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Week of 16 Jan 2017: Why mills lose at capital projects
Week of 16 Jan 2017: Why mills lose at capital projects

In addition to the fantasyland I referenced last week, there are other issues in capital projects that are landmines...

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Week of 9 Jan 2017: Lawyers and Capital Projects
Week of 9 Jan 2017: Lawyers and Capital Projects

Having been in the industry for over forty years and having written my fair share of expert witness reports, I can tell you that major capital projects (over, say, USD 5 million) are more likely to end up in court than not. This does not have to be. OK, Jim, you say this does not have to be, then why does it happen? There are two or three conditions that cause construction court cases. They come up repeatedly...

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Week of 2 Jan 2017: Capital Projects are about to change
Week of 2 Jan 2017: Capital Projects are about to change

If you have been doing capital projects for only a few years, I think some surprises are just around the corner. Here is my assessment of where we are headed, assuming some natural or human-caused cataclysmic event does not occur...

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Week of 26 Dec 2016: Energy/Perception/ Environment Blend
Week of 26 Dec 2016: Energy/Perception/ Environment Blend

Whether you are the CEO, Mill Manger, Energy Czar or a Project Engineer, your job today is more demanding than ever as we deal with energy, the environment and public perception...

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Week of 19 Dec 2016: I told you energy is political!
Week of 19 Dec 2016: I told you energy is political!

For many years, I have been telling the faithful readers of this column that energy is a political issue. Now the proof is in...

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Week of 12 Dec 2016: Easy Energy Money
Week of 12 Dec 2016: Easy Energy Money

These two ideas have been around for a very long time, but I am amazed at how many people don't use them, not just in replacement scenarios, but in new installations. The first one I want to mention is regenerative drives. The other application is VFD (variable frequency drives) on pumps...

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Week of 5 Dec 2016: Power & Energy
Week of 5 Dec 2016: Power & Energy

We are headed for a crisis. We have a combination of operators who have little physical understanding of the systems they operate, some of them have an attitude, and, on top of that, the hardware and software that serve as their crutches is obsolete. We want to do something about this...

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Week of 28 Nov 2016: Innovation--when you are stuck
Week of 28 Nov 2016: Innovation--when you are stuck

This week, we talk about some tricks you can use to unplug an innovation log jam...

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Week of 21 Nov 2016: Innovations--winners and losers
Week of 21 Nov 2016: Innovations--winners and losers

I thought I would spend some time this week talking about some of the innovations I have witnessed over the years...

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Week of 14 Nov 2016: I can teach you innovation
Week of 14 Nov 2016: I can teach you innovation

I concluded several years ago, that while people like me may be naturally wired to be innovative, creativity can be taught. It boils down to several steps or realizations. I don't think I have shared these in such a wide audience before. So, here goes...

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Week of 7 Nov 2016: How to add innovation to our industry
Week of 7 Nov 2016: How to add innovation to our industry

The secret to innovation is to carve out the risk of innovation and allocate it to investors who have the attitude to handle it...

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Week of 31 Oct 2016: Quality--the final act
Week of 31 Oct 2016: Quality--the final act

Time and again, I have seen people conduct themselves in an exemplary manner throughout their careers, only to find themselves departing their places of employment in an untimely fashion. Once I went to work in a paper mill where this had happened en masse just before I arrived. The place was a mess. Whole departments had been eliminated and it looked as if the people had just left for a fire drill...

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Week of 24 Oct 2016: Other Quality, Part 2
Week of 24 Oct 2016: Other Quality, Part 2

In the vein of what we discussed last week, let's continue. An area where I think many fall down, especially if they are not used to being in this particular venue, is customer relations. When in doubt, defer to your customer...

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Week of 17 Oct 2016: Other Quality, part 1
Week of 17 Oct 2016: Other Quality, part 1

Quality comes in many shapes and forms. I want to talk about some of them this week...

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Week of 10 Oct 2016: Inside Quality
Week of 10 Oct 2016: Inside Quality

Quality must not be an attribute that employees think can be turned on or off, dependent on time, place and resources. Apply the same quality everywhere all the time. Your business will thank you for it.

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Week of 3 Oct 2016: How much quality?
Week of 3 Oct 2016: How much quality?

Once in my career, a boss told me we were building too much quality into our products. He said we should provide only the quality the customer expects. That might be true if "extra" quality costs extra expense which you cannot recover. There is another way to look at this...

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Week of 26 Sep 2016: There are only two requirements for a successful career*
Week of 26 Sep 2016: There are only two requirements for a successful career*

*All else being equal and if you always behave in a legal, moral and ethical manner and you understand that the invoice printer is the most important machine in any enterprise. These are a given and you should already know them by now, if you have been following me for any length of time. After forty-six and one half years of observing modern business life, I think it does indeed boil down to two things, at least in large corporations...

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Week of 19 Sep 2016: Make them sign for it
Week of 19 Sep 2016: Make them sign for it

A recent study, done by Australian Bond University and the University of San Diego, of US CEOs in the supply chain industry found that 21 percent had "clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits" (psychopath: a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior). Based on my 46 years in industry, I think they have nailed it, perhaps even gotten the number a bit low. So, this column is for the other 79% of you...

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