How to Get Funding for Your Optimization Projects
Updated: Jan 16
Want to know a foolproof way to get funding for your optimization projects?
Ya sorry, there is no foolproof way. HOWEVER I find that a successful approach is to propose several layers of changes with differing goals, and attach ROI to each and productivity rates.
Take time to frame your optimization proposal in terms of short and long term gains. Take into consideration the entire gamut of advantages including increased productivity, performance and revenue, lowered costs, improved employee and customer satisfaction, industry goodwill, competitive advantage, reduced turnaround time, diversification and risk mitigation, and much more.
Consider your audience - the head of the union wants to know if these changes are going to cost jobs or if you are building in programs to re-train employees which may actually fuel some opportunities to reward high performers and motivate underperformers. The CFO wants to know timelines in terms of budget and ROI. The plant manager wants to understand how much productivity will increase because that is how he personally is measured in his job. There is a whole new role as well, the VP of Sustainability is looking for the environmental advantages of optimization and the more clear you can be with those numbers (how many tonnes of CO2 will not be produced), the better.
Optimization projects often have a ripple effect. Be sure to mention how it will benefit safety, employee training and upcycling, product line diversification and increased output as well as cost cutting methods.
Be prepared for competing requirements. We all know that companies should be continuously looking to measure and improve efficiency. They should invest in technology and infrastructure on an ongoing basis but the reality is that these are often railroaded for more “urgent” tasks, repairs that can’t wait, a new warehouse to add capacity, that sort of thing. So sometimes you need a workaround.
There is another way....
There are all sorts of funding opportunities around energy rebates.
Energy Rebates - have been known to fund 50% of steam trap monitoring projects including covering steam trap inspection as well as steam trap monitoring equipment and defective trap replacement or repair in parts of Canada and US.
Green Technology Retrofit Rebates - Ontario and other governments have committed billions of dollars to modify and enhance factories and industrial businesses to work toward ‘net zero carbon’ status
Large Volume Program - for companies use a large portion of their green budget for one single project (particularly if they have multiple sites all participating)
IESO Conservation Fund - for businesses who are reducing their electric energy use
Natural Gas Demand Side Management - another government fund available to businesses who are able to reduce their need for natural gas
US DOE -free energy audits, rebates for efficient heating systems, reduced costs for efficient technology solutions
National Grid - enhanced steam trap incentive
Many, many more - incentive and rebate programs are available through local and federal programs.
I personally find that optimization is its own reward. The satisfaction I get from improving processes is extreme. I also am a proponent of making continuous small updates all the time. Waiting until the situation is critical and requires extremely aggressive timelines and carries a high risk is less than ideal. There is no easy and foolproof way to get funding for your next optimization project but there definitely are some approaches that work better than others.