Fire extinguisher manufacturer Desautel has been awarded ISO 50001:2018 certification for its production facility in Meyzieu, Rhône. The first French recipient, the company has rolled out measures to optimize its energy management.
Every hour, 240 brand-new red and white fire extinguishers leave the production lines at the Desautel (the eponymous group subsidiary) facility in Meyzieu, Rhône. The pace is fast – essential to the site’s yearly production of 500,000 units – and energy-intensive. “We have had ISO 9001 certification (quality) since 1993, ISO 14001 certification (environment) since 2005 and OHSAS 18001 certification (occupational health and safety) since 2008,” says Sophie Sanchez, QRSE Manager. “At first, we didn’t really see the point of getting ISO 50001 certification for energy because our environmental efforts were already supported by ISO 14001 and we thought we had optimized our electricity consumption. But the AFNOR Group convinced us that the opposite was true by showing us the benefits of the process.”
Crucially, it highlighted the new features of the 2018 standard which underpins the certification. This standard has been in force since summer 2018 and will render all certification based on the former 2011 edition worthless as of August 2021. “The 2018 edition’s ‘risks and opportunities’ approach changed our perception,” says Sanchez. “Our analysis identifies no energy risk in our facility but the changes to the standard allow us to address this as an opportunity in order to improve and unite our teams.”
AFAQ ISO 50001: an audit and surprises
Like any self-respecting ISO 50001 project, the process began with an energy audit to pinpoint the source of each kilowatt hour consumed. “This meticulous work was conducted in partnership with EDF,” says Philippe Bourlois, Maintenance and Energy Manager for the site. “We’ve installed tracers on our various electrical substations to find out exactly what consumes what.”
Everything was scrutinized, from paint booths to compressors, heating and lighting, with some odd surprises! “We realized that a compressor was running for four hours every Sunday afternoon when the facility is closed. This configuration error was immediately corrected,” says Bourlois. With the EDF experts, senior management set a target to reduce on-site electricity consumption by 10% in three years. This entails two key components: technical changes (60%) and behavioural developments (40%).
AFAQ ISO 50001: motivating the teams
To get all employees on board, meetings were organized in small groups to present the process, set out the initial guidelines and answer questions. “We were surprised at the amount of interest,” says Sanchez. “The meetings lasted twice as long as expected because the teams all wanted to take part, suggest ideas and get involved!” The result was a wide variety of potential action: making team leaders responsible for switching their machines on and off at the opportune moment; insulating the heating system; setting up airlocks and automatic doors for trucks to minimize the inflow of outside air; installing thermometers in the offices to optimize heating and air conditioning use, etc.
Annual savings are estimated to reach 25,000 euros which will be invested in energy performance and employee comfort improvements to get everyone more involved. “The relatively modest savings is not our main motivation,” insists the QSE Manager. “The ISO 50001 process will help improve working conditions for teams and give greater insight into our industrial tools. And we’re proud to be the first French recipient of the 2018 certification.” Initiated in March 2018, the certification project was completed in record time with a favourable decision from the auditor eight months later.
Already certified for the 2015 editions of the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, Desautel took to ISO 50001 with relative ease: the high level structure (HLS) is identical for all three standards which facilitates management and cross-reporting. As part of the continual improvement drive, the 2019 action plan envisages a warning system in the event of unusual consumption in a machine or room. And, every three months, the Desautel energy team will meet to manage the action and ensure “a lively energy management system”.