Last week, Blackstone held its second annual Industrial Energy Summit, a summit that brings together companies from across Blackstone’s portfolio to share best practices, techniques and tools with the goal of improving energy performance and reducing costs. This year, the summit was hosted at Blackstone portfolio company Gates Corporation in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Six other Blackstone portfolio companies were also in attendance, including Service King Collision Repairs Centers, PGI Specialty Repairs, Performance Food Group, Catalent Pharma Solutions, Utility One Source, and Acushnet Company. The companies came together to focus on energy challenges that transcend sector, and to apply their proven solutions across the portfolio.
This particular summit focused, in part, on the successful headquarters-level installation of a Continuous Improvement (CI) function with a dedicated energy focus at Gates Corporation. The solution, in this case, was the addition of a full-time professional responsible for energy performance company-wide. Don Anderson, an Executive Director and Chief Sustainability Officer in Blackstone’s Private Equity Group, believes that an employee of this type can reduce a company’s energy costs by 10x their salary, making it clear hiring a team-member with this skill-set is worth doing. Gates, one of the newest companies to Blackstone’s portfolio, has created a playbook of sorts for this methodical top-down approach, which will help guide new Blackstone portfolio companies as they adopt similar processes.
Topics presented by Blackstone’s Jeff Overly and the Gates team at the Summit included:
- Continuous Improvement as a core business initiative that should include energy costs
- Toolkit-driven preventive and predictive maintenance, including infrared and ultrasonic guns
- Scorecards to drive performance improvement and verification
- “Fast Find and Fix” visits by best in class providers that pay back immediately while identifying top opportunities for future planning, prioritization and execution
- Preferred provider Schneider Electric’s improved Resource Advisor tool for tracking performance improvement over time
The Blackstone Private Equity Sustainability team works across the Blackstone portfolio to identify, prioritize, and implement ROI-based opportunities, procure and track energy consumption and carbon, and to make sustainability a core business strategy. In 2013 and 2014 alone, this strategy generated over $100 million in savings for our portfolio companies.