TE Connectivity: Energy Center of Excellence
In a large company like TE Connectivity, attempts to share and promote “best practices” frequently fail to live up to their potential. This occurs because platforms for sharing often end up with too much information/too many projects, and because without significant effort to review and control content, some of the information is not terribly useful. Even with good content, adoption rates lag because people have so many other things to do.
TE wanted to establish a new approach to aggressively and effectively promote best practices across over 100 sites and multiple business units and regions, for processes common to most or all of TE’s sites. TE initially used this new approach for core manufacturing processes such as stamping and molding, then realized that this approach could work for energy efficiency as well.
Specifically, TE created “Centers of Excellence” – “COEs” – for the core manufacturing processes and for energy efficiency. The COEs are teams of people from all parts of the business with expertise and/or interest in a particular COE topic, such as energy. The purpose of these COEs is to facilitate collaboration and the sharing of expertise and best practices throughout all operations. For energy reduction, formation of the COE was particularly important given that TE does not have staff dedicated to energy efficiency; everyone is doing it along with their other (primary) job.
The COEs developed the “Ready-to-Deploy Project” approach to manage and promote best practices more effectively. The COE identifies a select group of projects that have been deployed successfully at one or more TE sites and can be deployed at many others – these are the “RTD” projects. For each project, the COE website provides resources and a method for sign-up and project tracking. One of the main keys to the success of the approach is that the COE/RTD website also provides various details and summary reports on deployments for use by management and others.
Commitment to Sustainability: TE Connectivity is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations. Some of TE’s efforts and achievements are described in greater detail in TE’s Corporate Responsibility report.
Energy Reduction: TE Connectivity initially joined the Department of Energy’s Better Plants program in 2009 and set a target to reduce energy intensity by 25% over a ten year period against a 2009 baseline. TE achieved this goal in 2012 with a total improvement of 27% (at TE’s sites in the U.S.), six years ahead of schedule. In a demonstration of their corporation-wide commitment to sustainability, TE signed another pledge with the Better Plants program to again reduce energy intensity by 25% over a ten year period.
Environmental Management: In all of the countries where TE operates, minimizing the environmental impact of operations is a critical concern. As an organization, TE holds itself to a high standard — often above local requirements and practice — and is committed to continuous improvement. More than half of TE’s manufacturing sites have their environmental management systems (EMS) certified to ISO 14001 by third parties.
There are several focus areas for TE’s Energy COE (and TE’s other process COEs as well). These include identifying and promoting the RTD projects, communicating more generally on energy reduction opportunities and challenges – through periodic calls, meetings, and webinars – and hosting events for sharing among sites on energy reduction issues.
With respect to the “Ready-to-Deploy” projects, the Energy COE currently has six RTD projects:
- Upgrading to More Efficient Lighting
- Recovering Waste Heat from Air Compressors and Other Equipment
- Automating Lighting Controls
- Establishing a Site Energy Champion and an Effective Energy Team
- Detecting and Repairing Leaks in Compressed Air Piping and Other Parts of the Compressed Air System
- Installing Equipment Shutoff Mechanisms and Establishing Shutdown Procedures
TE will be adding other projects to the “Ready-to-Deploy” list as they go forward in their efforts to expand the Energy Center of Excellence.
A critical component of the success of the RTD project approach, and the COEs in general, is management support of and engagement in the process. The COE/RTD website allows managers to see deployment activity readily by site, by topic, by region, etc. It also tracks savings associated with deployments. COE deployment progress is reported regularly to TEs business and operations leaders by TE’s VP of Manufacturing Engineering. As a result, TE’s leadership monitors progress and can encourage additional investigation or adoptions where uptake appears to be limited. Sites always have the option of indicating that the project is not applicable, or has already been deployed, etc. – but with the RTD approach TE is able to strongly encourage adoption without mandating it at all sites.
Since initially adopting greenhouse gas and energy reduction goals in 2008 (one year after TE became an independent company), TE has utilized a variety of methods to communicate goals, opportunities, and resources. TE publishes energy-related articles on its company-wide internal website, and communicates goals, performance, and progress to operations and business leaders through regular reports and presentations. TE has also featured energy reduction strategies and projects in its global operations meetings.
Since forming the Energy COE, COE projects, resources, and performance have been communicated regularly to all TE operations, and operations and business leaders. The Energy COE has hosted regional Energy “Tech Days” to facilitate and encourage sharing of sites’ progress, opportunities, and challenges in energy reduction, and to promote collaboration and sharing of resources. More recently, the Energy COE sponsored a company-wide energy savings competition, and publicized the projects and accomplishments of the winners.
Tools & Resources
The Energy COE provides a number of tools and resources that encourage stakeholders to interact with the COE and leverage the available information to implement impactful energy projects.
Notable tools and resources include:
COE/RTD Website: This website is where ready-to-deploy projects are stored, where TE sites can find resources and sign up for projects, and where adoption, progress, and savings are all tracked online. The website also allows sites to enter relevant details on how a particular RTD project is being implemented at their site and to set up an appropriate target and scorecard for each project. It was created by TE’s internal IT function.
Energy Website: This website, linked from the COE/RTD website, provides tools, calculators, and other resources for both technical experts and for non-technical audiences as well. The website includes, for example, information on financial analysis and advocacy for energy projects, zero-cost energy savings opportunities, project examples, and technical resources on lighting, compressed air, HVAC, and other common TE energy-consuming processes.
Additional Resource: TE Energy "Center of Excellence" (COE) Snapshot
TE measures success in two ways. First, TE measures overall energy usage, efficiency, and progress towards goals on a regular basis. Second, specifically for the COE/RTD projects, TE tracks the extent to which these projects are implemented across the company and the associated savings planned and achieved. Project adoption and results can be measured at the site, business unit, regional, or TE level. The COE/RTD website also provides for tracking the progress for each particular project as it is implemented at a particular site (e.g. number of lighting fixtures upgraded).
TE’s Energy Center of Excellence has proven extremely helpful in promoting adoption of proven energy reduction projects throughout TE, improving collaboration among plants, and continuing to identify opportunities for promoting and achieving TE’s energy reduction goals.
TE is encouraging and tracking the deployment of proven and broadly-applicable best-practice approaches by establishing "Centers of Excellence" teams that identify promising approaches and provides resources and a method for sign-up and project tracking.
Challenge of effectively promoting energy best practices for deployment at TE plants.
Using the TE “Center of Excellence” and “Ready-to-Deploy Project” approach to encourage and track deployment of proven and broadly-applicable projects.
Improved implementation rates of the most impactful energy efficiency projects.