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Benchmarking of maintenance performance a case study in two manufacturers of furniture

  1. There are two types of training that directly contribute to the efficient use of energy and raw materials.
  2. There are three problems that commonly occur when collecting data.
  3. The auditing involves recording of current state and balancing of energy and material flows.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Licensewhich permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Abstract As energy costs continue to rise, industrial plants even those of energy nonintensive industries such as furniture industry need effective way to reduce the amount of energy they consume.

Besides, there are a number of economic and environmental reasons why a company should consider environmental management initiatives. This paper provides a detailed guideline for implementing joint energy and environmental management system in wood furniture industrial company.

The Scientific World Journal

It covers in detail all essential aspects of the system: Introduction The wood furniture industry includes manufacturing of furniture parts and their assembly with appropriate finishing operations. Other materials, such as metal, foam, cloth, and plastic, are also used.

The furniture manufacturers predominantly belong to the group of small and medium companies. The level of specific energy consumption energy consumed per unit of finished product depends on the manufacturing processes that are implemented in a company, the type of material being processed, applied woodworking technology, scale and type of production, the type of furniture that is produced, and so forth.

According to the systemization of data for different industries, the mean specific consumption of primary energy in the wood processing industry which includes the production of wood furniture in the EU is 0.

Although the amount is relatively small, the potential for energy savings exists. Energy costs in an energy nonintensive industrial company such as a furniture industry company are often considered as fixed overheads, although they belong to the cost categories that can be easily managed.

Therefore, companies become more motivated to introduce the practice of energy management as a part of their regular activities [ 23 ].

Until recently, energy management practice primarily considered replacing inefficient equipment and then using any number of methods to assess obtained savings. Experience shows that positive effects of energy-efficient improvements were decreased over time. This is due to the fact that energy use in an industrial company is largely dependent on operational practices. Production volume, schedule of operations, or the type of products that is being produced in an industrial plant can be significantly changed during the life of the company.

Energy consumers in production process can be relatively energy efficient in initial production scenario, but significantly less effective under the changed production conditions. The presence of energy-efficient equipment, although very important, does not ensure that the industrial system will be energy efficient. It is often the case that the energy-efficient equipment is being used in nonenergy-efficient way in some companies [ 4 ].

Energy management is an ongoing process which includes the monitoring energy performance and constantly finding ways to improve and maintain the performance. There have been significant efforts during the last decade to define appropriate standards and best practices and implement the consistent energy management system to increase and maintain the energy savings.

Several national energy management standards exist: Energy management system is focused on the efficient use of energy, water, and other raw materials. Benchmarking of maintenance performance a case study in two manufacturers of furniture activities in a systematic approach to energy management include energy procurement, billing and measurement, performance measurement, development of energy policy, energy auditing, establishing a correlation between energy used and the volume of final production, raise awareness, implementation of energy efficiency projects, training and education, management of investment projects, and so forth [ 36 ].

The main environmental concerns of the wood-based furniture industry include the following: Typical waste streams from the wood furniture industry.

The magnitude of these concerns depends largely on the size of the manufacturing operations and the nature and degree of technological sophistication of the equipment and facilities being employed.

The factory workers are the first to be affected by the emissions produced by various operations, but surrounding areas can also be adversely impacted in the absence of minimum preventive controls.

  1. Regardless of the expensive measurement equipment, applied technological solutions, and a modern monitoring system, an EEMS will not be successful if employees do not feel the need to participate in solving problems related to excessive energy consumption and environmental protection.
  2. Organising EEMS The decision of management to control energy costs and costs of harmonization with environmental regulatory requirements presents an important first step in starting any kind of energy and environmental management. Energy and environmental policy sets targets for the required level of performance of a company concerning energy consumption and waste generation.
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  4. Besides, there are a number of economic, environmental, and social reasons why a company should consider waste minimisation initiatives. This is especially true for companies in which the volume of production varies considerably over time.

It should be also emphasized that furniture manufacturing companies often lack accounting evidence on generated wood waste [ 7 ]. To improve the environmental performance of a company, it is often necessary to implement expensive measures without obvious and direct financial benefits for the company. Therefore, environmental issues were not on the priority list of industrial companies. However, furniture manufacturers are more faced with strict environmental regulations and restrictions which cause their need for environmental management.

Besides, the proper attitude towards the environment of an industrial company is a desirable corporate behaviour which significantly affects the good image of the company at consumers and competition. Continual environmental pollution, fear of complete exhaustion of natural resources, increased public interest for preserving the environment, lack of organized and systematic monitoring of pollution consequences, and specific working conditions in the affected areas have led to the obvious need for the introduction of environmental management systems that are defined by standards, such as international ISO 14001: An environmental management system should take into account the legislation, existing standards, and being consistent with the needs of the environment.

It should control and reduce pollution and impact of the pollution on the environment originated from using raw materials and energy in production.

Benefits from applying the system in the industry are i reducing the environmental impact, ii reducing the risk of potential environmental disasters, and iii reducing the costs required to maintain the system in accordance with the environment. Environmental protection costs are the consequence of i investment and operating costs for the equipment of pollution control system, ii tariff for the disposal of waste hazardous materialsiii training required for the environmental protection, iv monitoring, storing and analyzing data, reporting, and so forth.

Under the system, environmental policy is defined and implemented, objectives and expectations are set, and the system for monitoring of environmental impacts arising as a result of production in an industrial company is established.

The procedures to ensure continuous improvement of the impact of company performance on the environment and the procedures to reduce current and avoid future environmental accidents are also implemented.

The energy management system should equally take into account the cost of energy and the efficiency of transformation, generation, and distribution of energy. On the other hand, the environmental management system is primarily focused on: Both management systems deal with the efficiency of raw material usage and waste reduction, since any unnecessary waste of raw materials means that more than necessary energy is being used and that environmental pollution is greater than necessary.

According to the analysis of relevant research, individual elements of the energy management system can be compared with the elements of the environmental management system [ 110 ]. In an industrial company, universal practice of joint management of energy and environment can be therefore introduced. This enables continuous improvement of the energy and environmental performance of a plant and entire company with the primary aims of reducing: Energy and Environmental Management System The energy and environmental management system EEMS presents a system for improving energy and environmental performance of a company.

Practically, it is a system that should enable the achievement of established goals by measuring, monitoring, and evaluating energy and environmental performance of production processes in industrial companies [ 11 ]. More specifically defined, EEMS integrates the following elements: The benefits of integrating systems of energy management and environmental management are i avoidance of parallel management systems for energy and environmental protection, ii less administration in the company, iii easier maintenance of the system, iv greater financial savings and less environmental pollution [ 10 ].

The main disadvantage of integrating energy and environmental management systems is the fact that it becomes large, overly complex and it is not suitable for the organization and the current responsibilities. According to [ 12 ] furniture manufacturers are industry where a low degree of energy management or no energy management exists, so practically there are no significant obstacles in introducing EEMS to their practice.

Each phase of EEMS introduction can be viewed as a process which requires time, material, and human resources. It is important to bear in mind that this is a system that achieves continuous improvement.

The system takes care of both technical and human aspects of activity in the company, requires the constant support of top management, high-quality employees in energy and environmental management departments, and permanent source of funding.

EEMS in an industrial company depends on type of industry, products, production volume, level of automation, number of workers, condition of production equipment, and so forth. But no matter what the type of a company is, the basic structural elements of the system are shown in Figure 1. The elements of EEMS in a wood furniture production company are presented in the following text. Structure of energy and environmental management system EEMS. Elements of Energy and Environmental Management System 3.

Energy and Environmental Management Matrix Before starting the implementation of EEMS in a company, it is recommended to analyze the current state of energy management and its impact on the environment. Even later, during EEMS development and its implementation, it is useful to periodically analyze the situation, to see where the company is and what needs to be corrected and to be done to achieve the desired [ 13 ].

Energy and environmental management matrix presents an effective way to gain insight into a current approach to energy and environmental matters in the company Table 2.

Each column of the matrix deals with one of the six most important aspects of energy and environmental management: Energy and environmental management matrix. The matrix identifies those aspects where some further attention is required to ensure that EEMS is developed in an effective way. The most common situation in a company is that levels of implementation of energy management and environmental management are different.

The aim of a company should be to evenly move to higher levels, with the balance in each column in both aspects. Regular matrix reviews enable to notice and publish the progress in EEMS. Organising EEMS The decision of management to control energy costs and costs of harmonization with environmental regulatory requirements presents an important first benchmarking of maintenance performance a case study in two manufacturers of furniture in starting any kind of energy and environmental management.

When the top management is dedicated to energy and environmental management, it is important to define and document the respective roles, responsibilities, authorities, and interrelated functions and to reallocate personnel and financial resources for EEMS implementation.

It is necessary to issue and distribute a support document in written, so that all employees are aware of the nature of the proposed measures and to know who is responsible for their implementation. The document should also clearly state that everyone should be aware of wasting energy and generating too much waste and that the obligation of employees is to contribute to reducing benchmarking of maintenance performance a case study in two manufacturers of furniture in all its forms [ 14 ].

Top management should share responsibilities and encourage the free participation of employees at all levels. Regardless of the expensive measurement equipment, applied technological solutions, and a modern monitoring system, an EEMS will not be successful if employees do not feel the need to participate in solving problems related to excessive energy consumption and environmental protection. It is necessary to convince employees to change their attitude towards the problems of energy saving and environmental protection.

An important part of top management commitment is establishing organization responsible for EEMS implementation. It usually consists of two levels: Approved resources, level of support, and authorities assigned to the managers and the committee can be seen as the evidence of top management commitment. The existence of leaders that will tirelessly seek opportunities to improve energy and environmental performance of a company is essential for the successful implementation of EEMS.

These individuals—energy and environmental managers—must sincerely believe in necessities and opportunities for improving performance. These managers are driving force of the system and as program leaders they must have sufficient personal and professional authority in order to be respected, listened, and followed by employees.

They are partly strategist, partly project managers, and partly coordinators of changes. They should be able to focus on the technical aspects of their job and also to focus on problems of communication, motivation, and involvement of employees.

Most often energy and environmental managers are selected among employees. The advantage of this approach lies in the fact that these individuals are familiar with the technological aspects, organizational structure, and personnel. Depending on the size and activities of a company, one or more managers for energy and usually one or more managers for the environment are chosen.

Since the furniture industry is energy non-intensive industry and companies in this industry belong to the group of small and medium ones, it is recommended to choose a person—energy and environmental manager, who will be obliged to take care of environmental protection and energy efficiency in the company. Energy and environmental manager, if necessary, establishes team group of coordinators for energy and environmental management.

This group should be appointed for certain period of time usually one year. Rotating members bring new people with fresh ideas creating a mechanism for a smooth replacement of inactive members and providing constructive involvement of staff.

Team members should be chosen to have the skills that manager lacks. While the energy and environmental manager has full-time engagement, team members will be engaged only on part-time basis. For larger companies with more plants and complex equipment, team members can be engaged on a full-time basis. In many companies especially large, from energy-intensive industries, and with substantial influence of the manufacturing process on the environment the appropriate committee is formed.

This committee is a team of enthusiasts formed to help energy and environment manager s in the process of introduction of EEMS. This group should be retained even after the implementation phase to coordinate and make regular EEMS assessment.

Employees are the last level of the organizational structures.