On Monday, EEF and npower published the results of a survey which explored how manufacturers were responding to higher energy costs. In today's guest blog Wayne Mitchell, Director of Industrial and Commercial Sales and Marketing at npower, discusses the report, its findings and why energy efficiency is key to maintaining UK manufacturing's competitiveness.
At npower, we've been working closely with EEF to launch a joint report into energy efficiency amongst UK manufacturers. The survey, published on Monday 17 February, has been commented on across energy trade media as well as the Financial Times. It has become clear from the report, which surveyed almost 200 manufacturers across the UK, that an investment in energy efficiency is more important than ever for manufacturers to remain competitive in the current industry landscape.
This sentiment is reflected across the survey results, highlighting the increasing number of CEOs and Managing Directors that have taken control of energy efficiency decisions. The report has found that one third of manufacturers surveyed have taken energy management decisions to a boardroom level. In addition, one in five manufacturers are looking to suppliers for advice on energy savings and efficiency. With the cost of energy continuing to rise, making these strategic decisions both at the board level and alongside a trusted energy expert can help deliver a valuable competitive advantage.
As a supplier and energy solutions provider to our customers, it's crucial for us to understand how the manufacturing sector has adopted energy efficiency strategies and identify any barriers that manufacturers face when trying to boost energy efficiency. With 96% of companies surveyed quoting the reduction in energy bills as a reason for implementing energy management, it's clear that the subject of energy feeds directly into the strategic business decisions made by manufacturers, and is seen as a way of reducing bottom-line costs.
With this in mind, it is encouraging to see that many manufacturers have taken a positive and proactive approach to managing energy use. Almost two thirds have already undertaken energy audits, and over half have adopted lighting efficiency strategies. These wider energy solutions are increasingly integral to what we do at npower, and by working as a strategic partner with manufacturers, our aim is to help businesses of all sizes become more energy efficient, reduce costs and fully understand energy policy.
What's also become clear is that investment in energy management is not without significant barriers. Of the manufacturers surveyed, 64% cited extensive payback periods as the main barrier to implementing energy efficiency measures, with others noting that their company has limited scope to increase efficiency and that other investments sometimes take greater priority. To deliver a step change in energy management in this sector, it's evident that both industry and government need to work together to develop policy solutions that meet businesses' unique energy needs, and in turn help maintain the UK's manufacturing competitiveness.