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On a crusade to build a greener future for the next generation

THE only individual recognition in the annual EENP awards is the Outstanding Energy Manager of the Year. This year the award was given to Avtar Singh, energy manager at MSD International GmbH (Singapore branch), who has personally driven energy efficiency in the company.

The Outstanding Energy Manager of the Year award recognises outstanding energy managers who have demonstrated leadership in driving energy-efficiency improvement across the organisation and played an instrumental role in promoting energy-efficiency initiatives within the organisation.

"Pursuing energy efficiency in MSD has been a very rewarding and inspiring experience for me as an individual in the organisation. Not only did this bring benefits to the company in terms of business cost reduction and corporate responsibility, the award has a deeper meaning. It inspired me and my team members to continue to do our best to save Mother Earth, to create a greener future for the next generation," says Mr Singh.

"I believe our success lies in our ability to engage the organisation to move towards the common goal for the greater good with the limited resources made available. Winning the energy excellence award is a strong boost and recognition of our past efforts and it will motivate us to take on more challenges on this enriching journey," he adds.

Mr Singh plays an instrumental role in the stewardship of facility-wide energy saving initiatives and sustainability programmes. By using a comprehensive energy management framework, he leads the organisation in continuous energy efficiency improvements without compromising critical business values such as current good manufacturing practice and regulatory quality and safety requirements.

As part of the energy management framework, Mr Singh develops strategic annual energy-capital projects to ensure continuous energy efficiency improvement and energy conservation. He monitors facility-wide energy consumption and forecasts utilities consumption based on changing production demands.

He also leads energy engineers to identify energy-efficiency opportunities and provides guidance in managing the computerised energy monitoring system for the facility to drive efficiency and sustainability.

FOSTERING COLLABORATION

As a leader who is overall responsible for site energy management, Mr Singh fosters collaboration with the energy leads from the other manufacturing sites with the MSD network, the global energy team and government agencies to seek new methodologies and market trends that may be leveraged to the facility.

As a subject matter expert, Mr Singh manages the site energy-conservation programme with all stakeholders to create awareness and ensure sustainability through steps such as organising treasure hunts to eliminate energy and identify energy improvements, employee awareness and capabilities building programmes, and reward and recognition programmes to motivate employees' contributions.

Along with his team, Mr Singh completed 31 energy-efficiency projects in the past two years. These projects resulted in annual energy savings of 10.4GWh. Some of the key energy-efficiency initiatives are optimisation of steam turbine, variable frequency drive implementation for chiller water secondary pump, chilled water loop optimisation and facility optimisation on air-handling units, process equipment and utilities.

"When we embarked on the energy efficiency journey in 2011, we had set a very bold target of energy reduction goal of 30 per cent site wide. Over a period of five years from 2011 to 2015, we anticipated to have saved energy consumption of approximately 62.6 GWh which will amount to 33 per cent reduction. This heartening result represents significant cost saving as well as huge societal benefits in terms of greenhouse gas emission reduction," says Mr Singh.

To put the figure in relative terms, a successful energy management programme that delivers energy savings of 62.6 GWh brings about a reduction of approximately 43,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to planting one million tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or powering approximately 150,000 HDB 4-room flats for one month, which is the size of a typical Singaporean township.

"We have devised programmes to build core skills and link reasonable, fair incentive to positive energy performance so that alignment in expectation is achieved. We also encourage employees to report energy wastage and make suggestions for improvements. Through collective efforts, the company seeks to grow an energy conscious and energy saving culture across the entire work community," says Mr Singh.

To motivate and instil an organisation culture that embraces continuous improvement, having people-centric awareness and engagement programmes to drive ownership is imperative, he adds.

"A very successful example of the awareness and engagement programmes is the energy treasure hunt. Based on Lean and Kaizen principles, it is about getting out of the office and going to where the energy is being used to identify energy-saving opportunities. A three day event, including Sunday, a non-production day - led to tremendous discovery of critical waste areas in view of low operation activity. A classic example of a great discovery was identifying optimisation gaps in the chiller system that eventually resulted in saving 14.2 GWh in one year," says Mr Singh

Through the treasure hunt exercise, critical energy waste areas were addressed with quick solutions. "In all, we identified 150 Kaizen (energy and productivity improvement) opportunities and acted on more than 90 of them which brought about approximately several millions in cost savings a year," says Mr Singh.

SEEKING INNOVATION

MSD will continue to seek innovation, including the use of renewable sources, to provide electricity energy in a sustainable way that protects environmental and natural resources. "We will continue to grow a forward-focused culture in the workforce to tap on creative problem solving ideas that may arise from our own people as they are the biggest assets in the organisation. Driving a sustainability culture through knowledge building, resource focus and ownership is an imperative focus," says the outstanding energy manager of the year.

MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for the world's most challenging diseases. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co, Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, NJ, USA MSD's manufacturing facility in Singapore employs more than 1,000 people and produces a wide range of products from active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished products covering a wide range of diseases from diabetes to Hepatitis C and high cholesterol treatments.