You have to bring the right people together – whether they are found on this site, at another site or external to the company. You can’t work in silos. Getting the right people with different expertise involved is the only way to build a credible business case for a project.

You can’t develop a business case proposal on your own. Managers will want to see that influential personnel have been consulted and appropriate expertise has been used to assess risk and quantify the business costs and benefits.

Getting the right people involved in developing your business case will help ensure you ask the right questions and get the right data. It also adds credibility when you can show that people with the appropriate expertise have contributed. It is particularly useful to involve personnel with financial expertise to ensure that your business case is complete and credible.

People and expertise to involve in the process

In many companies an energy management team contributes to the task of developing a business case proposal. This has a number of benefits:

  • shares the workload
  • encourages greater ownership of the assessment process by influential personnel
  • involves management who may not be able to be involved in the detailed aspects of every project
  • provides a forum for review as an energy management program evolves.

If you don’t have a team in place then it will be important to identify the people you need and get them involved early in the process. External expertise may also be important depending upon the size and scope of the project.

Some examples of the people and expertise that you might need to involve as you develop your business case proposal include:

People to involve Their potential contribution
Site and other managers Typically have a good understanding of the business and often extensive experience in the industry
Sub-contractors, external consultants and technology suppliers Can provide specialised knowledge and experience
Finance staff Can assist in developing proposals so that they are suitable for consideration by management and may identify mechanisms (such as tax arrangements and financing options) that facilitate implementation. They may also help clarify and overcome internal and external financial barriers to action, such as separation of capital and operating budgets, tax and contractual issues etc
Marketing and public relations staff Can provide input on the importance of various product attributes, assist with presentation of proposals to management and other staff, and provide advice on building relationships, organisational and behavioural change, effective communication, and raising the profile of your proposal
Business improvement staff Have analytical skills and experience developing business case proposals which align with key business drivers
Technical staff and operators Have detailed experience and knowledge of plant, equipment and operational issues, as well as insights into why certain priorities or procedures have evolved
Energy procurement staff Can advise on the opportunities associated with energy supply contracts and the financial and supply risks that may be relevant to your business case proposal.

Downer EDI: Creating the time to share perspectives with decision-makers – a collaborative approach

Downer EDI Mining has a corporate environmental sustainability management team. Team member, Lionel Pero, Manager Greenhouse and Sustainability, explains the importance of taking the time to discuss energy efficiency with key site personnel.

My role is to develop and implement programs that will achieve ongoing energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions across our mining business. One of our new initiatives involves the implementation of a comprehensive site-level greenhouse and energy management plan. The plan incorporates targets, reporting and the implementation of specific initiatives.

In developing the plan I found that it was really important to create opportunities to speak one-on-one with key project-level decision-makers such as the Project Manager, Maintenance Superintendent, Health Safety and Environment Superintendent, Production Superintendent and Senior Engineers. By listening to their perspectives and sharing ours we have been able to develop a workable plan. Where there has been slower uptake we have been able to make some changes and overcome them. Along the way we have come to understand both the challenges and benefits of the project from the perspective of a range of managers. This has allowed us to create strong support from site managers to implement specific projects.

Tips

  • Get in touch with the relevant people early as they will provide important insights into the risks and benefits of your project that may require further research.
  • Use existing communication channels such as regular meetings, toolbox talks or even staff training to get input to your business case proposal and engage with key staff.
  • You may need to work closely with suppliers, customers and other external stakeholders. If you do, establish roles and responsibilities early so that all parties are clear about the decision-making process.
  • List all the key people that you have consulted with and involved in developing your business case proposal. In some cases it may be appropriate to include information about their expertise and their interest in the proposal.

Tools and resources you might find useful

Case studies that you might find helpful

Australia Post: Using trials to investigate opportunities

Australia Post has a large transport fleet, which includes prime movers, trailers, rigid trucks, vans and motorbikes. Under the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program, the company had identified a wide range of energy saving opportunities, including reducing speed, lighter crates, low rolling resistance tyres, driver training, aerodynamic kits and modifications, hybrids, electric vehicles and alternative fuels. However, calculating the energy savings is difficult without knowing the coefficients of aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance.

There are a number of investigative tools that could be used to measure these, including collection of real world data from working vehicles, wind tunnel tests and controlled experiments on a test track. Australia Post decided to use controlled experiments because of their controllability and safety.

Tests were undertaken at the Australian Automotive Research Centre at Anglesea, Victoria, to calculate the coefficients of drag and rolling resistance and to investigate the impact of various changes. A total of 137 roll down experiments and lap tests were carried out over 3 days, testing the impact of speed, tyre pressure, mass, aerodynamic modifications, changes to scoop height and driving style.

The tests had several benefits:

  • the involvement of vehicle and tyre suppliers in the trial enabled additional opportunities to be identified, such as adjusting scoop positioning to improve aerodynamic efficiency, and laid the groundwork for future collaboration
  • calculations of aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance were subsequently used to calculate the energy and financial savings that could be achieved by implementing specific opportunities
  • aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance for rigid trucks and B-double trucks could be compared to industry best practice, highlighting the potential for further improvement.