‘Energy efficiency’ is more than just a buzzword which needs complying with to improve your company image – implementation of strategies to improve your energy consumption obviously will have a positive financial impact, since it almost goes without saying that the less energy you use, the less you pay.
It’s easy in your own home – there are less than half a dozen of you, it’s easy to control and very little of what you use is actually essential. The difficulty arises for industrial warehouses where virtually all of what you run is essential, it uses large of amounts of power, and it’s on a scale that makes it difficult to control without having knock-on effects to your operation.
This guest post, written by components manufacturer BL Pneumatics, looks at the variety of ways in which energy efficiency, reduced costs and an increase in a ‘green’ image can be achieved – whether through technology, energy resources or work ethics.
1. Door & Shutter Automation
Temperature control within a warehouse is vital – whether you require a constant ‘room temperature’ or a specifically lower ambient temperature, it’s vital in both ensuring your products are correctly stored and dealt with, as well as optimising energy usage.
Something that can have an enormous impact on your ability to maintain control of your warehouse’s temperature is loss of ventilation through open doors, shutters and entrances. The knock on effect not only sees you consuming more energy (not good from an eco-perspective), but also sees youpaying for it – the costs can run into the thousands, annually.
Automated doors and speed shutters can help to reduce this effect drastically but cutting the time doors remain open and therefore keeping the heat in (or out, depending on your needs). Many of these doors come insulated two, which give you a two-pronged attack on energy inefficiency!
2. New & Efficient Technology
Newer is always better – usually. It’s tempting to continue using your existing warehouse equipment and machinery if it seems to be working and doing its job, to avoid large expenditure on new equipment. However, you might find that the efficiency of the new technology you incorporate could save money on raw operational costs, but also improve the efficiency of your warehouse’s working process.
Take machinery and equipment which utilises compressed air, for example – simple things like regular maintenance or the replacement of one component like an air treatment system (as opposed to buying an entirely new compressor) can improve efficiency by up to 30%, which is an undeniably significant impact. It’s always a good idea to regularly assess your equipment, what new alternatives are available and whether they’ll improve your operation.
3. Scalable, Streamlined Work Process
This, unlike other methods in this post, comes down to your staff and the structure you put in place for them to work within, rather than technological and mechanical solutions to efficiency. A clear, streamlined process for work throughout different teams can ensure clarity and a process which doesn’t slow down or negatively affect your output. Amazon’s working method for its warehouse (aka ‘Fulfilment Centre’) staff is a large scale, and currently controversial, method but every employee knows what they need to be doing, where they need to be and when.
You need a process which is scalable, too, to be able to deal with any growth or shrinkage of your company – it needs to be a working process which works just as well regardless of how many staff your add or take away, and also something which can transfer seamlessly to other sites if required. An efficient working method means anefficient warehouse operation, which does filter down to minimised costs – if you’re not working in an efficient way then things take longer, equipment runs for more time, and you’re overall costs are higher than necessary.
This guest post was written by Tom McShane – engineering blogger and writer for UK-based BL Pneumatics, who supply a wide range of pneumatic and air treatment equipment for warehouse and plant machinery.