In the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry, factories returning to normal (or almost normal) face new challenges characterised by changes in their workforce.

Many companies have lost experienced facility management or engineering staff through retirement or downsizing. Others might be forced to start-up operations with part-time employees, while pandemic protocols may limit facility access, requiring some employees to work offsite.

For a power intensive industry such as CPG, better management of your energy or ‘lifeblood’ could make or break your recovery. Electrical power management is fundamental to achieving these goals while serving your customers and protecting your profits.

Digitisation offers a solution to the problem of the stretched resources of your facility team. As Kate Smaje of McKinsey Digital describes it, “the road to recovery is paved with data. Data is providing the fuel to power better and faster decisions. High-performing organisations are three times more likely than others to say their data and analytics initiatives have contributed at least 20% to EBIT (from 2016 to 2019).”

Digitised, simplified power management

For decades now, industrial automation has been experiencing a digital transformation. Automation is helping to drive efficiency, reliability, and safety for machines and people. Power infrastructures can also now be affordably modernised. Fully digitising your electrical network will leverage intelligent, IoT-enabled connected devices that deliver rich power, energy, and other data from across one or more facilities.

This ‘big data’ is converted into actionable information by advanced power analytic applications, hosted onsite or in the cloud. These insights make it simpler for facility teams to protect people and assets, keep operations running, and save time and money.

Here are a few examples:

  • Optimise reliability to achieve greater uptime. Receive mobile alarm notifications of abnormal conditions, then use power forensics to isolate causes and recover from outages quickly. Simplify power quality monitoring and analysis to comply with standards and protect sensitive equipment. Simplify testing and reporting for backup power systems.
  • Optimise safety. Remotely monitor and operate breakers to minimise exposure to arc-flash risk and avoid safety hazards.
  • Optimise equipment performance and maintenance. Monitor equipment performance to support proactive maintenance to save costs, avoid failures, and extend lifespan. Track system capacity to avoid overloads and failures and reveal unused capacity to help avoid unnecessary upgrades or overbuilding.
  • Optimise energy consumption and costs. Correlate manufacturing processes to energy usage (e.g. energy consumed during process idling, process starved of parts, etc). Compare energy efficiency across buildings, plants, process lines, or loads, then identify opportunities to improve and validate savings. Avoid power factor or peak demand penalties. Allocate costs to departments or processes. Identify billing errors. Track energy performance indicators (EnPI) per ISO50006 and comply with energy efficiency and green building standards.

Partnering for success

These new digital tools will help a facility team keep on top of conditions, address risks, and take advantage of opportunities. However, if you have a small team, especially one with any knowledge gaps regarding the applications above, you may need the support of a good partner. Cloud-based power management applications can act as a portal to advisory services that enable you to do more with less. Expert service personnel will help you manage your infrastructure so you can focus resources on your core mission.

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