Kenya’s Kenafric Industries, has bagged the Energy Savings Award (EMA) in this year’s Energy Management Awards in recognition of its gains in energy efficiency through the use of innovative energy management principles and practices as rising cost of energy pose a growing challenge to businesses.
Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM) estimates that the inefficient use of energy, especially within industry leads to wastage of between 10 to 30 percent of primary energy input.
According to the manufacturer one of Kenafric’s milestones in Energy management was the implementation of an Online Energy Management system (EMS), in which we have the facility to monitor the individual machines energy usage instantaneously.
“Over the years, we have won 16 awards in different categories in which we stand 4 times Overall Energy Management Awards winner with a Runners UP in the same.”
The cost of energy has significant impact on economic activities particularly those that are energy intensive such as cement, steel, pulp and paper production. In a liberalized market such as Kenya’s, energy prices are a significant determinant of competitiveness of locally manufactured goods relative to imports.
In this regard, high energy prices impact negatively on domestic wealth creation, balance of payments and employment creation since consumers opt for cheaper imports. Kenafric Industries is all too aware on the impact of fluctuating energy prices on enterprises as the manufacturer chose to go into footwear at time when plastic shoes were the in thing.
However, an oil crisis in 1992 prompted a paradigm shift in the company’s strategy after oil prices skyrocketed, this led Kenafric Industries to venture into confectionary business after inputs prices shot up denting profit margins.
An increase in the cost of crude oil directly affects the cost of resin — a by-product of oil which is the major raw material in the manufacture of plastics.
The company family acquired its first bubble gum machine from Taiwan to kick start small scale production. In the succeeding 10 years, Kenafric Industries built a strong brand and distribution network taking its sweets and bubble gums countrywide.
The significance of energy management and conservation measures in business cannot be overemphasized, it is estimated that the average energy saving potential in Kenyan industry is over Ksh2 billion per annum.
Challenges to implementation of energy efficiency and conservation initiatives include lack of awareness of the benefits and methods of conservation, apathy, limited technical capacity and inadequate data
The manufacture says it has a standalone energy management policy which is communicated to the staff and customers. EMA is managed by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers through the Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (CEEC) and is aimed at recognizing best practice in energy efficiency and creating awareness about the benefits of energy efficiency.