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Management Side
Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 66
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Week of 27 January 2020: Dainty and Rugged Capital Projects
Week of 27 January 2020: Dainty and Rugged Capital Projects

I have seen few project engineers successfully transfer their skills between the two extremes of the paper industry. On the front end, we find incoming long wood, chippers, chip piles and so forth. At the other end of the business, we find printing and packaging lines with the daintiest of doodads, which must nevertheless work properly and flawlessly for long periods of time.

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Week of 20 January 2020: Leveraging Capital Negotiations
Week of 20 January 2020: Leveraging Capital Negotiations

If you have the corporate foresight to do so, leveraged buying can provide tremendous savings for the procurer and savings for the supplier as well.

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Week of 13 January 2020: The Emotion in Capital Budgets
Week of 13 January 2020: The Emotion in Capital Budgets

When you are in the trenches looking up, it is often easy to see the perceived capriciousness of capital budgets. Hence, as the project manager overseeing the actual project implementation, it is sometimes easy to be lackadaisical about the funding. Do this at your own peril.

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Week of 6 January 2020: Do low interest rates make for sloppy capital projects?
Week of 6 January 2020: Do low interest rates make for sloppy capital projects?

I have been around long enough to remember when retail interest rates were in the +20% range. At the time, corporations were not usually being charged at these levels, but they did reach into the mid-teens. The usual reaction at that point was not to do capital projects, but to wait. Even if corporations were self-funding, they often waited because they could make larger and safer returns with their money at interest in the bank. Today, interest rates are trivial, even for construction loans. Gone are the days when there was a sharp focus on construction interest costs.

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Week of 30 December 2019: Power & Energy: Hubris and Finality
Week of 30 December 2019: Power & Energy: Hubris and Finality

As we wrap up December's Power & Energy Emphasis, I want to offer a caution or two.

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Week of 23 December 2019: Power & Energy: Fossil Fuels
Week of 23 December 2019: Power & Energy: Fossil Fuels

I have admonished readers a number of times over the years not to demolish their fossil fuel-powered assets. Although they may be out of favor at the moment, history indicates nothing is ever permanent in the energy sector.

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Week of 16 December 2019: Power & Energy: Hydroelectric
Week of 16 December 2019: Power & Energy: Hydroelectric

Hydroelectric power has been a significant component in pulp and paper mills for over 120 years. Early modern paper mills quickly adopted electric power produced by streams near their facilities. It was a natural--the pulp and paper mills needed water and when the ability to generate hydroelectric power came along they quickly built dams and harnessed this renewable power.

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Week of 9 December 2019: Solar is getting closer to making economic sense without subsidies
Week of 9 December 2019: Solar is getting closer to making economic sense without subsidies

Solar cells are continuing to improve in efficiency. My best source tells me that within a few years, we will likely be seeing solar arrays of multiple layers, each layer tuned to a particular wavelength emitted by the sun. Why is this important now?

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Week of 2 December 2019: For the 46th Year in a row...energy is a big topic
Week of 2 December 2019: For the 46th Year in a row...energy is a big topic

I largely look at energy on a cost avoidance basis. Yes, we all want clean air (low emissions) but let's not go crazy following ideas that are not well proven scientifically (don't send me surveys on what scientists believe about energy consumption--people's opinions are not science). Nevertheless, when looking at places where energy is dear makes me realize we still have a long way to go to make our industry as efficient as possible.

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Week of 25 November 2019: Creativity, the imperfect mortar in the Innovation and Strategy Structure
Week of 25 November 2019: Creativity, the imperfect mortar in the Innovation and Strategy Structure

If the problems with Innovation and Strategy are that we can never be certain as to how they will turn out, Creativity, the mortar that holds the other two together, suffers this fate in an even larger measure.

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Week of 18 November 2019: Strategy Pitfalls
Week of 18 November 2019: Strategy Pitfalls

There is the old children's story of the blind men describing an elephant. As the story goes each one of them walks around the elephant and feels different parts of it. As they do so, each has a different impression of what an elephant might be, based on the parts they touch. Some companies operate as the blind men did when it comes to setting a future course--their strategy. They are so lost in their myopic view of the world they miss the big picture.

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Week of 11 November 2019: Sources of Innovation
Week of 11 November 2019: Sources of Innovation

Many years ago, when I purchased a motorcycle, I wanted the equivalent of a "cruise control" for it. I shopped around and found this clever little mechanical device that fits on the right handlebar and gently locks the accelerator into position. With the flick of a handy little lever, you could turn it off. My cousin, a machinist, saw this and said, "I can copy that." I didn't let him. I think inventions should belong to the originator in perpetuity (I think we should still be paying royalties to the descendants of the inventor of tables and chairs--marvelous inventions in and of themselves). At least that is the way I used to think...

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Week of 4 November 2019: Innovation
Week of 4 November 2019: Innovation

This is innovation and strategy month here at Nip Impressions. The sources of innovation (which can either lead or lag a strategic vision) are many. These days, it is popular to do innovation in an institutional environment with government or other deep pocket funding. That’s OK, however there is another way of which I am fond. That is when we do innovation out of necessity or when a bright entrepreneur has an “Aha!” moment. Here is one of those...

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Week of 28 October 2019: A whole different look at Quality, part 4
Week of 28 October 2019: A whole different look at Quality, part 4

In my travels this past spring and summer, I saw the matters I described in these four columns. In fact, I saw a lot more than I have had space to share. The urban settings were difficult enough, but what really struck me was one rural scene I saw and with which I have a history.

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Week of 21 October 2019: A whole different look at Quality, part 3
Week of 21 October 2019: A whole different look at Quality, part 3

The question for this week gets a bit tougher as we look at quality in a different way.

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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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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 66
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