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Week of 19 August 2019: Pulp Rats 2019--Third Week:  Fos in the Supply Room
Week of 19 August 2019: Pulp Rats 2019--Third Week: Fos in the Supply Room

In our mill, all the workers wear uniforms and have badges, that is a picture of themselves on a piece of plastic that has their name on it. I found one of these one day and tried to eat it. Not very good and it gave me a tremendous stomachache. Anyway, there is this large room where parts and supplies are kept. Most of the time, an employee is stationed at the door, and this employee retrieves materials for other employees that ask for them. This employee usually eats their lunch there, so the place is guarded all the time. This happens on all three shifts.

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Week of 12 August 2019: Pulp Rats 2019 - Second Week
Week of 12 August 2019: Pulp Rats 2019 - Second Week

Fos the Rat continues...

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Week of 5 August 2019: Pulp Rats for 2019--first week
Week of 5 August 2019: Pulp Rats for 2019--first week

From here on out, Fos the Rat will be writing for the month of August, just like he has for the last four years, while I take a break.

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Week of 29 July 2019: Rebuttal to column of 8 July 19,
Week of 29 July 2019: Rebuttal to column of 8 July 19, "Thoughts on the Environmental Dialogue"

It is important to note that I put my comments at the beginning of this column, not the end, for I desire that you, dear reader, leave this column with the words of the rebutters, not mine, fresh in your mind. Now to the rebuttals...

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Week of 22 July 2019: Other Regulatory Impacts
Week of 22 July 2019: Other Regulatory Impacts

When we think of regulatory enforcers, we often think of professionally dressed folks showing up at the front entrance of our facility with briefcases full of forms. Or, perhaps we are thinking of Wall Street regulators, making sure there is no insider trading or those sorts of matters. Other regulators abound all around us. Many are on the payroll of our employer.

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Week of 15 July 2019: Remember this about Regulators
Week of 15 July 2019: Remember this about Regulators

A mistreated regulator can find ways to cost your company money beyond what is necessary to maintain a legal, moral and ethical business.

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Week of 8 July 2019: Thoughts on the environmental dialogue
Week of 8 July 2019: Thoughts on the environmental dialogue

I was asked the other day where I thought our audience’s opinion was on the question of global warming, climate change, and so forth. My unscientific response is that I believe that about 90% of our audience remains somewhat skeptical, down from 100% just a few years ago. I remain skeptical for several reasons...

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Week of 1 July 2019: The Environment and Regulations
Week of 1 July 2019: The Environment and Regulations

If we are going to spin the invoice printer at its optimum and retain as much profit as possible, we must find a way to get the environment and regulations game under control. We have to do it ourselves; no one is going to do it for us.

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Week of 24 June 2019: Purchasing in the future
Week of 24 June 2019: Purchasing in the future

Not far ahead, purchasing is going to be much different from what it is today. With the coming of Industry 4.0 (do you read our monthly newsletter on this subject, Industree 4.0TM?) smart mills will be operated in a totally different way. As equipment self-diagnoses its ailments, it will order its own spare parts. No human intervention.

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Week of 17 June 2019: Fine tuning the procurement function
Week of 17 June 2019: Fine tuning the procurement function

If you survived last week's column on procurement and are back for more, welcome to the continuing discussion.

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Week of 10 June 2019: What should be the scope of the procurement function?
Week of 10 June 2019: What should be the scope of the procurement function?

This story was told about a CFO, but it will serve us well as we talk about procurement this week. It seems as though a certain paper company hired a new CFO from outside our industry. Attending his first budget meeting, the annual budget was being reviewed. This is a large company, the line item for machine clothing was well over 8 digits. Pounding his fist on the table, he said, "This is outrageous. Why are we spending so much on employee uniforms?" He didn't last long.

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Week of 3 June 2019: Procurement 2019
Week of 3 June 2019: Procurement 2019

In times gone by (and, sadly, to some extent still today) procurement has been prone to a considerable amount of graft and general corruption. For party of the first part is trying to persuade party of the second part to buy certain goods and services. Procurement officers are fiduciarily charged with getting the best deal for their companies. Sellers are taught to get the order. Less than sterling ethics on either side can corrupt the process and unfairly cheat one party, often the buyer, with inflated prices, shoddy goods or services and less than maximum value.

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Week of 27 May 2019: Coming changes in Energy Consumption
Week of 27 May 2019: Coming changes in Energy Consumption

Land-grant colleges and universities were funded by the Morrill Acts (1862 and 1890). The beginning of the agricultural revolution in the United States approximates these acts. When I say “the agricultural revolution” I am referring to the phenomenal improvement in the productivity of agriculture that has occurred from the mid-19th century until today. We need go no further than note that at the beginning of this period, over 98% of the population was engaged in agriculture, today less than 2% is, despite massive growth in the number of mouths to feed. Agriculture has always been ahead of industry in efficiency improvements.

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Week of 20 May 2019: Energy Trends outside the Fence
Week of 20 May 2019: Energy Trends outside the Fence

In containerboard grades, relative cost position curves are becoming a metric of the past, not the future. Actually, what may happen is they bifurcate into two distinct sets, one recycled mills and the other virgin mills. We are on the cusp of an era where putting them up against one another is meaningless.

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Week of 13 May 2019: Historical Energy Trends
Week of 13 May 2019: Historical Energy Trends

Sometimes it is worthwhile to look back on where we have come from to assess where we are and where we are going...

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Week of 6 May 2019: Energy Trends 2019
Week of 6 May 2019: Energy Trends 2019

If you have read my columns for a while, you know that for many years, I have been saying "all energy is political." Let me assure you, this reality has not changed. Particularly when tied into discussions concerning climate change, global warming and similar subjects, energy discussions are more political than ever.

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Week of 29 April 2019: Office Safety
Week of 29 April 2019: Office Safety

We spend a lot of time talking about safety in production and forestry settings, often neglecting offices in the discussions. It is easy to be seriously injured in an office, too.

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Week of 22 April 2019: The 360 look
Week of 22 April 2019: The 360 look

How many safety incidents do we encounter in our mills where we are focused on the potential safety issue in front of us when another is lurking beside or behind us?

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Week of 15 April 2019: Know your coworkers--a key to safety
Week of 15 April 2019: Know your coworkers--a key to safety

In the military, there are lots of discussions about "battle buddies.' A battle buddy is a person who sticks with you and you with them so you continuously know each other's condition. It is a safety issue in an environment that is often not safe.

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Week of 8 April 2019: Who should do safety inspections?
Week of 8 April 2019: Who should do safety inspections?

Personally, I think at least two individuals should be involved in any safety inspection.

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Week of 1 April 2019: Safety Record in the Pulp and Paper Industry
Week of 1 April 2019: Safety Record in the Pulp and Paper Industry

For a long time, the industry has patted itself on the back for its safety record; perhaps we have had a small part in pulling it up by its leash on this subject. I do think the industry has gone from a time of poor safety performance (pre 1975 or so) to good safety performance (approximately 1975 to 1995) and now, in the last twenty-five years it has regressed somewhat.

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Week of 25 March 2019: How to tell if a Maintenance Department is Effective
Week of 25 March 2019: How to tell if a Maintenance Department is Effective

There are only two or three conditions one has to observe to determine if a maintenance department is effective. Fixing them if they are not is a whole other chapter in our quest for a properly operating mill. This week we'll just look for clues as to effectiveness.

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Week of 18 March 2019: Prejudice in Maintenance equals Ineffective Maintenance
Week of 18 March 2019: Prejudice in Maintenance equals Ineffective Maintenance

As I go around the industry, it seems like the last bastion of old-fashioned prejudice is the maintenance department. It's often the rough and tumble end of the mill and many times the workers in this area may have been overlooked in general training for the softer parts of doing their jobs. It has been a male dominated area forever. I have seen some racial prejudice in this area, but not near as much as I have male/female prejudice.

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Week of 11 March 2019: Maintenance is not popular
Week of 11 March 2019: Maintenance is not popular

I have been railing and writing about maintenance for decades. All of this energy has not turned the tide on the popularity of maintenance. No one likes it and to the uninitiated it is just a cost. It indeed often seems like an intangible cost, for the results of good maintenance are that everything runs just fine, there is no drama, no excitement. Hence the desire to put it off as long as possible, hopefully until the manager in charge of the budget can get promoted. At least that is the manager's position; employees close to the process always know better because bad maintenance makes their lives miserable...

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Week of 4 March 2019: It's maintenance month!
Week of 4 March 2019: It's maintenance month!

I am told others can't wait for August (Corruption Month) when the Pulp Rats come out to play. I'll admit I enjoy that month, too, but I further admit that Maintenance Month is likely my favorite in the Paperitalo Editorial schedule. I contend that lack of proper maintenance is the largest contributor in failing to maximize the spinning of your invoice printer. I'll further contend that once you get behind on maintenance, it takes a serious effort to catch up. In most organizations and cultures, catching up is nearly impossible--everyone fights you...

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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 43
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