4 Steps to Making All Your Sites ISO 50001 – Economically

by | Jan 28, 2013

If you are a multi-site organization, there are exceptional long-term cost benefits in adopting ISO 50001 throughout an organization. The question I address in this article is: “How do you minimize resources needed to get the standard in the first place and then maintain it?” By resources, I mean both internal staff resources as well as external costs.

The first question is: do all sites hold back until there is a corporate decision to do things together? I don’t think so.

Different countries have different incentives to push them along the road to ISO 50001. So, different sites will move at different speeds. It is important that early-adopter sites are allowed to progress and not held back while corporate decisions are being made.

This can bring a benefit to the corporation because the experiences of individual sites can be used to pilot best practices that can then be adopted at corporate level.

So, I recommend that, if sites want to progress, encourage them to step forward.

I will briefly cover four topics:

  1. Training – initial ISO 50001 training
  2. Consultancy – appointment of internal or external consultants to guide the organization to ISO 50001
  3. Implementation – IT support to make implementation fast and time efficient
  4. Certification – what benefits can global certification bring?


To be efficient and economical in training, you need to: define your needs; identify a global training provider; consider modern training delivery mechanisms.

Define Needs: I recommend that you take the training experiences from the early adopter sites and define the common training need that will suit the global organization.

Training Provider: Identify a training provider who can deliver globally. By having the same training provided at all sites, you will be able to achieve a training price that is cost-effective for you and is fair to the training provider.

Training Delivery Mechanism: With today’s technology, consider how you can keep down the cost of training by the way the training is delivered. Aside from conventional classroom training consider: webinars – delivery of more conventional training over the web to reduce travel time and cost and to gain economy of scale by delivery to multiple sites simultaneously; e-learning – computer-aided learning (although this is very new for ISO 50001, we understand that some products are under development).


Many energy practices of your organization are common to all sites. Some practices are unique to individual sites for reasons of legislation, culture or type of production activity. If you spend some collective time establishing as many global practices as possible, you will save consultancy time and costs in the long-term as you implement ISO 50001 at individual sites. This is true whether the consultancy team is internal or external.

The risk is that you spend too much time trying to establish global practices – so, strong management is required to prevent endless discussion. You need to strike a balance on what is useful to make common and what to leave at individual decisions for local sites.

Implementation – IT support

Implementation of IT support requires some investment at the beginning. However, the long-term savings can be enormous. The savings result from: savings of time by reducing administrative drudgery; increased energy savings through closer control of the energy management plan; finding more energy saving opportunities by more productively using the time saved on administration. I know of examples where ISO 50001 management time has been cut by 50% and where energy savings have been increased by 5% – even in organizations experienced in advanced energy management.

What I mean here is professional, properly thought out IT support – not home-built solutions developed with an ad hoc approach – often based on a combination of spreadsheets, Web tools and documents. These ad hoc systems often do not deliver the required efficiencies, there is duplication of effort at every site and exchange of information between sites is difficult. A lot of time is spent in maintaining home-built solutions – especially when there are frequent upgrades of operating systems, browsers, spreadsheets, word processors and web tools

Professional IT support can be delivered by:

  • a custom software development project delivered by the IT department;
  • contracting with an IT company for custom-built software;
  • buying or subscribing to an ISO 50001 product that has adequate flexibility for your needs

In deciding which approach is most suitable for you, the normal criteria for “build or buy” apply. In any case, applying a global approach to the provision of IT support will give you very substantial IT cost savings.


Substantial cost and resource savings can be made by taking a multi-site approach to certification. The savings come from:

  • economies of scale -when you have more sites, the cost per site will be lower
  • if all sites are registered under a single ISO 50001 certification, the Certification Body can opt to randomly select some sites and only this selection will require on-site auditing – this reduces costs
  • when you combine multi-site certification with strong IT support, it is possible for substantial amounts of documentation to be audited over the web and this minimizes the amount of time required for on-site visits – this also reduces time and costs.

When on-site auditing is reduced, there are savings on both sides of the customer-supplier relationship:

  • for the certification body, less personnel costs and less travel costs;
  • for the organization being audited, less time required by the people being interviewed and less time is spent searching for documentation on “audit day”.

We know of an example where all sites in 15 countries moved from individual ISO certifications to a single group certification. In this case, the savings in audit travel costs alone paid for the entire cost of ISO software installed across the 15 countries.

Bottom line:

By going with a multi-site approach, there are large cost and time savings in every part of the ISO 50001 adoption process: training; consulting; implementation; and certification. However, do not be too centralized – let the early adopters go ahead. Do organize and plan and you will reap the benefits.

Paul is a 30-year veteran of energy management throughout North America and Western Europe. As Enerit CEO, he is responsible for setting the strategic direction of Enerit energy software products.

Enerit is focused on developing innovative IT and Software services for energy management and in particular systematic energy management based on the international standards in energy management ISO 50001. Enerit is the first company in the world to provide comprehensive software for large energy users to implement the ISO 50001 standard. It is the only systematic energy management solution that helps its users convert energy information into dynamic integrated organization-wide action plans to get teams working together to drive down energy costs.

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