5 reasons why energy and utility companies should automate their processes

Automating your industrial processes can give you access to many benefits, including reduced energy costs, greener energy options, and personalised solutions to complex problems, among others.

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rA July 2020 global survey by McKinsey found that 67% of companies surveyed had accelerated their deployment of automation and AI due to the pandemic. While the advantages of automation are numerous, there are still plenty of people who are hesitant to commit to this course of action. Here is a list of the top five reasons why energy and utility companies automate their industrial processes to remove some of the guesswork from decision-making.


Technology Enables Personalized Energy Usage

Today, energy consumers are more aware of their energy usage than ever before. They are conscious of how much energy they use in relation to their neighbours. Moreover, they are willing to do what it takes to make sure they have a greener option available to them, if one is available. Providers are taking advantage of these consumer attitudes by offering customised options for different residential customers based on their needs. Providing these personalised solutions has become possible thanks to advancements in automation technology, which allows companies that provide energy services access to complete digital profiles of each customer’s home or business so they can determine what kind of programs would best meet those customers’ unique requirements and help them save money.


Reduction in Energy Costs

Any energy company worth its salt knows that they cannot survive without reducing their production and operational costs. Manually controlling energy is costly in both time and money. Automating your processes means not only saving money on operators but being able to continually monitor for trends so you can proactively adjust as needed. As we all know: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Real-time business intelligence and asset monitoring is crucial in this instance, something which we specialise in implementing.


Cost Savings Associated with Industrial Automation

When it comes to industrial automation, cost typically refers to an industrial robot’s initial investment. However, studies have found that industrial robots can bring a return on investment (ROI) in less than one year. According to Forbes, “Intelligent Automation typically results in cost savings of 40 percent to 75 percent, with the payback ranging from several months to several years”. While that number seems daunting at first glance, consider how many facilities your company operates — and then think about how much money you could save on just one of those locations with an automated solution. Take those returns across multiple facilities (as well as any other savings) over multiple years and you are looking at a considerable amount of money saved.


Increasing Safety Through Process Control Systems

Human error is a leading cause of industrial accidents. When human beings are put in charge of monitoring, diagnosing, controlling and securing energy infrastructure, they can make mistakes that cause seriously injure themselves and a companies’ bottom line. To prevent these, many companies have begun using software-based process control systems that remove human decision-making from day-to-day operations. These systems enable energy and utility businesses to identify what went wrong in their operations immediately after an event occurs; but more importantly they also provide detailed information about how to fix problems in near real-time so they do not affect business operations. One example is the IntelliAsset platform that provides capabilities for asset visualization, Birlasoft have delivered near real-time analytics that combines millions of sensor data points with SAP transactional data and geo-spatial information in near real-time through intelligent ERP to deliver truly next generation reporting capabilities for a well-known global renewable energy company.

As a result of this project, calculations that used to take weeks now only take minutes, the system now processes 5.6M sensor readings monthly with potential to grow 10-15x and has a 92% reduction in report generation times.

As an example of new capabilities – this renewables company can now identify poorly performing assets instantly, locate these assets, generate work orders and assess the financial impact of this in a matter of minutes.

Other reasons why utility companies automate include: more efficient use of resources; reduction in environmental impact; more transparency for consumers; access to advanced diagnostics tools. More modern machines have API interfaces built into them which means that they can be accessed and controlled remotely.


Continuous Diagnostics Enabling Daily Assessment

This is a perfect example of why industrial automation can be so beneficial. Industrial systems are complex – very complex. When an incident occurs, having good diagnostics in place can save a lot of time and money. If your process requires several manual operations, human error will have a direct impact on your business. This may result in increased costs in production downtime or lack of production due to improper calibration or operation by employees. It is not always easy to find out where errors are coming from, but with industrial solutions such as Asset Management (IoT Cloud), then this works seamlessly with ERP Cloud via typical workflows. By supporting remote monitoring capabilities, you can gather all sorts of data about your office or factory processes that help you better understand where issues are occurring and as it is likely to be linked to a core business system like an ERP then the service maintenance module will be used to create a service work order. This makes it easy to use your workforce to rectify any problems occurring and see when they have been completed. Additionally, doing this through planned downtime rather than unplanned allows you to fix the issues quicker and costs less whilst providing a better service to your customers.

The biggest challenge for today’s energy companies is meeting constantly increasing demands for greener energy sources while reducing costs. This can be done by automating industrial processes that are too complex or dangerous to control by using human labour.

Automation enables companies to:

  • Improve system diagnostics
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Create personalised solutions
  • Continuously assess performance
  • Change how you control workflows & processes

Companies that decide to automate can expect immediate benefits on their bottom line—but it is important to note there are several steps in choosing an automation platform that aligns with your overall goals. Find out how to get started by reaching out to us today.

Contact and sales details

For more information please reach out to the Birlasoft team.

Website: https://www.birlasoft.com/

Energy: https://www.birlasoft.com/industries/energy-and-resources

Utilities: https://www.birlasoft.com/industries/utilities

Sales Contact Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/birlasoft/

Office: London Office, 4th Floor, 53-54 Grosvenor Street, London – W1K 3HU

Phone: +44 20 7319 5700

Email: [email protected]

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