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The Evolving Role of Efficient Energy in the Auto Sector

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The focus of the auto sector for over past 25 years has been on productivity and the next 25 years will likely hinge on the usage of energy. Here, we are talking about the emerging trends and opportunities for reducing energy usage and saving capital in automotive production.

The phrase ‘lean manufacturing’ first appeared, few could have predicted two simple words would revolutionise the auto industry. Nevertheless, approximately ten years later, lean had become dogma in plants across North America.

The North American auto plants reinvented their operation methods, in order to cut cost and stay competitive. With mounting pressure to contribute to increased cost competitiveness, the auto sector is again undergoing major changes. On this point, a group of automotive energy managers from some of the largest original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers discussed on the possible ways of energy management in the auto sector. Here’s a glimpse at some of the topics discussed for a possible way forward for the auto sector:

The Low-hanging Fruit Being Targeted by Industry Leaders:

One of the few systems essential to operations across the board is also one that offers excellent returns for a low investment cost. Lighting, compressed air systems, drives and chillers are atop the list of first targets for executives keen on cutting energy usage in the auto sector.

Helping Leadership Make Conservation a Priority:

Many plants are still spinning their wheels on energy efficiency. Often, it’s a result of leadership not being aware of how great an impact conservation can have. Focusing on the energy conservation aspects is one of the least effective ways to pitch ideas to senior management.

Converting the Shop Floor to the Cause:

After getting the go-ahead from management, it’s critical to engage employees. Though the culture of energy efficiency has made tremendous strides in the boardroom over the past 15 years, this shift is just getting underway for the rank-and-file. From long-time staff who have grown accustomed to doing a job a specific way, to workers who have difficulty identifying what’s in it for them, energy managers sometimes face an uphill battle.

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