due to the pressure to achieve economic objectives, which include environmental and social aspects in an integrated way, significant changes are being introduced into the routines of energy and utilities management teams.

One of the principal changes is the digitalization of business, often called digital transformation. This concept has is creating new business models as quickly as it discards models that have been dominant for several decades. The breaking of existing paradigms eliminates market barriers, enables new products and services, and creates the potential for a large increase in efficiency in companies.

Another change with large repercussions for companies is the search for an increasingly clean energy matrix. Whether to reduce impacts on the environment, increase competitiveness in the international area, or even due to pressure in the domestic market, companies have been exploring environmental regulatory incentives and certifications that attest to the sustainability of their operations and products. Standards such as ISO 50001, ISO 14001, and the carbon credit market are some of the concepts that have increasingly impacted the routine companies follow to achieve these objectives.

Also read: Investing in sustainability: competitive advantage or just another expense?

Transformations like those cited above contribute directly to the increase in management complexity, bringing major challenges to the energy and utilities manager.

Challenges for the new energy and utilities manager

Companies under cost pressure often turn to their operations and managers in the search for better performance. Therefore the current situation of energy and utilities management presents challenges including:

  • Cost reduction

Reducing energy and utilities costs is one of the greatest challenges for this manager. Data from IBGE indicate that on average 15% of the total cost of production of companies stems from energy and utilities. Given the size of this number, the manager must take actions and use tools that help to achieve operational efficiency as well as improve planning and management to increase energy efficiency and team productivity and consequently reduce operational costs.

  • Improvement of planning and management

To achieve the objectives that optimize processes and increase the level of energy efficiency, the energy and utilities manager needs to manage and plan in an increasingly assertive way. The McKinsey report Greening The Future: New Technologies That Could Transform How Industry Uses Energy indicates that an additional 5% to 10% of the total costs of energy can be achieved with improved management and planning. Therefore it is important that the energy and utilities manager adopt tools and routines that help to simulate future consumption scenarios and support the management of contracts and invoices, among other actions that provide information for planning that is more consistent with the operational and budgetary reality of the company.

  • Increasing team productivity

Given increasingly complex demands, energy and utilities teams are faced with an enormous volume of data, as well as goals that are increasingly more strategic. Therefore one of the challenges for the energy and utilities manager is to be able to adopt structured routines and use tools that help colleagues in operational demands such as consumption monitoring, invoice and contract management, among others, so that the team can optimize its efforts.

Conclusion

Although the challenges are great, the means to overcome them are increasingly available. Using an energy and utilities management system it is possible to integrate corporate systems, manage large volumes of data digitally and without multiple versions, define metrics for a planning that is consistent with the reality of the company, and maintain compliance with international standards to reduce costs, increase energy efficiency, and improve processes.

The challenges posed require organizational transformation efforts — focused on quality, innovation, sustainability, and energy efficiency, among others, and require focus and persistence to analyze the current situation, establish evolution goals, create and execute implementation plans, and evaluate their results, providing feedback for continuous improvement.


The Viridis platform for energy and utilities management provides capabilities to directly support the new energy and utilities manager, covering functions including monitoring, planning, contracting, costing, simulation, and optimization of energy consumption. The monitoring functions permit the identification of opportunities for process improvement, stratifying energy consumption in terms of different dimensions, in addition to allowing the quantification of gains in terms of costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The integration of monitoring data with planning functions strengthens the efforts of the transformation initiatives, since it confers greater sophistication, consistency, and accuracy in the prediction of future consumption and, consequently, in planning of costs and the comparison with the actual values. Finally, the Viridis platform offers the energy and utilities manager a wide range of technologies for integrated management of continuous improvement projects focusing on energy efficiency, seeking strategic alignment from conception, implementation, and valuation of investments realized by the organization. Click here to learn more about our solutions.


Commercial Director, Viridis

Viridis’s Commercial Director. He has worked for 35 years at Vallourec in energy, maintenance, and industrial assembling. He managed the energy and utilities project at the Vallourec & Sumitomo (VSB) plant. He holds a BEng in Electrical Engineering and graduate degrees in Industrial Automation and Business Management. He is a member of CB-116, which developed the ABNT NBR ISO 50,001 – Energy Management standard. He was responsible for making Vallourec the first steel company in Brazil to achieve this certification. He is a member of the Board of Renewable Energy and Oil & Gas at FIEMG.

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