Extending the boundaries of energy management for assessing manufacturing business strategies

Manufacturers are responsible for about one third of global energy demand, and thus have a responsibility for reducing their reliance on rapidly depleting non-renewable energy sources. Consequently, a plethora of research has arisen to develop novel ways of improving energy efficiency in factories by focusing on changes to energy intensive production processes and other energy using systems that support manufacturing activities. However, the ultimate goal of manufacturing companies is to maximise profit by refining their business strategy, highlighting the importance of assessing the impact of different business strategies on energy demand. Therefore, one of the key research challenges is to assign anticipated energy demand to various decisions within a business. This paper presents a hierarchical approach to attribute the potential energy demand of manufacturing activities to alternative business decisions, thus informing selection of the most energy efficient business strategies.