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Management Side
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Week of 14 October 2019: A whole different look at Quality, part 2
Week of 14 October 2019: A whole different look at Quality, part 2

We talked about lobbies last week. This week let's imagine a valued customer showing up at your facility unannounced. What would they see? What would be their reaction? From what I have seen in my travels this year, I'll give you some examples.

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Week of 7 October 2019: A whole different look at quality, part 1
Week of 7 October 2019: A whole different look at quality, part 1

In quality month, we usually examine product quality. We are going to take the subject in a little different direction this year. This will be a four-week series, so you will want to make sure you don’t miss any of it if you really want to make a difference in quality in our industry.

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Week of 30 September 2019: What will management in the future look like?
Week of 30 September 2019: What will management in the future look like?

Management has changed radically in my lifetime. The future promises much of the same—an evolving landscape with many perils for those who fail to keep up with what society considers acceptable.

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Week of 23 September 2019: The Most Important Machine
Week of 23 September 2019: The Most Important Machine

I would be shocked if I have to tell any Nip Impressions reader what the most important machine is, but in keeping with the theme I am following this month, I will—the invoice printer.

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Week of 16 September 2019: Bean Bags and other Nonsense
Week of 16 September 2019: Bean Bags and other Nonsense

I haven’t seen this situation in any actual pulp and paper mill offices yet, but I am sure it is coming. It is hard to resist fads and the more outlandish, the harder they are to oppose. I am speaking about these modern office layouts.

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Week of 9 September 2019: The Second Most Important Task
Week of 9 September 2019: The Second Most Important Task

You already know what the most important job is (if you don’t, I will be reminding you before this month is out, for sure). Today, however, I want to talk about the Second Most Important Task. The Second Most Important Task (SMIT) is to create new products, or fresh modifications of your existing products.

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Week of 2 September 2019: The Most Important Management Job
Week of 2 September 2019: The Most Important Management Job

Over the years, I have written many columns and books on management, particularly management in pulp and paper mills. However, if I can summarize this subject in one sentence, that sentence is: "Make your boss look good." There is no better way to advance your career or the business of your company than following this platitude. However, this does not come without some caveats and assumptions.

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Week of 26 August 2019: Pulp Rats 2019--Fourth Week:  Fos commutes
Week of 26 August 2019: Pulp Rats 2019--Fourth Week: Fos commutes

One day, when no one was noticing, I jumped in the admin leader's BTI (you may remember from early episodes this is what the rats called cars, trucks, and so forth--Jim). She seemed to always take the most food and I thought she might leave some crumbs in the BTI that I could eat.

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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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