Five simple tips for reducing OPEX at your manufacturing site

By Paul Walsh, CIM

Facing tightening OpEX and a full return to the workplace, large building owners and manufacturing facilities are searching for solutions that enable improvement of operational efficiencies without compromising site production or profitability. CIM - a world-leading building analytics platform - have developed five tips to help every facility manager.

Efficiently operating large manufacturing sites is challenging. To maintain their profit margins, these sites must operate with the lowest possible operational and production costs, with no disruption to product quality and output. 

When faced with disruptions such as COVID-19 or unplanned downtime, the manufacturing challenge becomes even greater. 

Reducing site operational costs becomes vitally important. Fortunately, by optimising large onsite mechanical and electrical equipment for peak performance, manufacturing sites can achieve this quickly and easily.

Here are five simple tips for reducing OPEX at your manufacturing facility.

1. Identify inefficiencies within existing HVAC plant and equipment

The plant room⁠—the section of a building that contains expensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment⁠—presents many opportunities to cut costs and improve site efficiency. And these opportunities can be unlocked with the help of building analytics.

Building analytics aligns with the International Energy Agency’s emphasis on energy efficiency being the “first fuel”, by delivering demand side energy reduction on your large HVAC plant and equipment. CIM's data analytics platform with automated Fault Detection Diagnostics (FDD) analyses equipment performance data in near real-time to identify performance opportunities and eliminate waste.

Working in compliance with COVID guidelines to drive a higher focus on health and safety means facility managers need to look at other techniques to reduce costs. For example, in lower foot traffic areas, simple steps such as correctly managing the flow of fresh air (to reduce recirculated air), widening deadbands and modifying setpoints will ensure low occupancy spaces are compliant while remaining as energy efficient as possible. With the help of building analytics, facility managers can even reduce or shut down HVAC operation in areas that are not in use or are not critical to operations to minimise energy costs.


2. Continuously monitor to prevent downtime 

HVAC issues can impact productivity by causing unplanned equipment downtime. Breakdowns are extremely costly and given the limited resources available for rectification works, it is even more vital to be able to anticipate and prevent equipment faults and failures.

Building analytics can help improve HVAC management for onsite teams by immediately identifying high priority issues such as poor temperature and humidity control in validated areas.

It also enables sites to prioritise critical services such as production floors and validated areas


3. Prioritise contractor activities onsite and reduce call-outs

Manufacturing sites rely on facility engineers and contractors to maintain operational performance, yet many sites find it difficult to track and improve workflow accountability.

Building analytics software will detect and diagnose the root-cause of faults, then remote technical engineering teams escalate and triage the ones that matter, facilitating a more transparent and collaborative relationship between onsite teams and contractors to resolve issues quicker.

The close out timeframe for resolving open actions can be tracked on building analytics platforms such as PEAK and reported against the KPIs in the service level agreement.


4. Base capital expenditure projects on data, not time based upgrades

Without the right HVAC data or technical expertise,  it's difficult to understand and verify third party recommendations about faults and breakdowns. Often sites will resort to costly equipment upgrades as a quick fix solution, yet the return on investment period could be 15 years or longer.

Plant room decisions are too important to be made without access to all the information. Building analytics delivers an unbiased and accurate approach to improving equipment performance by detecting the root cause of issues. Sometimes a simple part replacement will fix the issue, thereby increasing asset lifecycle and minimising capital expenditure.

The ability to quickly and accurately pinpoint and fix equipment problems and proactively identify improvements—through continuous monitoring and building analytics—is fundamental to improving operational efficiency and maximising equipment value.  With an already limited CAPEX budget, building analytics can deliver a smarter and more cost-effective approach to capital planning. 


5. Combining Human Intelligence and Data-Analytics is the Secret Sauce

Implementing proven cost effective technological innovations is a great way to reduce OPEX, however simply installing it and expecting results is not enough. To ensure it delivers results, it is important that it is merged with technical experts . This ‘collaborative intelligence’ is the ‘Secret Sauce’. Without human interaction, the data taken from existing systems will remain unactioned and inefficiencies will reemerge. 

A holistic building-analytics provider assists facility managers by providing remote technical engineering support that acts as part of the wider facilities management team. This helps FMs by reducing the complexity of operation. 

For more information on how building analytics can help you run your manufacturing facility at its peak performance, please click here. Alternatively, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out directly to CIM via email
[email protected] / [email protected]


About CIM

CIM creates innovative building analytics software that helps run large buildings and manufacturing facilities at their peak performance. Our award-winning PEAK platform integrates building intelligence, machine learning and technical engineering support to improve efficiency, sustainability and comfort across portfolios. Our customers include large real estate investment trusts, superannuation funds, governments, major cultural institutions, high-tech manufacturing and property portfolio owners and operators. We have offices in Australia and Europe.

Published 18/08/2021