Daily Archives: July 20, 2009

Low Cost Energy Efficiency Measures Courtesy of Industry Week

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Since every business uses energy, every business stands to save if they can reduce their energy usage … and this savings will be considerably more in the long run than what you can get through energy sourcing alone if you can noticeably reduce your energy footprint. And while some measures, such as installing massive solar arrays and building your own wind farm, might require a lot of up-front capital, other measures won’t. In this post, I’ll review some of the low-cost tips for manufacturers put forward by a recent Industry Week article on energy management that deserves to be reiterated.

  • Turn off circulation pumps during down time
    Just like you should turn off air in the office at night and on weekends, turning off water circulation pumps on the weekends can be a big cost saver for manufacturing plants as keeping them running during downtime can require over 100 MWh a year for many plants
  • Reduce pump speeds to coincide with the actual process demands
    Overcooling can be costly.
  • Eliminate heat loss by closing unneeded bypasses
    Heat requires energy.
  • Improve process controls.
    This will prevent waste, and, thus, wasted energy.
  • Move to high-efficiency motors.
    As motors break or get replaced on an upgrade schedule, move to more energy efficient models.

Checklists for Identifying, and Helping, Distressed Suppliers

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A recent CPO Agenda article, on why you should put suppliers and vendors first, in addition to making a few very good points, had some good checklists that you can use for identifying distressed suppliers and, if they are key suppliers, helping them.

Distressed suppliers often do one or more of the following:

  • ask for pre-payment, price increases, and contractual relationships (to show to their bank)
  • change factory habits upward and/or delay tax payments and VAT returns
  • substantially increase their CCC over a short time period
  • announce “temporary redundancies”, travel freezes, or both
  • suspend capital expenditure programs
  • stop paying dividends or buying back shares
  • cut bonus payments on a large scale

If a supplier is distressed, the following might help the supplier out:

  • pay your invoices on time
  • pay your invoices on delivery of goods
  • make advance payments
  • buy raw materials directly from a tier two supplier and pay only a conversion fee to the tier one supplier
  • provide or support financing
  • take an equity stake
  • merge or acquire

While the current economic and cash crisis will claim many more victims and will not be a “quick win” for anyone , there are things you can do to make sure your key supplier is not one of the victims. If you’re on the ball, you can foresee the disaster before it happens and take steps to prevent it. It’s up to you.