Decision criteria for the selection of energy management systems in industry

According to which criteria do I select an energy management system?

As soon as a company makes the decision to procure an energy management system, affected employees are spoilt for choice. With over 400 suppliers, the market is not exactly clear. We asked our customers which criteria were important for their decision and would like to summarize the results as an aid in this blog post.

The following decision criteria turned out to be the most important for our customers: Costs, features, service and sustainability.

A summary of the decision criteria

The importance of the costs in connection with the available features and the question „What do I get for my money?“ should be particularly emphasized here. In terms of features, interfaces and flexibility are the most important requirements, as some customers had to replace their entire system after only a short time due to lack of compatibility.

 

1. Decision criterion – Costs

In order to calculate the costs, companies should realize that energy management is an iterative process: As soon as the first data is visualized, some questions are answered and new questions are raised. Therefore, the costs should be plotted in a time series over the next 5-10 years. This is because both the number of meters and the number of users will increase every year.

External costs for the energy management system

  • Counter
  • Software: usually there is a one-time payment and a monthly or annual maintenance/license fee.
  • Software Commissioning
  • Software Training
  • Datalogger (if necessary): it must be checked whether the manufacturer requires additional gateways.
  • Server, operating system, hosting (if necessary): if no hardware with operating system is supplied, both must be provided by the customer. This always consumes a four-digit sum, which is sometimes not part of the offer.

Note on software: It is important to calculate the costs over several years. Many manufacturers use price models per point of delivery and per user. It is important to consider that both the number of meters (experience 5-10 new ones per year) and the number of users (controller, power buyer, operations manager, managing director, electrical department, external service provider, etc.) will increase. This is due to the fact that the topic of energy is becoming more and more important due to the energy turnaround and that modern energy management software is taking over more and more parts of process control technology.

Internal and hidden costs

  • Installation effort for meter
  • Replacement of existing non-compatible meters
  • Cabling effort
  • Costs for service: training, initial configuration, adding additional meters, support
  • Activation of interfaces to third-party systems: ERP, SPS, GLT (can quickly be five-digit)
  • Updates
  • Costs for engineering: measurement concept, compatibility consulting

Tips: It is worthwhile to draw up an exact invoice for all components. Manufacturers of meters often sell the software very cheaply, but then recommend unnecessarily expensive or too many meters. In addition, in this case the existing meters must be replaced more frequently due to incompatibilities. Although providers of pure software are more expensive, they are more compatible with additional meters, so that cheaper meters can be used regardless of the manufacturer. Since in the case of pure software manufacturers the software is their only product, this is usually more expensive. (Note on Bafa: The subsidy is usually not worthwhile from an economic point of view, since the internal costs for the application are higher than the expected subsidy).

 

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