Power Management

Filed Away and Forgotten? Keep Power and Utilities Continuous Improvement Strategies Top of Mind

If your manager came to you today and asked you ‘how could we improve profitability ’, what would you say? Would you respond in directives, such as “optimize designs”, “lower operating costs”, or “improve profitability”? Or would you suggest drivers, such as “software”, “training”, or “Six Sigma”? How would you go about determining the business objectives, resources, workflows, and methodologies? The actual solution lies in Continuous Improvement.

Companies often, in error, execute it as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, DMAIC, Agile Manufacturing, or a combination of two or more methodologies. Whatever it’s called, you may be expected to provide a “new and improved” process/procedure/operation that improves what is currently in place. And sometimes, after it’s completed, like a lot of great ideas, it goes nowhere. That’s a shame; all that time an energy spent developing a sound plan gets filed away and forgotten.  My suggestion is to make sure it stays at the top of the minds of your management, because actually executing low-cost, high-reward Continuous Improvement initiatives can save your company millions — with a payback in mere months.

A recent Schneider Electric survey found that 79% of our SimSci customers intend to implement some form of continuous improvement this year. They will primarily focus on optimizing design, lowering operating expenses, and improving productivity. When asked how they intend to drive continuous improvement initiatives, the majority (85%) plan to use software to meet their goals and more than half (58%) will also use training.

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Continuous Improvement is the pursuit of safe, profitable, and reliable operations by empowering employees to persistently evaluate and improve processes with respect to their efficiency, effectiveness, and flexibility. As a result of rigorous training and federal, state and industry oversight, the U.S. power industry has one of the safest industrial working environments in the nation. This is driven in large part by ensuring operators understand how to efficiently and safely operate the plant and its control system. This requires a high level of knowledge and practice, and many times, years of experience.

In executing Continuous Improvement initiatives, you first identify the business objectives, opportunity size, and roll-out sites; then implement advanced technology to meet the objectives; and finally, report and evaluate the results. SimSci by Schneider Electric is uniquely qualified to execute continuous improvement solutions by helping clients align and prioritize their business objectives—improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions, and promoting safety. Our process technology can be integrated into your plant to drive advanced process control, performance monitoring, data reconciliation, and optimization for promoting alternative energy sources and new technology breakthroughs. Intelligent visualization is employed to report role-based information in a timely fashion for enhanced decision support.

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