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Brilliant Simplicity in Energy Management Leads to Winning Results – Learn from Mercedes’ F1 Team

Energy Management in F1 racing

Photo Credit: Takayuki Suzuki 

What does F1 racing have to do with energy management?  Well, it turns out they are remarkably similar.  In F1 there are very strict regulations that all the teams must follow.  This means the engineers and managers of these teams need to find innovative solutions to maximize their performance.  The industry is dominated by similar technologies, standard approaches and every ounce of competitive advantage matters.  Sound familiar?


Here are two key lessons from F1 that can be applied to your business.


1. First Key to Success: Obsessive focus on a single metric

In F1 they’ve taken all the reams of data and configuration options and simplified that to focus on a single defining metric – “minimum lap-time frontier” (minimize the time going round a lap of the circuit for a given energy budget). The goal of an F1 team is to perform as close to that frontier as possible to assure their chance of success on race day. Mercedes applies this rule abidingly and they are dominating the 2014 F1 season.
This same obsessive focus on the metrics that matter will deliver the same results for your business. I recently wrote a post about this same topic. For someone in commercial real estate that metric is probably $\sq ft and in the manufacturing market its $\widget produced. Implementing one of these metrics to manage your electricity expense will simplify your energy management practices and make them relevant to your value generation activities.

2. Second Key to Success: Define the variables that you can control

An F1 car is a miracle of Big Data. There are thousands of sensors creating millions of data points that are transferred back to the pits in near real time. This is a big data and energy management petri-dish. Developing tools and techniques that eventually all of us can deploy to our high performance businesses.
Big data is emerging as a new and powerful tool in energy management. With a big data energy management platform you can measure all the variables that affect your consumption in near real time and use that information to tweak your processes for optimum effect; and maximum profit.

1 + 2 = Success

One of the stated challenges of big data is the sense of drowning in too much data and not enough insight to make decisions. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t implement a big data energy management system, it means that you need to define the key metrics that are critically important to the success of your business. Once you have those key metrics defined, all the data you collect from all the variables in your plant can be converted into information that matters to your business.
You can apply the same high tech approach to your electricity consumption and leverage Big Data to unleash the variability and winning edge in your electricity consumption that you didn’t even know was there. Shameless plug, we recently released a White Paper on how Big Data can be used to improve your energy management plan and reduce your costs. But, the data and the right tools are only one part of the solution. Like Steve Glover wrote a few weeks ago, it’s critical to also have a highly skilled and high performing team to win the race.

Mercedes is dominating its race. With the right team, focus on the key metrics and access to the right data you can dominate your race. And win.

Find out if you’re competing at the Mercedes level or if you’re sputtering at the back of the pack. Complete our free electricity assessment survey to see where you rank compared to industry best practices.
If you made it this far into the blog post you must be interested in energy management or F1 racing. If its energy management, give us a call. If it’s F1, here’s are some links that were used to write this post:

Mercedes Is Owning This Formula 1 Season. Here’s Why

An Illustrated Guide to F1′s Radical New Engine