Lighting as a service - the breakthrough model for industry
19 Sep 2018
The legacy approach to lighting is outdated. We need a new process model that treats it as a service, suggests Zumtobel's Graeme Shaw...
A recent PwC report pointed to the need for manufacturing businesses to invest continuously in their plant and operations in order to remain competitive and to secure long-term stability. It concludes that better management of working capital is key to generating the necessary cash for investment.
As we enter the 4th industrial revolution’ there is clearly pressure on manufacturing businesses to assess legacy operations and re-think legacy processes. Leaders are embracing the new idea of light as a service (LaaS), whereby the future performance of the lighting solution is ensured by the supplier and no capital outlay is required.
The LaaS model enables manufacturing companies to look beyond what would otherwise be possible without such a financing model in place. Put simply, businesses can upgrade the way in which light is used within their environment and pay for it using savings generated from day one of installation.
Certainly, the cost and energy savings delivered by today’s LED lighting systems are compelling. But the LaaS model moves the conversation beyond simple savings.
Manufacturing covers a broad array of processes, many of which impact – or are impacted by - the operational environment. Our dealings with the sector have revealed numerous lighting challenges.
The pharmaceutical industry provides an obvious case in point. Many pharmaceutical products will degrade under the wrong kind of light; in turn, lean manufacturing processes emphasise increasing efficiency and reducing waste. Here, high-quality LED lighting is assisting with product inspection and quality control.
[It] allows buyers to benefit from LED technology and developments without the hassle of owning and operating the lighting solution themselves
The LaaS model delivers immediate and ongoing access to experts who have the experience and depth of knowledge to suggest best-fit lighting solutions. Light can be tailored to suit a client’s specific needs.
The model’s future-proofing advantages are critical. Without it, every new technological advancement would require significant capital expenditure. LaaS allows buyers to stay a step ahead, benefitting from LED technology – and future developments - without the hassle of owning and operating the lighting solution themselves.
Every day an obsolete lighting system is operating it causes unnecessary extra costs - through excessive electricity consumption, high failure rates and high maintenance charges. Doing nothing is expensive.
Changing any purchasing and business model will always require careful assessment. However, moving to the LaaS model now can lead to immediate savings.
Everything associated with lighting will be handled by the expert provider, enabling manufacturing leaders to focus on core tasks. Once installed, transparent remote monitoring helps to achieve the agreed aims regarding illuminance and energy efficiency and to quickly identify opportunities to adapt and enhance usage patterns.
Adjusting lighting to individual specific needs and implementing new functions isn't a one-off task, but rather continues throughout operations. Possibilities for optimisation – in the areas of quality, efficiency and functionality – are constantly monitored.
LaaS arrangements allow future cost savings to be harnessed to pay for today’s digital technology upgrade. Such arrangements are gaining attention precisely because they enable investment without capital commitment, moving the business model from buying technology, to paying for access to that technology.
Combining smart financing and smart technology can accelerate investment in the smart manufacturing environment.
Graeme Shaw is technical application and academy manager for Zumtobel Group