Business and Technology Outlook for 2021

Georg Dietrich, CEO, Efficient Energy GmbHGeorg Dietrich, CEO, Efficient Energy GmbH
2020 proved to be an extraordinary year on many levels. While predictions for the past year were not necessarily wrong, they certainly failed to take an unforeseeable and critical factor into account – one that dominated not only our private lives but also our business operations: the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dramatic impact of the pandemic on many industries and the economy as a whole is unmistakeable, but for digitalisation, automation and agile business operations it acted as an accelerator, the likes of which have never been seen before.

At Efficient Energy, we develop, manufacture and distribute clean refrigeration technologies that use water as a refrigerant and we, too, were naturally impacted by the pandemic; but with the commitment of our ambitious and dynamic team, we successfully met all of our 2020 goals. And now we are moving towards a further important milestone in our corporate history: strong growth in 2022 – for which we’ll be preparing the groundwork in the upcoming year.

Survival of the most agile

2020 was a powerful lesson in flexibility, with businesses having to adapt their operations to ensure economic survival without affecting employee safety. I strongly believe that, in 2021 more than ever, Darwin’s theory on the “Survival of the Fittest” will be highly relevant in a business context. Despite the glimmer of hope ignited by the COVID-19 vaccine approval, it is likely that the so-called “new normal” will remain with us for at least a further year and, as a result, businesses will need to continue adapting their operations. Ideally, in the upcoming year, they’ll be able to transition these back from reactive to proactive, and start implementing agile strategies that remain viable over the long term.

I like to see Efficient Energy as a living organism which remains constantly nimble, letting it adapt to change. To accommodate our planned expansion in 2022, we are therefore currently enlarging our production facilities without disrupting operations, switching to agile R&D processes, building our workforce and implementing a digital marketing and sales strategy. In a nutshell, 2021 will be a year of embracing change to improve our agility.

IoT – an evergreen among tech trends

From smart homes and smart cars to smart production facilities and even smart cities – IoT has become omnipresent and is here to stay. It is an evergreen trend that’s remained top ranking in trend charts for many years now.
In a production context, it allows interplay between IoT platforms and state-of-the-art ERP systems, thereby enabling digital simulation of entire product life cycles.

So far, Efficient Energy has mainly used IoT for predictive maintenance purposes. Where customers grant their consent, we collect data for pattern identification and feeding into learning algorithms. This lets us respond pre-emptively to potential faults in the refrigeration system and take preventative measures to forestall full-fledged malfunctions. Avoiding on-site service appointments not only improves customer satisfaction, cuts costs and reduces our carbon footprint, it also contributes increasingly to our service technicians’ and customers’ safety. Moreover, we are planning to use IoT not just for predictive maintenance in the future, but also in our production processes once our new ERP systems is up and running.

Super-safe society

With the possibility of a trade war, the EU refugee crisis and political upheavals, doubts and concern have become our constant companions. In reality, however, we are living in one of, if not the safest time in human history.

Pioneering water as a refrigerant and our Bluezero technology – both, without doubt, harmless to humans and the environment – are our contribution towards a super-safe society.

The complexity of the processes is, however, enormous and has been exacerbated by the pandemic which has forced employers to create safe working environments offering maximum employee protection.

Introducing remote working for office jobs was not such a challenge for Efficient Energy, but things became a lot more complicated when we started looking at the production floor. Physical presence is unavoidable, but adjustments had to be made with a tailor-made hygiene concept as well as other precautions – such as physically isolated work stations that allow working without exposing employees to a higher risk of infection.

Clean Tech is not a trend, it is an obligation

The stock market has shown that the pandemic, even though it has dominated the media for almost a year now, has not affected demand for sustainable business models.

Clean technologies not only help combat the planet’s climate crisis, they are also meanwhile a very powerful and sustainable selling point. Consumers have become highly sensitive to ethical business practices, with many now basing their buying decisions on them.

While our company achieved climate neutrality in 2020 and is continually striving to reduce its carbon footprint further, we naturally offer far greater value added for the environment: namely through our customers who – by using our clean refrigeration technology – can replace damaging refrigerants with tap water, slash energy consumption and thereby substantially reduce their own carbon footprints. Our focus in 2021 and the years to come will be on increasing Bluezero market penetration and achieving our vision of a world where only climate-neutral chillers and heat pumps are used.
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