The typical facility is rife with problems you could put your people to work solving. You could wait by your phone for the plant engineer to call you, but realistically that’s got a near zero chance of happening.

In these facilities, the plant engineer may not be aware of these problems at all. Or, as is often the case, the problems aren’t quantified so they can be actionable. Or the plant engineer’s been chasing the wrong issues.

Consider a classic example. The plant air systems are so overloaded with demand that air pressure drops below what production needs. A common “solution” is to rent an additional compressor to help bolster the air pressure. Another common “solution” is to decrease the pressure at the pneumatic tools, but this can go only so far. These typical solutions don’t give you an opportunity to make any money.

But what happens if you offer to perform a free leak audit? A couple of your technicians spend a couple of hours using ultrasonic detectors in a specific area. They hang red ribbons at each leak. The number of red ribbons will be staggering. The visibility of this makes the point that you understand how to solve the plant air problem. You’ve clearly identified the root cause.

So now you get this work, and send qualified technicians to repair the pneumatic piping. But what about electrical work? You now have a foot in the door. Offer to perform a free power quality analysis on those compressor feeder and branch circuits. When you can show the customer hard data and graphical representations, and you can articulate what those mean, you’re almost certain to get the work.

It’s quite profitable to replace power factor (PF) correction capacitors and starting capacitors, and compressors often run with capacitors that need replacing. If those compressors never had PF correction in the first place, you’ve just shown the customer another way to save money.

The compressor route is just one way to make an inroad into a facility that probably would never have contacted you for help. Before arranging to meet with the plant engineer to discuss plant problems and how you might help, put together an array of testing and analysis packages.

Lighting survey, power quality analysis, energy audit, breaker coordination study, flash hazard analysis, cable testing, NEC compliance inspection, and thermographic surveys should all be on this list. If you don’t have the expertise, develop it through hiring and/or training.