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Sun, May 26, 2024 07:36
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Management Side

Experiencing WOTGWEGW?

In my column last week, we asked, "How often do you experience WOTGWEGW?"

Seventy-five percent said they experience it some of the time, while the rest said "Never."

Then, we asked, "How do you extricate yourself from WOTGWEGW?"

Here are some of the responses:

> I stop, take a deep breath and remind myself that there are no HUGE problems, only a series or collection of very small, manageable problems or puzzles. I try to sort those out, solve an easy small problem of the bunch and use that momentum to start to solve the bigger problems. Oh, I also try to remain calm and remind my leadership team that when everything is going to hell around them, their job is to step back into the eye of the storm and above all - not get emotional.

> Take time to think it all over -- most decisions made in haste result in less than desirable results.

> The fishbone diagram quality tool is a good way to sort a complex (real or imagined) out. Do it on the wall. Avoid a conference room that limits participation. A control room is good. Use sticky notes and invite anyone to post. Leave it up a day (all shifts get a shot at it). Group and consolidate. Does it need some consensus? Let people come by and do that. This doesn't take a lot, if any, training. A key control room operators could monitor the process. It works and of any of the "total quality" tools, it may be the most useful and straightforward.

Finally, we asked, "Care to relate any severe cases of WOTGWEGW you have observed? (don't identify people or companies, please)"

Here are some responses:

> Poor design and an improper construction sign off resulted in severe contamination of a steam system. Management discharged the lowest man on the totem pole as solely responsible because he unfortunately discovered the situation. The resultant outagees and breakdowns continued for years and the mill is now closed and the host town is a virtual ghost town. The cause of the losses was not discovered for years and by then the party who had managed the construction project and the resultant problems had been promoted for his profit margin decisions (short term) and had left to work for another employer.

> Continuous digester chip chute plugs. Digester rate is slowed and black liquor is used to flood the chute. Kappa goes out of control. Pressure drop at top circulation bumps up and extraction screenns have to be back flushed. Digester is brought back in control and rest of fiber line suffers no ill effects. "It must be the chips" is the immediate conclusion. Chip screens are checked and found to be operating ok. Since problem went away, no further action is taken. This sequence happens every few months and has caused more serious upsets extending through the fiber line. A mill trial on a new chip source coincided with an upset. The mill process was being tracked from chips to the product. The only thing that changed was a switch from one pile to another when the reclaim had reached the bottom of one pile. A close look at the pile revealed that oversize are concentrated (up to 20%) and the chip screen was flooded. High oversize going to the digester cause the chip chute to back up. If a quick response was not made to the gamma alarm, the flow went downhill quickly. Solution was to transition between piles gradually.

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