EU Energy Efficiency Directive & UK’s ESOS

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In 2012 the European Union passed its EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) into law. This aims to reduce overall energy consumption by 20% by 2020. It placed an obligation on member states to pass back-to-back local legislation by June 2014.

EED Guidelines

The EED provides specific guidelines it expects member nations to address. The list is long and here are a few excerpts from it:

  • Large companies must use energy audits to identify ways to cut their energy consumption
  • Small and medium companies must be incentivised to voluntarily take similar steps
  • Public sector bodies must purchase energy-efficient buildings, products and services
  • Private energy-consumers must be empowered with information to help manage demand
  • Energy distributors / resellers must cut their own consumption by 1.5% annually
  • Legislators are free to substitute green building technology e.g. through better insulation
  • Every year, European governments must audit 3% of the buildings they own

Definition of Energy Audit

An energy-consumption audit is a question of measuring demand throughout a supply grid, with particular attention to individual modules and high demand equipment. While this could be an exercise repeated every four years to satisfy ESOS, it makes more sense to incorporate it into the monthly energy billing cycle.

Because energy use is not consistent but varies according to production cycle, this can produce reams of printouts designed to frustrate busy managers. ecoVaro offers an inexpensive, cloud-based analytic service that effortlessly accepts client data and returns it in the form of high-level graphic summaries.

Potential ESOS Beneficiaries

As many as 9,000 UK companies are obligated to do energy audits because they employ more than 250 employees, have a balance sheet total over £36.5m or an annual turnover in excess of £42m. Any smaller enterprise that finds energy a significant input cost, should also consider enlisting Ecovaro to help it to:

  • Obtain a better understanding of the energy side of their business
  • Achieve energy savings and share in a estimated £3bn bonanza to 2030
  • Reduce carbon emissions to help meet their CRC commitments

More About ecoVaro

We offer web-based energy management software that helps you measure and manage energy costs. This strips data from your meters and generates personalised reports on a dashboard you control. This information helps you accurately zoom in on worthwhile opportunities. With Ecovaro on your side, ESOS truly becomes an Energy Saving OPPORTUNITY Scheme.

CONTACT US

  • We seek to understand your technology and business challenges
  • We tailor a demonstration of our platform and solutions to align to your specific needs
  • We answer any questions and make recommendations based on your feedback for "how to walk before you run"
  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
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Operational Reviews

IT OPERATIONAL REVIEWS DEFINED
An IT operational review is an in-depth and objective review of an entire organisation or a specific segment of that organisation. It can be used to identify and address existing concerns within your company such as communication issues between departments, problems with customer relations, operating procedures, lack of profitability issues, and other factors that affect the stability of the business.
Operational reviews allow the organisation members to evaluate how well they are performing, given that they perform appropriately according to the procedures set by them, allocating their resources properly, and performing such tasks within time frame set and using cost-effective measures. More importantly, it also shows your company how well it is prepared to meet future challenges.
Simply put, the goals of an operational review are to increase revenue, improve market share, and reduce cost.

THE BENEFITS OF AN IT OPERATIONAL REVIEW
The main objective of IT operational reviews is to help organisations like yours learn how to deal with and address issues, instead of simply reacting to the challenges brought about by growth and change.
In such review, the information provided is practical from both a financial and operational perspective. Using these data, the management can then come up with recommendations, which are not only realistic, but more importantly, can help the organisation achieve its goals. The review recognises the extent to which your internal controls actually work, and enables you to identify and understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

To be more specific, let’s list down the ways wherein an effective operational review can contribute to the success of the organisation.

The review process can:
– assess compliance within your own organisational objectives, policies and procedures;
– evaluate specific company operations independently and objectively;
– give an impartial assessment regarding the effectiveness of an organisation’s control systems;
– identify the appropriate standards for quantifying achievement of organisational objectives;
– evaluate the reliability and value of the company’s management data and reports;
– pinpoint problem areas and their underlying causes;
– give rise to opportunities that may increase profit, augment revenue, and reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of the product or service.
Thus, each operational review conducted is unique, and can be holistic or specific to the activities of one department.

Our Operational Efficiencies cover the entire spectrum:

  • What to buy
  • Optimising what you’ve already bought e.g. underutilised servers, duplicate processes, poorly managed bandwidths
  • Making your team comfortable with the changes
  • Instilling Best Practices

UNCOVER WAYS TO DRIVE YOUR PROFITS UP, THROUGH OPERATIONAL REVIEWS

More Operational Review Blogs

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  • We tailor a demonstration of our platform and solutions to align to your specific needs
  • We answer any questions and make recommendations based on your feedback for "how to walk before you run"
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The Rights of Individuals Under The General Data Protection Regulation

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The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR is a European Union law reinforcing the rights of citizens concerning the confidentiality of their information, and confirming that they own it. We thought it would be interesting to examine the GDPR effective 25 May 2018 from an Irish citizen’s perspective. This article is a summary of information on the Data Protection Commissioner’s website, but as viewed through a businessperson’s lens.

How the Office Defines Data Protection

The Office believes that organisations receiving personal details have a duty to keep them private and safe. This applies inter alia to information that individuals supply to government, financial institutions, insurance companies, medical providers, telecoms services, and lenders. It also applies to information provided when they open accounts.

This information may be on paper, on computers, or in video, voice, or photographic records. The true owners of this information, the individuals have a right:

  • To make sure that it is factually correct
  • To the assurance that it is shared responsibly
  • That all with access only use it for stated purposes

Any organisation requesting personal information must state who they are, what the information is for, why they need to have it, and to whom else they may provide it.

Consumer Rights to Access Their Personal Information

Private persons have a right under the GDPR to a copy of all their information held or processed by a business. The regulation refers to such businesses as ‘data controllers’ as opposed to owners, which is interesting. They have to provide both paper and digital data, and ‘related information’.

Data controller fees for this are discretionary within limits. The request may be denied under certain circumstances. The data controller may release information about children to parents and guardians, only if it considers a minor too young to understand its significance. Other third parties such as attorneys must prove they have consent.

Consumer Rights to Port Their Data to Different Services

Since the personal information belongs to the individual, they have a right not only to access it, but also to copy or move it from one digital environment to another. The GDPR requires this be ‘in a safe way, without hindrance to usability’. An application could be a banking client that wants to upload their transaction history to a third party price comparison website.

However, the right to data portability only applies to data originally provided by the consumer. Moreover, an automated method must be available for porting. Data controllers must release the information in an open format, and may not charge for the porting service.

Consumer Rights to Complain About Personal Data Abuse

Individuals have a right under the General Data Protection Regulation to have their information rectified if they discover errors. This right extends to an assurance that third parties know about the changes – and who these third party entities are. Data controllers must respond within one month. If they decline the request, they must inform the complainant of their right to further remedial action.

If a data controller refuses to release personal information to the owner, or to correct errors, then the Data Protection Office has legal power to enforce the consumer’s rights. The complainant must make full disclosure of the history of their complaint, and the steps they have taken themselves to attempt to set things right.

Further Advice on Getting Things Ready for 25 May 2018

The General Data Protection Regulation has the full force of law from 25 May 2018 onward, and supersedes all applicable Irish laws, regulations, and policies from that date. We recommend incorporating rights of data owners who are also your customers into your immediate plans. We doubt that forgetting to do so will cut much sway with the Data Commissioner. Remember, you have one month to respond to consumer requests, and only one more month to close things out subject to the matter being complex.

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When Carrefour Pushed the Right Buttons

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Retail giant Carrefour based in Boulogne Billancourt, France is big business in anybody’s numbers. Europe’s #1 retailer opened its first store in 1958 near a crossroads (Carrefour means ‘crossroad’ in French) and has largely not looked back since then. The slogan for the hypermarket chain with more than 1,500 outlets and close to a half million employees is ‘choice and quality for everyone’. Our story begins when Carrefour decided these things belong at home too.

The company implemented a worldwide universal responsibility program firmly anchored on a tripod of goals for environmental, economic and social progress. Its first step was to appoint a five-person project team tasked with liaising with program delegates in all thirty countries in which it operates, and who had responsibility for driving these goals.

The team’s job was to make sure that policies, standards, procedures and key performance areas were common visions throughout Carrefour. By contrast, the local managers’ were tasked with aligning these specifics to local conditions in terms of environmental, political and social issues. The project team checked the fit quarterly via video conferences.

The Triple Bottom Line Goals were woven through with Carrefour’s Seven Core Values, namely Freedom, Responsibility, Sharing, Respect, Integrity, Solidarity and Progress. Constant contact was maintained with staff and other stakeholders through ‘awareness training’ seminars and other dialogues. As the program took hold and flourished, it became evident that the retail giant needed help with managing the constant stream of metrics flowing in.

After reviewing options, Carrefour appointed a software provider to monitor progress against its primary focuses on energy, water, waste, refrigeration, paper, disposable checkout bags, hygiene & quality, management gender parity, disabled people and logistics. This enabled it to track progress online against past performance, and produce meaningful reports.

The Environmental Manager in the Corporate Sustainability Department waxed lyrical when he said, “We believe that our sustainability strategy and software solution have powerfully improved collaboration, innovation, and overall performance”. He went on to describe how it was helping drive cost down and profitability up, while simultaneously growing brand.

Non-conformance costs can be high and run counter to the imperative to make a profit – while simultaneously ensuring a better world for our children’s children. In Carrefour’s case, having a consultant to measure progress was the key that unblocked the administrative bottleneck. Irish company Ecovaro does this for companies around the world. Click here. Discover what we will do for you.

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Technology and process improvement

Technology

Tightening organisational flow to improve productivity and minimise costs is a growing concern for many businesses post the Global Financial Crisis. Businesses can no longer afford to waste time and personnel on inefficient processes. Organisations using either Six Sigma or Lean techniques better manage their existing resources to maximise product out-put. Both of these techniques involve considerable evaluation of current processes.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is an organisational management strategy that evaluates processes for variation. In the Six Sigma model, variation equates waste. Eliminating variation for customer fulfilment allows a business to better serve the end-user. In this thought model, the only way to streamline processes is to use statistical data. Each part of a process must be carefully recorded and analysed for variation and potential improvements. The heart of the strategy embodied by Six Sigma is mathematical. Every process is subject to mathematical analysis and this allows for the most effective problem solving.

What is a Lean Model?

Lean businesses do not rely on mathematical models for improvement. Instead, the focus is on reducing steps in the customer delivery cycle, which do not add value to the final deliverable. For example, maintaining excess inventory or dealing with shortages would both be examples of waste behaviour. Businesses that operate using Lean strategies have strong cash flow cycles. One of the best and most famous examples of Lean in action is the Toyota Production System (TPS). In this system, not only is inventory minimised, but physical movement for employees also remains sharply controlled. Employees are able to reach everything needed to accomplish their tasks, without leaving the immediate area. By reducing the amount of movement needed to work, companies also remove wasted employee time.

Industry Applications for Lean and Six Sigma

Lean businesses reduce the number of steps between order and delivery. The less inventory on hand, the less it costs a business to operate. In industries where it is possible to create to order, Lean thinking offers significant advantages. Lean is best utilised in mature businesses. New companies, operating on a youthful model, may not be able to identify wasteful processes. Six Sigma has shown its value across industries through several evolution’s. Its focus on quality of process makes it a good choice for even brand new businesses. The best use is the combination of the two strategies. With the Lean focus on speed and the Six Sigma focus on quality combined, the two organisational processes create synergy. By itself, Lean does not help create stable, repeating success. Six Sigma does not help increase speed and reduce non value-added behaviours. Combined, these two strategies offer incredible value to every business in cost savings.

Using Technology to Implement Lean Six Sigma

Automation processes represent an opportunity for businesses to implement a combination of both Lean and Six Sigma strategies. Any technology that replaces the need for direct human oversight reduces costs and increases productivity. A few examples of potentially cost saving IT solutions include document scanning, the Internet, and automated workflow systems.

  • Document Scanning – Reducing dependency on paper copies follows both Lean and Six Sigma strategies. It is a Lean addition in that it allows employees to access documents instantly from any physical location. It is Six Sigma compliant in that it allows a reduction on process variation, since there is no bottleneck on the flow of information.
  • The Internet – The automation potential offered by the Internet is limitless. Now, businesses can enter orders, manage logistics and perform customer service activities from anywhere, through a hosted portal. With instant access to corporate processes from anywhere, businesses can manage workflow globally, allowing them to realise cost savings from decentralisation.
  • Automated Work Systems – One of the identified areas of waste in any business is processing time. The faster orders are processed and delivered, the greater the profits for the company and the less the expense per order. When orders sit waiting for attention, they represent lost productivity and waste. Automated work systems monitor workflow and alert users when an item sits longer than normal. These systems can also reroute work to an available employee when the original worker is tied up.

Each of these IT solutions provides a method for businesses to either reduce the number of steps in a process or improve the quality of the process for improved customer service.

Identifying Areas for Lean Six Sigma Implementation

Knowing that improved processes result in improved profits, identifying areas for improvement is the next step. There are several techniques for creating tighter processes with less waste and higher quality. Value Stream Mapping helps business owners and managers identify areas of waste by providing a visual representation of the total process stream. Instead of improving single areas for minimal increases in productivity, VSM shows the entire business structure and flow, allowing management to target each area of slow down for maximum improvement in all areas.

Seeing the areas of waste helps management better determine how processes should work to best obtain the desired outcomes. Adding in automated processes helps with improved process management, when put in place with a complete understanding of current systems and their weaknesses. Start with mapping and gain a bird’s-eye view of the situation, in order to make the changes needed for improvement.

CONTACT US

  • We seek to understand your technology and business challenges
  • We tailor a demonstration of our platform and solutions to align to your specific needs
  • We answer any questions and make recommendations based on your feedback for "how to walk before you run"
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Maturing Into CMMI

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In all likelihood, the reason why you landed on this page was because you were seeking CMMI experts to help you meet the demands of a growing number of potential clients who require CMMI compliance.

Whether or not you’re here for that reason, you might want to know why CMMI or Capability Maturity Model Integration is steadily becoming a common denominator among highly successful software and engineering development companies. If you stay for a while, we can show you how CMMI can substantially increase your organisation’s chances of:

  • reducing development costs;
  • acquiring new customers and retaining old ones;
  • beating deadlines;
  • bringing down development time;
  • increasing the overall quality of your products and services; and
  • improving the level of satisfaction of customers, employees, and all other stakeholders.

Surely, no organisation can be too small or too big to aspire for such benefits of attaining high levels of maturity and capability.

If you want to look beyond Maturity Level ratings, then you’ve come to the right place. We focus on introducing CMMI principles and blending them into your organisation’s culture to achieve a truly superior and sustainable business advantage. Compliance will then be an inevitable offshoot of the actions you make.

Likewise, if you simply want to obtain a deeper understanding of CMMI and learn how it can be applied either to your entire organisation or to specific projects, we’d be happy to assist you in that regard as well.

Finally, when you’re ready, we can also conduct CMMI appraisals either for benchmarking purposes or simply for determining how well your process improvement initiatives are going.

CMMI Consulting

Are you worried that implementing CMMI might entail an overhaul of your current processes? Don’t be.

CMMI is all about improving current processes, not replacing them. Ideally, the final result of all process improvement activities should be hinged on your own business objectives and context, so we’ll make sure it remains that way when we work with you.

We rely on our extensive knowledge and experience in CMMI, engineering, software development, and technologies as well as in change and project management in providing model-based process improvement services. Whether you’re gearing up for an appraisal or simply want to employ CMMI-based practices, these are the things we can do for you.

  • Help you interpret how CMMI can be implemented in relation to your business.
  • Assist in convincing sponsors and stakeholders to support your CMMI implementation initiatives.
  • Introduce the necessary training to all individuals who need to undertake them.
  • Conduct a Gap Analysis to find out where your company’s current processes stand relative to their CMMI specifications.
  • Assemble a process group that will champion your process improvement initiatives. We’ll facilitate effective collaboration among its team members, transforming them into a cohesive force designed to carry out plans and motivate everyone else down the line.
  • Introduce tools and practices that will improve the efficiency of our process improvement initiatives.
  • Carry out periodic evaluations and produce reports to provide sponsors and stakeholders a clear picture of our progress.

CMMI Training

Still not convinced CMMI is right for you? There’s only one way to fully grasp the benefits of implementing CMMI – take the Introduction to CMMI course. Although what happens next is entirely up to you, we’re pretty sure you’ll make the right decision after passing it.

Do you need to include people from your organisation in a SCAMPI (Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement) team? They’ll have to undergo this course too. The Introduction to CMMI is for systems and software engineering managers and practitioners, appraisal team members, process group members, and basically anyone who want to grasp CMMI fundamentals.

This is what you’ll be able to do after going through 3 days of lectures and exercises:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the various components of CMMI-DEV models and their relationships.
  • Discuss the process areas in CMMI-DEV models.
  • Extract and interpret aspects in the model relevant to your own organisation’s processes.

We also offer highly specialised training and workshops such as those for:

  • Achieving High Maturity Levels
  • Top Executives
  • Team Building in Preparation for Appraisals

CMMI Appraisal

An organisation new to CMMI will want to know first how far their current processes are relative to the implementation of model-based improvements in order to determine the resources and time that have to be spent to get there.

Similarly, an organisation already well acquainted with CMMI and has begun taking steps in improving processes, will eventually want to know how close it has come to the Maturity Level it has aimed for.

In both cases, these organisations will have to be assessed by a qualified CMMI appraiser to obtain an accurate picture of their current status. We can perform appraisals on either your entire organisation or on specific projects/practices within a process area. Our appraisers can conduct the following SCAMPI (Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement) appraisals:

  • SCAMPI Class A – This is what you’ll need if you’re aiming for a level rating.
  • SCAMPI Class B – You may want to use this for process reviews or for preparing for a SCAMPI Class A.
  • SCAMPI Class C or Gap Analysis – We typically conduct this for organisations who have yet to implement CMMI-based initiatives so that they can design the most cost-effective road map for the implementation proper.

CONTACT US

  • We seek to understand your technology and business challenges
  • We tailor a demonstration of our platform and solutions to align to your specific needs
  • We answer any questions and make recommendations based on your feedback for "how to walk before you run"
  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK