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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 311
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Week of 22 April 2024: Corporate Induced Safety Distractions
Week of 22 April 2024: Corporate Induced Safety Distractions

The US and European pulp and paper industries are in the throes of two distinct and separate mergers (or takeovers, if you prefer). One is being driven from Europe, the other from the United States. Despite noble efforts from the respective executive suites some employees will be upset. This has happened in similar situations before.

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Week of 15 April 2024: Cell Phone Safety
Week of 15 April 2024: Cell Phone Safety

In most jurisdictions, it is illegal to hold a cell phone while driving a car. Yet in most paper mills, one does not see this sort of restriction, indeed, anything close to it. Should we have similar restrictions in mills? I think so...there is almost no place in a pulp and paper mill where a phone is appropriate.

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Week of 8 April 2024: Macho Nonsense
Week of 8 April 2024: Macho Nonsense

I must admit I did this back in the day, and I recently heard this practice still happens. Hourly workers are usually protected from this, with or without unions, so it is a practice where one needs to focus on the management ranks. I am talking about ridiculously long working periods.

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Week of 1 April 2024: The role of standards in safety
Week of 1 April 2024: The role of standards in safety

Observing mill engineering departments for a few decades, I've noticed a haphazard application of well known nationally and internationally recognized standards in small, mill originated upgrade projects. I'll even admit that, decades ago, I likely participated in this negligence. Standards are created for a reason.

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Week of 25 March 2024: How to fix your maintenance--really
Week of 25 March 2024: How to fix your maintenance--really

This is the column I promised you last week. Your reaction will be either scoffing at it or believing it--there will be no middle of the road reactions. If you decide to believe, contact me and I will help you, at no charge, to get started.

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Week of 18 March 2024: Maintenance as a morale booster
Week of 18 March 2024: Maintenance as a morale booster

I don't think I have ever been around more depressing pulp and paper mills than those experiencing poor maintenance. The only thing that can drive morale down faster is producing a product in a declining market (anyone remember newsprint?). Sadly, many senior managers view maintenance as a cost.

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Week of 11 March 2024: Maintenance on the fringes
Week of 11 March 2024: Maintenance on the fringes

Sometimes I think maintenance suffers from "macho disease." We talk about changing out press rolls, monitoring machine bearings and other sorts of "big deal" maintenance projects. I would hate to think how many times I have been exposed to pump and motor alignment. Yes, it is an important subject, but it is not everything. There are other things that can shut you down, too (or at least cause you to lie).

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Week of 5 March 2024: Maintenance--my favorite month
Week of 5 March 2024: Maintenance--my favorite month

It is my favorite month because maintenance can pay huge dividends. Or maintenance can kill you if you ignore it. I've told many mill related tales of maintenance in this column over the years. For some reason, when I started to think about maintenance for this year's column series, I went back to my youth and some maintenance disasters that took place when I was a teenager at home.

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Week of 26 February 2024: A Possible Answer?
Week of 26 February 2024: A Possible Answer?

We have spent the last three weeks talking about transportation issues and challenges in the pulp and paper industry today. About a year ago, I had an epiphany in the transportation and warehousing area. I went out and got a "patent pending" status on it. Due to all my other activities, I only feebly marketed it. At the time, my idea was to sell the idea. In the meantime, I have now decided to present it here for you to ponder.

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Week of 19 February 2024: Stop moving stuff
Week of 19 February 2024: Stop moving stuff

Jerry Seinfeld has an old joke that goes like this. He is out driving in a rural area. He passes a log truck. Then he meets a log truck coming towards him. He asks, "If the people over here need logs and the people over there have logs, couldn't they just call each other up and avoid driving these logs all over the place?" It got a big laugh. Of course, real life is not this simple.

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Week of 12 February 2024: Watch the terminations in transportation
Week of 12 February 2024: Watch the terminations in transportation

To borrow from last week, I don't care if it is the bar of soap going down the conveyor or the shipment of pulp from Brazil, the costs in transportation is the onloading and the offloading. These termination points are also the points most susceptible to mishandling and accidents. Granted the load must be secured appropriately, depending on the application, but you'll find the problems and the costs are at the ends.

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Week of 5 February 2024: Transportation Thoughts
Week of 5 February 2024: Transportation Thoughts

It is transportation month here at Nip Impressions, and there is a lot to talk about. I almost titled this first column of the month "Transportation Follies" but then thought better of it. There certainly are many transportation follies in the headlines these days. However, I thought I would spend this first column of the month in a cerebral fashion. What do you think of when you think about transportation?

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Week of 29 January 2024: Dishonest Dealings in Capital Projects
Week of 29 January 2024: Dishonest Dealings in Capital Projects

I promised you this column last week. Everyone in a capital project is under pressure. The mill team is under pressure to bring the project in on budget (remember how you kept shaving the budget to get the project through the board of directors?). The suppliers are under pressure to win the project at the highest possible profit for them, and will promise the moon, if they don't have to put it in writing. And this is all good, for it gives an old guy like me a steady income as an expert witness in project lawsuits. The grayer and thinner my hair has gotten, the more I can charge.

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Week of 22 January 2024: Nothing Magical
Week of 22 January 2024: Nothing Magical

I have served as an expert witness in several capital project cases (dare I say disasters?). How do projects end up in this condition (disasters)? There only seem to be two major causes of such fates. The first is believing in magic and the second is dishonest dealings. We'll cover magic this week.

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Week of 15 January 2024: Foolish Capital Choices
Week of 15 January 2024: Foolish Capital Choices

There have been several capital decisions in recent years that have left me scratching my head. In these cases, a great deal of funds have been expended to clean out old paper machine halls for the express purpose of installing new machines of a different grade.

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Week of 8 January 2024: Beware the Package Deal
Week of 8 January 2024: Beware the Package Deal

Back when I started in the industry, one bought everything for their new machine, printing press, or flexofolder/gluer piecemeal. Yes, there was a primary machinery supplier, but the capital project team and the project engineers bought everything else separately and integrated it all into one concomitant system. Due to growth of the industry, project teams became less experienced, and the system fell apart. Startup dates and startup curves were missed because of missing but vital components. Major machine suppliers had ready excuses for not meeting performance guarantees and there was a lot of finger pointing.

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Week of 1 January 2024: What you can't see can hurt you
Week of 1 January 2024: What you can't see can hurt you

I am speaking about the capital projects sector for 2024 and going forward a bit.

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Week of 25 December 2023: Keeping the gas and electricity flowing to our mills this winter
Week of 25 December 2023: Keeping the gas and electricity flowing to our mills this winter

I am sure you have heard the story many times about how I lost all steam producing capability in a northeastern Ohio mill in the winter of 1987. It was early February and temperatures had plunged to -20 F. I was not at the mill at the time, but no difference, both the powerhouse and the maintenance departments reported to me...

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Week of 18 December 2023: Conserving Water
Week of 18 December 2023: Conserving Water

As you have probably noticed by now, I have taken a bit of a cynical view in this power and energy month here at Nip Impressions. I tend to do this when secular subjects become so widespread and accepted as the whole truth, all other theories be damned. Experience and logic tell me that such widespread, cult like belief must have a few cracks somewhere and those cracks must be explored. Thus, I will continue down this path this week and next.

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Week of 11 December 2023: Do we detect an inflection point?
Week of 11 December 2023: Do we detect an inflection point?

The Cop28 Climate Change Conference currently underway in Dubai seems to have hit a couple of speed bumps on the way to banning fossil fuels.

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Week of 4 December 2023: Power & Energy--Make your own
Week of 4 December 2023: Power & Energy--Make your own

There are a group of Mennonites in southern Ohio I love dearly. I try to go visit them a couple of times a year for a few days. My next visit is planned for the weekend of 16 - 17 Dec 2023. When I get there, my phone goes off and into my bag. There is no electricity. Heat is wood. Farming and local transportation is done with horses. They do use the bus system for long-distance traveling, and they do this quite often. Sounds inconvenient? It is the price of freedom.

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Week of 27 November 2023: Innovation--your turn
Week of 27 November 2023: Innovation--your turn

The question for you, dear reader and marketer, is what are we missing? Our typical product cycle is to try out a feature or a concept and gauge the reaction. Then it lives or dies. But let's turn this around. You may know better than we do what the next innovation in digital marketing to the pulp and paper industry should be. Sometimes one can be so close to something that they miss the obvious. We want to make sure that is not happening to us. Hence we want to hear from you.

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Week of 20 November 2023: Barriers to Innovation--Part 2
Week of 20 November 2023: Barriers to Innovation--Part 2

Often, the barriers to innovation boil down to an unwillingness to take risks. If those risks involve technological changes, that just adds to the resistance. In the last thirty years, communications, for instance, have gone through startling changes, more changes than had been seen by humankind from the first written and spoken words up until then. These changes profoundly affected the pulp and paper industry and have blown by as if we were sitting still.

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Week of 13 November 2023: Barriers to Innovation--Part 1
Week of 13 November 2023: Barriers to Innovation--Part 1

One of the major barriers to process innovation is knowing too much about the subject. Knowledge of a subject sets up unconscious barriers to innovation. Think of learning to drive an automobile. I have taught three teenagers how to drive. In all three cases, their first time behind the wheel experience resulted in eyes darting about rapidly. As they became familiar with driving, the eye darting subsided because they learned what was important and dismissed everything else. Same is true of a process or procedure. If you know it with your eyes closed, so to speak, you are dismissing a great deal of information that might be helpful in innovation. It's the "we've never done it that way syndrome." There are a couple of ways to shortcut this.

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Week of 6 November 2023: Innovation and Strategy Month
Week of 6 November 2023: Innovation and Strategy Month

A couple of seemingly disparate items strike me as we start to think about innovation and strategy this month. The first is the press release a couple of months ago announcing the coming departure of the chairman of a major pulp and paper company. Reading between the lines, one could infer that this chairman and the board are out of ideas as to how to take the company forward. The other is the current popular human resource acronym, DEI, which stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. As with most such acronyms, this one is too simplistic and is itself too inclusive, likely being applied where it is not appropriate.

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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 311
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