Does every word of your environmental management system add value?

Energy Management Systems

Does every word of your environmental management system add value?

As an auditor of environmental management systems, I often see manuals and procedures that effectively just repeat the requirements of the standard they are written for.

Eg, XXXX Ltd will determine the environmental aspects of its activities, products and services that it can control, etc.

If your organization has done this, does it create value for you, or just add to the bulk of the system?

If you need a hand to slim down your management system to something that is simply adding value and helping you to achieve your environmental performance objectives, please give me a shout.

Is duplication helpful, or more likely to lead to mistakes?

I was auditing a company recently when I noticed some duplication in their environmental management system documentation. All of the procedures were presented as a flow chart, then repeated in words. This means that they will appeal to people who are visual as well as those that prefer words, which could be a good thing.  I didn’t notice any errors in this case, but it reminded me of how duplications mean that you run the risk of one element being updated and the other no longer matching.

I saw this the other day in some operating procedures covering temperature. The correct temperature settings were stated differently in different parts of the procedure. Not only could this lead to confusion, but also to wasted energy.

Are there any duplications in your environmental management system? If so, are they managed closely to ensure that any changes are made in both places?

Do any of your team have hidden talents?

I was sitting in a jazz bar the other day, waiting for the band to come onto stage. The lights dimmed, the MC made his introductions and the band emerged – four men and one woman.

Although I consider myself to be pretty good on equality and diversity issues, I initially assumed that the woman was the vocalist – until she walked past the microphone and sat behind the drum kit.

Are you making any assumptions about your employees’ competences?

One of my clients has an administrator who has such excellent interpersonal skills that they are far better at motivating people to close out non-conformities than the compliance manager is.

At another client’s, one of the engineers is a talented pen and ink artist – an ideal skill for enlivening internal communications.

Do any of your colleagues have hidden talents? Could someone unexpected turn out to be an ideal member of your environmental management team?

Is it time to switch to electric vehicles?

With some car manufacturers offering diesel scrappage schemes and the driving range of electric vehicles increasing all the time, is now the right time to consider switching for your business?

There are over 5,000 charging points in the UK, so, along with the increasing driving range of electric cars, switching is beginning to look more feasible.

Normalization of data

When you monitor your organization’s performance, have you ever considered which variables, other than good environmental management, might be relevant to consider? 

Data normalization, ie comparing connected variables, is a very useful tool to use. It is a means of comparing efficiency of processes, eg by reporting on kWh of energy used per item produced.

However, we often see data normalization that confuses the picture, rather than clarifying it. For example, gas that’s only being used for heating a building being normalized against production throughput.

A simple way to determine the relevance of a variable is to create a scatter diagram using existing data:

If the points on the scatter diagram are in a tidy line, as above, there is a clear correlation between the two factors. The more scattered they are, and the flatter the line, the less strong the correlation – and the less valuable it is to report the data normalized against that factor.

A more complex way to determine relevance – and predict future consumption – is to consider a range of factors by conducting a full regression analysis.

Different variables are likely to be relevant in different situations. For example, electricity consumption per m2 is more likely to be relevant when it’s mainly used for lighting than when it’s used for production.

Normalization of data is not the be-all and end-all of monitoring. After all, we know that we need to make absolute reductions in some areas too, eg carbon emissions. A combination of absolute and normalized data is useful, so that you can assess the overall position as well as your efficiency.

We can help you to generate meaningful data – call Julia on 07904 389889 to discuss your requirements.