ESOS Facts on a Page

The UK?s ESOS energy saving program stands for ?Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme?. Its purpose is to reduce demand – and hence fossil-based pollution at both ends of the supply chain. It currently applies to large UK companies only. However its guidelines are also valuable input to smaller firms voluntarily going greener.

The program threshold is 250 employees and / or turnover or at least ?UK50 million. This affects approximately 9,000 UK firms, with others below the threshold wondering whether the government plans to lower it. In essence, ESOS requires that qualifying businesses complete comprehensive audits of energy use and opportunities at least every fourth year.

The plan is carrot and stick. Compliant companies will probably uncover significant savings when they stop and measure. They may even unearth carbon credits they can sometime exchange for cash. Reactionary firms who try to duck the issue will feel Her Majesty?s wrath through stiff penalties. In time, they may find it harder to attract investors. If ESOS affects your company, then the wise thing could be complying by the first deadline of 5 December 2015.

To do so, you must conduct an energy audit and report it to the UK Environment Agency. This comprises

  1. Measuring total energy use across processes, transport and facilities
  2. Pie charting 90% of this to identify areas that are energy intensive
  3. Singling out cost-effective energy-saving projects in high use areas
  4. Submitting your report to the Environment Agency ahead of the deadline

ecoVaro recommends affected companies do not leave this to the last minute. While having ISO 50001 may exempt some from ESOS, the regulations are far from straightforward and it will take months to reach complete clarification. We would like to suggest a more balanced approach.

ESOS is a wonderful incentive to save energy costs while contributing to a better future for the kids. The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme is precisely that. The cost of energy has crept up on us to the extent that we have to do something, government or no government.

Measuring energy consumption is as simple as installing meters at critical points in the flow, and you probably have many of them anyway. Once you have your data you no longer have to crunch the numbers. ecoVaro can do this for you and return the result in the form of handy graphs and spreadsheets.

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A Small External Enterprise Development Team is Cheaper than Your Own

Time is money in the application development business. We have to get to market sooner so someone else does not gazump us, and pip us at the post. We increase the likelihood of this with every delay. Moreover, the longer your in-house team takes to get you through the swamp, the higher the project cost to you.

Of course, in theory this should not be the case. Why bring in a team from outside, and pay more to support their corporate structure? Even going for a contract micro team ought not to make financial sense, because we have to fund their mark-up and their profit taking. Our common sense tells us that this is crazy. But, hold that thought for a minute. What would you say if a small external enterprise development team was actually cheaper? To achieve that, they would have to work faster too.

The costs of an Enterprise Internal Development Team

Even if you were able to keep your own team fully occupied ? which is unlikely in the long term ? having your own digital talent pool works out expensive when you factor in the total cost. Your difficulties begin with the hiring process, especially if you do not fully understand the project topic, and have to subcontract the hiring task.

If you decide to attempt this yourself, your learning curve could push out the project completion date. Whichever way you decide to go, you are up for paying advertising, orientation training, technical upskilling, travel expenses, and salaries all of which are going to rob your time. Moreover, a wrong recruitment decision would cost three times the new employee?s annual salary, and there is no sign of that changing.

But that is not all, not all by far. If want your in-house team to keep their work files in the office, then you are going to have to buy them laptops, plus extra screens so they can keep track of what they are doing. Those laptops are going to need desks, and those employees, chairs to sit in. Plus, you are going to need expensive workspace with good security for your team?s base.

If we really wanted to lay it on, we would add software / cloud costs, telephony, internet access, and ongoing technical training to the growing pile. We did a quick scan on PayScale. The median salary of a computer programmer in Ireland is ?38,000 per year and that is just the beginning. If you need a program manager for your computer software, their salary will be almost double that at ?65,000 annually.

Advantages of R&D outsourcing

The case for a small externally sourced enterprise development team revolves around the opportunity cost ? or loss to put in bluntly ? of hiring your own specialist staff for projects. If you own a smaller business with up to 100 people, you are going to have to find work for idle digital fingers, after you roll out your in-house enterprise project. If you do not, you head down the road towards owning a dysfunctional team lacking a core, shared objective to drive them forward.

Compared to this potential extravagance, hiring a small external enterprise development team on an as-needed basis makes far more sense. Using a good service provider as a ?convenience store? drives enterprise development costs down through the floor, relative to having your own permanent team. Moreover, the major savings that arise are in your hands and free to deploy as opportunities arise. A successful business is quick and nimble, with cash flow on tap for R & D.

Matrix Management: Benefits and Pitfalls

Matrix management brings together managers and employees from different departments to collaborate with each other towards the accomplishment of the organizational goals. As much as it is beneficial, matrix management also has limitations. Hence, companies should understand its benefits and pitfalls before implementing this management technique.

Benefits

The following are some of the advantages of matrix management:

Effective Communication of Information

Because of the hybrid nature of the matrix structure, it enables different departments to closely work together and communicate frequently in order to solve project issues. This leads to a proficient information exchange among leaders and subordinates. Consequently, it results to developed strategies, enhanced performance and quick productivity.

Efficient Use of Resources

Resources can be used efficiently in the organisation since it can be shared among functions and projects. As the communication line is more open, the valuable knowledge and highly skilled resources are easily distributed within the organisation.

Increased Motivation

The matrix structure promotes democracy. And with the employees working on a team, they are motivated to perform their duties better. The opinions and expertise of the employees are brought to the table and considered by the managers before they make decisions. This leads to employee satisfaction, empowerment and improved performance.

Flexibility

Since the employees communicate with each other more frequently, decision making becomes speedy and response is adaptive. They can easily adjust with diverse situations that the company encounters.

Skills Development

Matrix employees are pooled out for work assignments, even to projects that are not necessarily in line with their skill background. With this approach to management, employees have the chance to widen their skills and expertise.

Discipline Retention

One significant advantage of matrix management is that it enables the employees to maintain their skills in functional areas while working with multidisciplinary projects. Once the project is completed and the team wraps up, the members remain sharp in their discipline technically and return to their home functions.

Pitfalls

Here are some disadvantages of matrix management:

Power Struggle

In the matrix structure, there is always tension between the functional and project manager. Although their intent is polite, their conflicting demands and competition for control over the same resources make it more difficult.

Internal Complexity

Having more than one manager, the employees might become confused to who their immediate leader is. The dual authority can lead to internal complexity and possible communication problems. Worst, employee dissatisfaction and high employee turnover.

Heightened Conflict

In any given situation where people and resources are shared across projects, there would always be competition and conflict. When these issues are prolonged, conflicts will heightened and will lead to more internal problems.

Increased Stress

For the employees, being part of a matrix structure can be stressful. Their commitment is divided among the projects and their relationship with multiple managers requires various adjustments. Increased stress can negatively affect their performance in the long run.

Excessive Overhead Expenses

Overhead administrative costs, such as salaries, increase in a matrix structure. More expenses, more burden to the organisation. This is a challenge to matrix management that leaders should consider carefully.

These are just some of the advantages and disadvantages of matrix management. The list could go on, depending on the unique circumstances that organisations have. The key is that when you decide to implement matrix management, you should recognise how to take full advantage of its benefits and understand how to lessen, if not eradicate, the pitfalls of this approach to management.

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a vital component in BC (Business Continuity) planning. Through risk assessment, your company may determine what vulnerabilities your assets possess. Not only that, you’ll also be able to quantify the loss of value of each asset against a specific threat. That way, you can rank them so that assets that are most likely to cripple your business when say a specific disaster strikes can be given top priority.

However, a poorly implemented risk assessment may also cost you unnecessary expenditures. Many risk assessors are too enthusiastic in pointing out risks that, at the end of the assessment, they tend to over-appraise even those having practically zero probability of ever occurring.

We can assure you of a realistic assessment of your assets’ risks and propose cost-effective countermeasures. These are the things we can do:

  • Identify your unsafe practices and propose the best alternatives.
  • Perform qualitative risk assessment if you want fast results and lesser interruptions on your operations.
  • Perform quantitative risk assessment if you want the most accurate depiction of your risks and the corresponding justifiable costs of each.
  • Conduct frequency and consequence analysis to identify unforeseen harmful events and determine their effects to various components of your organisation and its surroundings.

We can also assist you with the following:

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