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Lean Energy : Achieve more (efficiency) with less (energy)

Posted on April 22, 2014 in Articles

Energy is one of the critical resources for business to operate. For most cases, this contributes to highest percentage of cost of organisation expenses. Some organisations take the quick-win way by replacing their old and high energy consumption equipment to newer and more efficient one. This could be an option. 

However, organisations need to analyse the overall energy efficiency issue from a macro perspective in order to sustain efficient energy usage. It is important to link isolated energy saving projects, align them with corporate goals and couple with proper costs benefits analysis. In reality, energy saving projects tend to pay too much attention to the infrastructure (refer to diagram below) but often ignore the importance of Operational Flow Optimisation. Take an example if we are able to reduce energy consumption of a compressor to lower kW/h, do we really look into its total usage hours? There are hidden energy wastes from the operational flow where we can reduce its usage duration. This is where Lean Energy comes in.
Lean Energy Diagram

Many organisations find it is difficult to get their senior managers attention on energy usage reduction, as it is often regarded as a necessary cost of doing business and is classified as overhead expenses. By linking up energy saving with Lean, these initiatives can now be directly tied to process improvement efforts and regarded as vital to business success.
Lean Energy is a Structured Approach using the proven Lean tools and techniques to eliminate energy wastes in all processes within organisations. By eliminating energy wastes, such as unnecessary processing and transportation, businesses reduce the energy needed to power equipment, lighting, heating and cooling.
With this, organisations can discover more comprehensive ways to lower their energy costs, improve their energy efficiency and reduce their impacts on the environment.
Some of the Lean Strategies used to gain Energy Efficiency benefits are as below but not limited to.
Standard Work, Visual Controls, Mistake Proofing and Employee Engagement: These fundamental Lean Techniques are the enablers to sustain energy performance gains through standardised work, procedures and visual signals that encourage energy conservation, and by making it easy or “mistake-proof” to be energy efficient.
Plant Layout and Smooth Flow: Design or rearrange plant layout to improve product flow while also reducing energy use and associated impacts.
Transportation Efficiencies: By reviewing a company’s transportation fleet and mobile equipment to see if there are opportunities to improve routes, reduce idling, minimise the number of trips, and improve overall efficiency of the fleet.
Equipment Effectiveness: Incorporate energy reduction best practices into day-to-day autonomous maintenance activities of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) to ensure that equipment and processes run smoothly and effectively.
FASS Model™ is the fundamental methodology used to drive Lean Energy in a systematic manner via application of Lean tools and techniques. The model also incorporates specific Quantitative methods and Project Management techniques along FASS phases. Organisation uses FASS Model™ to continually improve all operational processes, with the involvement of employees at all level towards energy efficiency.

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