Going green: Reducing your environmental footprint in 2015

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the food and beverage industry is “one of the top five consumers of fuels and power in U.S. manufacturing.” As government agencies including the EPA and the FDA continue to create guidelines for manufacturers in an effort to reduce the industry’s environmental impact, companies should look to enterprise asset management (EAM) technology that is specifically designed with sustainability in mind.

This type of technology allows food and beverage organizations to maintain compliance with environmental regulations in a manner that is organized, automated and easily demonstrable. It also helps decision-makers take a proactive approach in establishing sustainable energy policy and programs. 

Before steps can be taken to exhibit successful compliance or mitigate environmental effects, organizations must first have the ability to accurately assess overall environmental impact. This starting point is nearly impossible to achieve without the use of an integrated, real-time EAM application with functionality specific to energy and sustainability tracking. EAM systems reduce the complexity associated with gauging a company’s environmental footprint by automatically aggregating all critical data to create a complete picture of resource use and emissions. Essentially, EAM applications establish a platform for visibility, which should be considered the initial phase for food and beverage organizations looking to establish more “green” operations in 2015.

Once energy-related data is consolidated and accessible, it can then be analyzed in order to:

  1. Ensure compliance with existing and future government regulations. Real-time insight into asset behavior and energy use means that food and beverage organizations are prepared for a government audit at any time with the ability to instantly pull data that supports compliance claims. Companies can easily demonstrate how much of each resource is being utilized and where it is being consumed during the manufacturing process.
  2. Establish preventative maintenance programs. Sustainability-driven EAM applications deliver the ability to drill down into asset health to detect key trends and anomalies and forecast future performance. This allows organizations to pinpoint potential issues before they arise in order to take preventative measures, and also provides the necessary insight to determine when an asset should be fixed and when it should be replaced. Conducting maintenance before an asset breaks helps to prevent costly downtime and prolong the lifespan of equipment, thereby saving the company money in the long-term. 
  3. Determine how the organization can reduce its environmental footprint. By enabling energy monitoring and analysis at each level of the enterprise, food and beverage manufacturers can detect and eliminate excess energy and water usage, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Visibility into how and why resources are utilized gives decision-makers the insight necessary to implement conservation efforts that can help the organization become more environmentally conscious.

Energy use will remain top-of-mind as many governments across the globe continue their mission to lessen the food and beverage manufacturing industry’s negative effects on the environment and nonrenewable resources. Whether creating a more “green” enterprise is a goal for 2015, or the company simply wants to take a proactive approach in ensuring compliance, relying on an EAM application with sustainability-specific capabilities is a critical first step. With the right technology in place, food and beverage organizations are well positioned to take proactive measures regarding maintenance and resource use, helping to reduce the company’s larger environmental footprint and generate cost savings.