Energy and environment are top priorities for the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy. Both fields imply complex approaches and consistent investment. The paper presents an alternative to large investments to improve the efficiencies of existing (outdated) power installations: namely the use of data-mining techniques for analysing existing operational data. Data-mining is based upon exhaustive analysis of operational records, inferring high-value information by simply processing records with advanced mathematical / statistical tools. Results can be: assessment of the consistency of measurements, identification of new hardware needed for improving the quality of data, deducing the most efficient level for operation (internal benchmarking), correlation of consumptions with power/ heat production, of technical parameters with environmental impact, scheduling the optimal maintenance time, fuel stock optimization, simulating scenarios for equipment operation, anticipating periods of maximal stress of equipment, identification of medium and long term trends, planning and decision support for new investment, etc. The paper presents a data mining process carried out at the TERMICA - Suceava power plant. The analysis calls for a multidisciplinary approach, a complex team (experts in power&heat production, mechanics, environmental protection, economists, and last but not least IT experts) and can be carried out with lower expenses than an investment in new equipment. Involvement of top management of the company is essential, being the driving force and motivation source for the data-mining team. The approach presented is self learning as once established, the data-mining analytical, modelling and simulation procedures and associated parameter databases can adjust themselves by absorbing and processing new relevant information and can be used on a long term basis for monitoring the performance of the installation, certifying the soundness of managerial measures taken and suggesting further adjustments
Speech therapy can be viewed as a business in logopaedic area that aims to offer services for correcting language. A proper treatment of speech impairments ensures improved efficiency of therapy, so, in order to do that, a therapist must continuously learn how to adjust its therapy methods to patient's characteristics. Using Information and Communication Technology in this area allowed collecting a lot of data regarding various aspects of treatment. These data can be used for a data mining process in order to find useful and usable patterns and models which help therapists to improve its specific education. Clustering, classification or association rules can provide unexpected information which help to complete therapist's knowledge and to adapt the therapy to patient's needs.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a recent entry in the economy of modern enterprise both at global level and for Romanian companies. CSR adds a new dimension to the enterprise’s performance in the social fields, contributing to the sustainable development of economic entities. CSR components are included in an international standard – ISO 26000. The paper presents authors’ experience in implementing this standard. Possible steps of a roadmap for CSR implementation:
Top management endorsement and nomination of a complex CSR team
Developing formal company CSR policy documents
Selecting and engaging the company’s stakeholders as early as possible.
Building a Project Advisory Board – useful in every modern managerial tool application should guide the progress toward CSR.
An external facilitator would help solve internal conflicts.
An audit of what CSR represents for the Company, what are the CSR options, e.g., promoting a “green company” profile, what would be the best impact of philanthropy and community volunteering, etc.
Generate a CSR portfolio of actions, setting deadlines, responsibilities and allocating resources, establishing communication, reporting, monitoring and corrective procedures
upgrading the sustainable enterprise strategy.
The authors experience led to the following conclusions:
Critical relevance of top management involvement
Stakeholders contacted as soon as possible in the process
The Project Advisory Board legitimates the actions taken under the mainframe of CSR
Aligning CSR polices to every other policy in the Company and make a system of coherent documents from ISO 9001, 14001, 18001, and 26000 that should work in a holistic manner. Focal company operates in municipal services having constant contact with all stakeholders.
The paper substantiates a previous work that analysed modern managerial tools.
High efficiency research, development and innovation (RD&I) constitute an answer to the ever growing importance that EU states give to knowledge-based development (a central idea in the Europe 2020 Strategy), directed toward finding comprehensive solutions to concerns connected to the Europe’s resource depletion, energy future, climate changes, etc. The "Action Research" paradigm appeared in the late 1940s but its systematic application is the attribute of recent years. It keeps researchers in the real world, requires teamwork, collaboration with communities and other stakeholders. Action Research is especially suitable in projects for reducing anthropic footprint / environmental aggression and in waste management. In essence, Action Research (for the first time systematically applied in Romania) is the research approach that lets the problem studied to conduct the analysis and generate appropriate solutions; it constitutes a flexible, versatile technique to generate new knowledge through iterative interaction with the domain studied - namely the environment - researchers and communities.
The paper presents the application of Action Research in a Norwegian-financed, Industrial Symbiosis Project in Romania. Details of the Action Research as a tool for training young researchers are presented. Solutions generated during the application of Action Research dealt with the identification of new ways to turn waste into valuable resources, assessing the merits of multiple alternatives and picking up the optimal one form the triple bottom line (economic, environmental, social) characteristic to sustainable development.
The paper examines the issues of multi-disciplinary ways, how Action Research can be integrated into academic curricula, giving practical results which make it more accessible to students. When compared to the traditional way of training researchers and scientific research approach, Action Research is clearly a better approach, widening the horizon offered by accountability, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of knowledge generation processes.
In the last decade, international organizations have expressed their concern about the capacity of classical economical indicators to encompass the whole story of the developing processes, especially in their relationship with the environment. A comprehensive environmental metrics has been adopted (states and organizations reports indicators like greenhouse gas emissions, ozone concentrations, surface of contaminated land, number of threatened species, etc.) and operates in parallel with the traditional industrial indicators. But it seems not enough since this complementary metrics does not illustrate the entire complexity of development processes, in the 21st Century. Recent EU documents stress the importance of sustainable development, of the importance of industrial symbiosis as a tool to better manage material, energy and human resources and evaluate the possibility of generating and reporting new, synthetic, composite indicators that could include both the information in the classical economical indicators but also the environmental impact and the quality of life.
The paper is a contribution in this respect and, starting from the results of the implementation of the Industrial Symbiosis paradigm in the case of a power plant, it presents how the EU recommendations about a more sophisticated metrics of ecoefficiency works, for the first time at the level of a Romanian enterprise. An original, new metrics is generated, that takes into account whether and how the technological and economical processes are accompanied by a favourable trend for the environment, A new, composite index for ecoefficiency and sustainability is presented in its structure and dynamic evolution, enabling local managers not only to assess their sustainable development trend, but also to identify where should their action be directed in the short term to correct unfavourable trends. The study was a part of the PAZEWAIA Project financed by Innovation Norway.
In the last decade, complex statistical studies related to top managerial tools proven to impact the most the performances of business companies show the following (changing) hierarchy (excerpts):
- Strategic Planning;
- Customer Relationship Management;
- Employee Engagement Survey;
- Corporate Social Responsibility;
- Balanced Scorecard.
These tools are, practically, unknown to the majority of companies with Romanian capital. This cannot go on like that. The main argument comes from the conditions in which these companies act, from increasing challenges from similar EU companies, from globalization and from increased awareness for sustainable development. The paper tries to identify a common mainframe for implementing such tools. Specific aspects are also given as examples.
Main conclusions are:
1. Even in a general mainframe, there is no unique approach applicable to all companies;
2. Involvement of top managers is essential;
3. The appointed implementation team is multidisciplinary in every case (technical experts, economists, environmentalists, mathematicians, IT professionals, etc.). Their legitimacy gives consistence and coherence to the implementing process;
4. An external, neutral facilitator is a must. He is the guide, the referee, the one that deals with possible disputes and divergences in the team;
5. All new managerial tools must be based on what companies already have; This paper is the first in a series dedicated to the subject and comes as a side result of the PAZEWAIA Project, financed by Innovation Norway, project currently active in the North-East Development Region of Romania.
Along with the well-known attributes of mankind's future (sustainable, socially inclusive, environmentally-friendly), the last few years we was witnessing the appearance of a new digital attribute. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the ongoing digital revolution that attempts to put into practice all the benefits of explosive development of digital technologies and associated communication capabilities. The huge amount of information collected by computerized planning, production management, technology risk practice and health hazards monitoring has to serve both economic development, advanced management resources, financial profit, and a better protected environment. The IoT Revolution is in its early stages and its focus is on assuring the associated infrastructure as quickly as possible (hardware, BigData software, sensor systems, protected sensitive data, safe communications). The first results are expected in optimizing and streamlining technologies in the management of non-renewable resources. It is appreciated that by 2030, the value added by IoT will amount to about $14 trillion in industry alone. But it would be a mistake to stop the benefits of IoT there. The authors devise a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Traits) analysis, and evaluate the benefits and risks of aligning environmental/social policies to the IoT, proposing a brevity of measures to ensure that the sustainability is considered in the IoT implementation at all stages and at all levels: enterprise, industrial, geographical area, global region. The IoT vision and mission are presented in light of this approach, strategic objectives and important action directions. It also highlights the ethical issues related to the development of an interconnected world through IoT (where unrestrained access to information is stopped, who and for whose control this access has been made, etc.). The terms IoE (Internet of Environment) and IoS (Internet of Sustainability) are suggested.