It's been a great fall for EMC Members to really get involved in learning from each other in as far as mitigating energy costs and adapting strategies for sustainability issues. The third in a 3-part series on best practices relating to Energy Management initiatives was hosted by Marsan Foods in Scarborough which featured a special best practice overview by Bonduelle North America and interesting case studies on sustainability activities with Provision Coalition!
Our Host welcomed everyone to this special event and then provided us with a wonderful overview on Marsan Foods. This was followed by a plant tour highlighting some of their practices in place relative to our session, thoughts for future projects and current challenges requiring solutions. Tours of this nature always render great ideas - especially when outside sets of eyes are exposed to processes that they are not familiar with. Further to that, it seems to me that we tend to appreciate the varying degrees of ongoing journeys within our own facilities, and as such, insight as far as better paths to pursue for particular needs or pitfalls to avoid is always appreciated by other Members on similar paths seeking success in this regard.
Marsan Foods has two plants and amazingly produce 120 meals per minute making close to 20 million meals per year! From a resource standpoint, they use lots of water (sauces, kettles, cool down processes, etc.), and energy (ie. freezers being a big ticket item). Our Host mentioned that they are pleased from an engagement standpoint that people are asking the right questions - "how can we make things better?"
The tour led to considerable conversation and we chatted about a variety of things including: motor start-ups, touch screens, automation, recycling, lighting, doors between colder and warmer areas, exhaust fans, paper towels vs. high speed dryers, process integration audits, engagement, water, wastewater and food waste, etc. etc. etc.! It was a thoroughly enjoyable, enjoyable plant visit!!
Joining us from Provision Coalition, the industry's leading voice on sustainability, was Meena Hassanali. Provision Coalition has developed an incredible one-stop online sustainability portal with tools and resources designed to assist manufacturers assess and monitor their sustainability performance and benchmark their progress with others in industry.
The conversation started with the group considering the importance of metrics, measurement and accountability and how the challenge more often than not lies in collecting meaningful and verifiable data. The market is demanding more information and data than ever before, and food manufacturers are getting pressured for "responsible sourcing". We then looked at the triple bottom line - what does it mean from a business perspective? Provision Coalition's stance is it can be equated to balancing economic, environmental and social impacts to core business strategy, culture, and decision making.
Involving our organizations in a journey of sustainability means a focus on economic, environmental needs, and social responsibility. We need to consider building a culture of engagement, enhancing our supply chain partners, and appreciating the positive financial impact that taking a stance of this nature might lend to our organization - in a nutshell, it's the integration of three pillars.
Like any journey from a continuous improvement standpoint, it's a forever proposition. Of the five stages, (Pre-Compliance/Compliance/Beyond Compliance/Clean Production/Integrated Strategy) most companies are comfortable starting from the Compliance/Beyond Compliance Stage in the sustainability continuum.
Sustainability Challenges and Risks:
- Climate change
- Rising material costs
- Energy, water, wastewater, waste
- Customer demand, social accountability
- Responsible sourcing
- Retaining talent, engaged team
- Community involvement, philanthropy
- Data transparency, verification and collection
A global survey recently conducted on Sustainability by McKinsey and Company (2014) demonstrated that international corporate attitudes and actions towards embracing sustainability as a core business strategy are changing - a good thing!
Some of the challenges companies face when looking to improve their sustainability performance include the actual execution of a sustainability plan, how to take part in initiatives, and balancing short term needs against the long-term scope. To assist with integrating sustainability into day to day operations, Provision Coalition has created some amazing tools and resources such as the 'how-to integrate sustainability framework' available on their online portal.
Turning Risks into Opportunities
When it comes to turning risks into opportunities we need to look at our inputs, what we have within our businesses, and what outputs are the results of our day to day processes. These all present areas of opportunities for us to look at:
Inputs - Raw Materials, Energy, Water, Resources
Within - Manufacturing Process, Procedures, Plant/Tech, People, Policies
Output - Toxics and Waste, Emissions, Wastewater, Products, Services
Meena shared Case Studies on both Mother Parker's Tea & Coffee and Beau's Brewery that highlighted why their companies elected to embark on a journey of this nature and the resultant positive benefits they saw through engagement:
Case Study - Mother Parker's Tea & Coffee
- Main driver was customer demand
- Suppliers asked about their environmental practices
- Extensive scorecards were required
- The Online Portal provided them with a means to measure, monitor, and track progress they could then use to create benchmarks
- Using the KPI Scorecard Tool, KPI's (key performance indicators) based on production can be generated by inputting monthly production, natural gas, electricity, water and waste data
Case Study - Beau's Brewery
- The Team at Beau's Brewery could see future opportunities
- Needed to set aggressive energy and water targets
- Wanted to seek engagement of the entire workforce
- This commitment led to a solid business case that rendered $45,000 in savings
- Took a very holistic approach
We also chatted about Steamwhistle Brewery and how every employee at this facility has sustainability goals imbedded into their performance expectations. From an engagement standpoint, company employees need to be accountable and be disciplined with regular reporting meetings.
Any global food sector company can now log in to the Online Sustainability Portal. There is a Self-Assessment Tool available to help ascertain where a company may be in their sustainability initiatives and to help identify gaps where improvements can be made. The comprehensive survey consists of close to 100 questions and takes about an hour to complete. Also available is a Funding Database that will be very useful to anyone looking at building a business case and exploring the financing opportunities to make it happen.
If you would like to learn more about Provision Coalition, please feel free to contact Meena at firstname.lastname@example.org - she would be delighted to hear from you. Their website and Online Sustainability Portal can be accessed at: www.provisioncoalition.com.
Following our Presentation by Provision Coalition, we were pleased to have Brian Muscat, Energy Manager from Bonduelle North America in Tecumseh join us to share their sustainability and energy management initiatives to date. It was an absolute pleasure to have Brian take part in this session, especially as he had travelled such a distance to join us!
Bonduelle North America
Bonduelle NA is an international company based in France. They process vegetables in three plants here in Ontario (Tecumseh, Strathroy and Ingersoll), and have 11 plants throughout North America and dozens in France. They get vegetables right from the fields (corn, peas, beans, carrots, etc.), and then blanch, flash freeze, bulk and tote package them accordingly. They also can peas and corn.
Brian mentioned that there is lots of money out there that companies can tap into to help fund capital projects aimed at reducing energy usage. He is part of OPA's embedded Energy Manager Program. Through this program, Brian is tasked with helping Bonduelle reduce energy consumption year over year. As such, he has been involved in projects to meet their goals in that regard and any savings are tied directly to his performance review. Some of the projects included:
- Compressed air upgrade project, complete with new drier and VFD compressor
- Several special projects and engineering studies to identify savings opportunities related to insulating refrigerated areas
- LED lighting retrofits in warehouses, production and office areas
- Roof retrofit projects to replace old inefficient roof insulation in cold storage warehouses
- They were able to tap into $75,000 in incentives to implement an Energy Management System, representing 75% of total project cost
- Currently evaluating converting the existing waste water treatment system to Anaerobic Digesters with Biogas reclamation for boilers
- CHP cogeneration plant (their production is all in summer - this presents a seasonal challenge but perhaps an opportunity as well in that partnering with someone else could be very beneficial)
- Demand response program to curtail energy usage during peak usage times in Ontario (gets people thinking what can you turn off - just because we can) This is leading to energy curtailment on a regular basis, without the need for a push from the DR3 program.
Currently developing and implementing an Energy Management System. This is a monitoring and targeting system which when completed will have energy related metrics readily available to a number of end users not just the Energy Manager. On the dashboard, they can quickly gather insight as to where they stand:
- Water, air, gas, electric, and steam meter data
- Weather station
- Real time production rates
- Real time energy prices
This will allow them to predict energy consumption based on weather so that they can better forecast production volumes, etc. This type of state of the art system definitely would benefit from vendor collaboration.
Some of their other initiatives included:
- Installation of Enbridge/Union Gas Pulse Meters
- Additional meters - refrigeration, compressed air, steam, water, air
- Development of a live screen dashboard (peak demands, kWh consumed, water savings, 7-day power trends - demo's opportunities via spikes/peaks
Brian suggested that the easiest way to look at why move forward with a project like this is to ask yourself "What is our energy cost in percentage of our operating cost?" Even 12-15% represents a huge savings to a company. How much product do we have to sell to make that product? If you can save up front isn't that better than working harder to sell your product at the other end?
We all truly enjoyed learning about Bonduelle's strides in Energy Management and particularly the dashboard that provides an instant perspective at where the company stands at that particular moment with respect to energy use, etc.
General discussion finished off our session and Members present discussed issues relating to:
- Development of a Data Session
- Alarms from the plant that are triggered on email
- Maintenance versus open review of data
- Work with LEDC - work with someone who wants to work with you to take you to the next step to help you save on energy
- Finding resources can be difficult
- Compare energy cost to labour budget
Very, very special thanks to our Host, Marsan Foods Limited, for the warm welcome, wonderful overview of their journey to date, our Presenters - Meena Hassanali from Provision Coalition and Brian Muscat from Bonduelle North America and to all those who participated in this Special EMC Food Sector Event!!
All the best as always!
Bren de Leeuw, Director - EMC Food, Beverage, Bio & Ag Program Canada
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - email@example.com - 519-372-6009