Cork saves thousands of euros per month on energy bills by going four days a week without any loss of productivity.
Rick Livingston, managing director at Socomore, said they have now moved to work four days a week, working slightly longer days, after employees said they could not afford to come to work due to the high cost of diesel and gasoline.
“Everyone was complaining about the cost of coming to work. Some guys travel for an hour and it really hurts to come to work.”
They actually switched to working hours a little early to match the parent company’s time in France. “A proposal has been made that would extend working days a bit and get the same amount of production out but not have to run the plant on Friday.”
Mr. Livingston said workers and management came up with the idea almost simultaneously.
Sucomor, which employs 18 people at its Cork site and has a turnover of around 7 million euros, produces cleaning products that contain special chemicals that allow it to fly clean planes. They also provide products that assist utility companies when cutting or assembling cables. They employ eight other people remotely.
Single shift pattern
Livingston said his company has been relatively fortunate to have only one rosary pattern, which means it can simply finish on the Thursday evening of the week. Other companies that work 24 hours and have multiple split shifts will find it more difficult, he said.
Employees now work from 7am-5pm Monday through Thursday and have cleared some time off their lunch break. This means that they have not seen any loss of productivity.
“We shut down everything on Thursday night…it started heating again on Sunday evening and we start the factory again on Monday morning. So we save a full day and a half.” [on energy costs]. “
He said they are now saving thousands of euros a month on their energy bills.
Livingston said employees have embraced working four days a week and the company has had no problems since the system was introduced. They also rearranged their timing in terms of deliveries and exports with couriers.
Meanwhile, Brenda Cooper, Horner’s chief operating officer, said the company is considering changing the time employees come to work because they can’t be sure there won’t be power outages during the winter.
Horner manufactures hardware and software to automate processes. “It is like a small computer that controls and regulates processes. It could be in agriculture, food processing or energy.” It employs 20 people at its Cork location.
Cooper said they are particularly concerned about the risks of blackouts or surges this winter, which could have an impact on the production of their devices.
“We’re looking at the risks, one of which is cost and profitability. But the biggest risk is the security of supply. If we’re testing something and we get high, it can kill the product,” she said.
“If we stick to something and kill all the ingredients, it could take another six months to get them all together again.”
She said they are now looking to move their start time to earlier in the day to ensure they are not operating at peak power usage when there is a power outage or surge.
Cooper said there was uncertainty with the gas and electricity supplier about how severe the problems were, compared to what they had heard in the media. There was “a lot of hype” in the media and there was a “lack of knowledge” from suppliers which led to uncertainty in the industry.
“We’re talking to the staff, if it’s going to go out between 4pm-6pm or 5pm-7pm, maybe we’ll start the day before. Do we work from 8am-3pm or 8am-4pm?”
She said there is a commitment from employees to work different hours if necessary. “The other side of that coin is if I had everyone in the dark with no contact. It wouldn’t be very productive for people who drag them into work and have no strength to work.”