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Management Side
Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 31
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Week of 17 December 2018: Energy Data Continued
Week of 17 December 2018: Energy Data Continued

One reader last week challenged my citation of Wikipedia stating the consumption of kerosene for illumination, even today, equals that of the consumption of jet fuel (essentially kerosene) in the United States. If anyone has a solid, better source of data, please share it and I will be happy to pass it on here in one of the remaining columns this month. In The Economist issue of 1st - 7th of December 2018, right on schedule, their Technology Quarterly special section was titled "Towards Zero Carbon--Conquering CO2." The good news, and I believed I read this portion of the magazine fairly carefully, was that the pulp and paper industry was barely cited--steel and cement manufacturing were the bad boys of the industrial sector.

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Week of 10 December 2018: Energy Shocks
Week of 10 December 2018: Energy Shocks

With various analogies over the years, I have talked about our myopic look at energy issues. Your view of energy production, consumption and other KPIs related to energy are largely dependent on where you sit and what you read. Often, we find this is wrong, when the real numbers are placed in front of us. So, we are going to travel a little outside our normal realm of pulp and paper this week, hopefully giving you material not only to think about but to challenge you, the next time you think you know something, to dig a bit deeper...

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Week of 3 December 2018: Energy Update
Week of 3 December 2018: Energy Update

For years, Energy has been our editorial topic for December. We have covered every side of it--from science, engineering, politics and personal perception. Yet, energy always remains a fresh topic since it is so important...

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Week of 26 November 2018: Put a proper perspective on strategic decisions
Week of 26 November 2018: Put a proper perspective on strategic decisions

I used to say the winter price of heating oil depended on the commuting experience the heating oil traders had on their way into Manhattan from suburban Connecticut each morning. If they had a cold, miserable experience, they jacked up the price. Maybe that is not giving them enough credit, but I don't think I am far off. Believe it or not, I have sat in capital strategic planning sessions in our industry that display just about the same perspicacity...

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Week of 19 November 2018: Strategic Politics
Week of 19 November 2018: Strategic Politics

I have been saying for some time that major capital projects often have a large political component to them. Throughout my career, this has been true to a certain extent, in the modern age with animation and graphical availability available to everyone, it is become even more the norm rather than the exception...

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Week of 12 November 2018: Pulling the Plug
Week of 12 November 2018: Pulling the Plug

As hard as it is to get innovation right, a subject to which we alluded last week, pulling the plug on a bad project is even harder. If you read the management books, they will often quote someone like Winston Churchill, Vince Lombardi or Teddy Roosevelt, with an admonishment to never, ever, give up. Sometimes you need to give up. It is called throwing good money after bad...

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Week of 5 November 2018: Innovation and Strategy--Back to the Future
Week of 5 November 2018: Innovation and Strategy--Back to the Future

As you might have guessed, November is Innovation and Strategy month at Paperitalo Publications. I thought would we would start out talking about lost innovations. There are many clever innovations with industrial application from the past that have been lost to the present era...

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Week of 29 October 2018: It wasn't Camelot
Week of 29 October 2018: It wasn't Camelot

When I think back over my five decades in industry, one stands out when the subject of quality comes up. It is the 1970s. The 1970s were the age of shabby. I don't care what kind of product it was, retail or industrial, I would suggest the 1970s were the low point of quality, at least in the United States. So, what changed?

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Week of 22 October 2018: Using quality to manage your business
Week of 22 October 2018: Using quality to manage your business

There is an old phrase, "We don't have time to do it right, but we have time to do it over!" So true. When you produce off-spec goods you will break into production to remake the order so you don't lose the customer. The losses are incalculable. Examining why you make poor quality goods or deliver poor quality services is instructive and a good place to start to buff up the overall management of your organization. Why did you produce poor quality goods? There are only three or four key high-level metrics that need to be examined out the gate...

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Week of 15 October 2018: Quality and Plastic Contamination
Week of 15 October 2018: Quality and Plastic Contamination

All of a sudden, plastic contamination is in the news. Restaurants in our area, for instance, have started posting signs concerning plastic straws with the claim that the world uses 500 million plastic straws per day. I find that number a bit incredulous, for it means that 1 in 16 of us, including newborn infants, use a plastic straw each day. There has also been a video on LinkedIn of a woman paddling up to a pile of plastic near the water's edge somewhere. It looks awful, but the video fails to comment on her being on a plastic surfboard, an item that used to be made of wood. I am, by the way, in favor of getting rid of as much plastic as we can (paperboard milk cartons and paper grocery sacks, anyone?). But what does all of this have to do with Quality Month at Paperitalo Publications. Just this...

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Week of 8 October 2018: The future of quality
Week of 8 October 2018: The future of quality

If you have not heard of Industry 4.0, you will. In fact, later this month Paperitalo Publications is launching a new newsletter on the subject as it pertains to the pulp and paper industry. We are calling it Industree 4.0™. Industry 4.0 means more sensors, more data collection and more data analysis in real time. It will mean higher quality products made at lower costs, for upper and lower control limits will be able to be set even closer to the desired outcome for many attributes.

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Week of 1 October 2018: Quality Hypocrisy
Week of 1 October 2018: Quality Hypocrisy

You will see it all the time, both corporately and individually. People, and people representing corporations, will demand very high quality from others but will tolerate themselves or their organizations delivering low quality goods and services. This is hypocrisy, yet it is not as bad as things can get. Those who accept low quality goods and services are nearly a lost cause when one tries to deliver high quality goods and services. They just don't get it.

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Week of 24 September 2018: Management, Sex and Mayhem, Part 4
Week of 24 September 2018: Management, Sex and Mayhem, Part 4

Last week we talked about harassment and one-sided fantasizing. We did not call it one-sided fantasizing, but that is what it was. Our last topic in this series is going to be relationships that start at work. In this case, both parties are willing participants. I think modern communications systems have made these easier to do. Email, texting and so forth are far easier than putting "personal and confidential" notes in internal mail systems. Modern communications are also far easier to trace, too--email and texting leaves a trail that others can find (such as your spouse's lawyer)...

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Week of 17 September 2018: Management, Sex and Mayhem, Part 3
Week of 17 September 2018: Management, Sex and Mayhem, Part 3

In my nearly fifty years in the business world, I've learned that both sexes do an amazing job of fantasizing what members of the opposite sex think of them or how they interact with them. These daydreams are often quite detailed and often R-rated. There is only one problem with them--they are false vignettes that have nothing to do with reality...

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Week of 10 September 2018: Management, Sex and Mayhem, Part 2
Week of 10 September 2018: Management, Sex and Mayhem, Part 2

Harassment may or may not involve members of the opposite sex. It can be male on female, female on male or sex on sex. Your coworkers engaged in harassment can have many different motives, often hard to discern. It is sometimes hard to determine if one is being harassed or not...

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Week of 13 March 2017: Maintenance Storerooms
Week of 13 March 2017: Maintenance Storerooms

If you have read my thoughts on maintenance storerooms over the years, you will accuse me of having been all over the place, and you will be correct. At one time, I adopted the attitude that everyone should do what they were best at doing, and in the case of paper mills, this was making paper, so they should outsource storerooms. I still think this is good for small consumables and specialized repairs (such as roll repairs and recovering). However, for other items, such as pump assemblies, screens, motors and so forth, keep your own--but take care of them. This philosophy certainly applies for existing papermills (but read to the end)...

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Week of 6 March 2017: Maintenance
Week of 6 March 2017: Maintenance "Costs"

We have been conditioned to think maintenance is a cost and unscheduled maintenance is acceptable. There is no basis for this logic; it is just a rumor passed around from board room to board room. It is time for your senior management to take a long hard look at the numbers, not the traditions...

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Week of 27 Feb 2017: Future jobs in transportation
Week of 27 Feb 2017: Future jobs in transportation

We have spent the entire month talking about driverless trucks, drones, robots and so forth. So what is in the future for humans in this scenario?

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Week of 20 Feb 2017: Deadheading Drones
Week of 20 Feb 2017: Deadheading Drones

We have heard a lot about drones delivering packages, but not so much about the return flights--there will be a lot of deadheading going on. Can this wasted transportation resource be put to good use?

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Week of 13 Feb 2017: Rethinking local transportation needs
Week of 13 Feb 2017: Rethinking local transportation needs

While last week I was talking about long distance transportation of pulp by pipelines, let's look at what should be done locally, given the current state of technology...

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Week of 6 Feb 2017: What has changed? What is new?
Week of 6 Feb 2017: What has changed? What is new?

This is transportation month at Paperitalo Publications. This week, we discuss trucks and pipelines...

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Week of 30 Jan 2017: Keeping Capital Project Costs Low
Week of 30 Jan 2017: Keeping Capital Project Costs Low

There are a number of actions by mill owners that drive up the costs of capital projects. We'll wrap up this month by touching on these...

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Week of 23 Jan 2017: What you don't know about your capital project
Week of 23 Jan 2017: What you don't know about your capital project

Construction projects are complicated, even the little ones. I can guarantee you that you can watch a five-million-dollar project all day long for its entire duration and you won't know half of what happened, not half the interactions that occurred over its duration. There is one contemporary and one post completion test you can do...

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Week of 16 Jan 2017: Why mills lose at capital projects
Week of 16 Jan 2017: Why mills lose at capital projects

In addition to the fantasyland I referenced last week, there are other issues in capital projects that are landmines...

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Week of 9 Jan 2017: Lawyers and Capital Projects
Week of 9 Jan 2017: Lawyers and Capital Projects

Having been in the industry for over forty years and having written my fair share of expert witness reports, I can tell you that major capital projects (over, say, USD 5 million) are more likely to end up in court than not. This does not have to be. OK, Jim, you say this does not have to be, then why does it happen? There are two or three conditions that cause construction court cases. They come up repeatedly...

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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 31
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