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Wed, Dec 6, 2023 14:47
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Management Side

Avoid Capital Project Delays in Pulp and Paper Mills

Surely you've completed one of those "simple" home projects that ended up requiring multiple trips to Home Depot. Once finished you likely breathed a deep sigh of relief as you quietly kicked yourself for your lack of planning.

Similarly, the paper industry is a very capital intensive industry - referring to last month's article, many capital projects focus on reducing fossil fuel usage. But when your capital project ends up requiring multiple trips and delays due to forgotten items, results can be disastrous.

So what are proven steps management can take to reduce these needless trips and delays?

Communication: First and foremost, there's considerable information involved in any capital project, and disseminating information to different departments and work teams needs to be a priority, as well as ensuring the right amount of detail is also shared. And redundancy here doesn't hurt.

Accountability: A construction team can have all the resources, time and skills needed, but without accountability, things deteriorate quickly. A culture of accountability has team members knowing and believing in what they're doing, and understanding that their performance will be tracked, noticed, and acknowledged when the job is completed.

Accommodate Changes and Updates: As changes and delays accumulate, managers and executives need to efficiently decide whether to dismiss or integrate these changes into the project, without getting bogged down in details, all while communicating the relevant points to the work team.

Wiggle Room: Nothing ever goes according to plan (or budget), so always have contingencies. For everything. Whether you're using subcontractors which prove to be unreliable or unsafe, or you have scheduling conflicts, or (particularly nowadays) parts are currently unavailable, many things can and do go awry. Plan for it. Have contingency plans and include how you'll coordinate and communicate when problems happen.

Skillsets: Be aware of your workforce, and understand their strengths, weaknesses, skills, abilities - and liabilities too. If there are any gaps in the abilities of your workforce, get them properly trained, or, if you're hiring out for a specific construction job, fill that role with a different, more highly skilled worker.

When preparing for capital projects, especially now, check, check, and recheck the above points to avoid delays. Especially make sure your communications and expectations are clear and well-defined.

And above all, stay safe.


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