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Articles related to leadership


Week of 21 August 2017: Corruption Month 2017, Third Week
Week of 21 August 2017: Corruption Month 2017, Third Week

Every August, we focus on corruption we have seen or heard about in the industry in the past year. As usual, these stories are told by Fos, a pulp rat. It is my privilege to put Fos's stories in print for you...

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Week of 14 August 2017: Corruption Month 2017, Second Week
Week of 14 August 2017: Corruption Month 2017, Second Week

Every August, we focus on corruption we have seen or heard about in the industry in the past year. As usual, these stories are told by Fos, a pulp rat. It is my privilege to put Fos's stories in print for you...

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Week of 7 August 2017: Corruption Month is here again!
Week of 7 August 2017: Corruption Month is here again!

Every August, we focus on corruption we have seen or heard about in the industry in the past year. As usual, these stories will be told by Fos, a pulp rat. It is my privilege to put Fos's stories in print for you...

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Week of 31 July 2017: People versus computer technology
Week of 31 July 2017: People versus computer technology

I was talking to an old friend who spent one of his college days' summers doing fetch-and-carry work in a paper mill. Although it had been many years ago, he was still in awe of that "big ol' paper machine" and the fact that it took "twelve or thirteen men" to run it. No more, Tom, I said...

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Week of 24 July 2017: How well do you know your territory?
Week of 24 July 2017: How well do you know your territory?

"You've got to know the territory." As I remember it, this was a song sung by a chorus of some erstwhile salesmen in the Broadway show "The Music Man." If you are a mill manager or a department manager, it is your responsibility to be a walking encyclopedia about your territory and all that is in it. You've got to know your territory...

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Sonoco Names Philippe Guillemot to Board of Directors
Sonoco Names Philippe Guillemot to Board of Directors

Sonoco announced that Philippe Guillemot has been named to its Board of Directors.

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BillerudKorsnäs President and CEO Per Lindberg to leave company in early 2018
BillerudKorsnäs President and CEO Per Lindberg to leave company in early 2018

BillerudKorsnäs President and CEO Per Lindberg has announced his decision to leave the company to become the President and CEO of Epiroc.

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Week of 17 July 2017: The quandary of environmental advocates
Week of 17 July 2017: The quandary of environmental advocates

The real objective of the environmental advocacy groups today is their own survival. They cannot afford to declare a great victory, for then their incomes dry up. They are in quite a predicament!

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Week of 10 July 2017: Being Hands-on Engineers and Scientists
Week of 10 July 2017: Being Hands-on Engineers and Scientists

It was not so long ago that engineers and scientists often came from a rural background. This is still true in developing nations, but for those of us living in developed nations, it is usually no longer the case. My own experience is a good example...

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Week of 3 July 2017: Make your office make a statement
Week of 3 July 2017: Make your office make a statement

This column is for the younger generation. Ready? Away we go! You get your degree and head off to the mill to work. Or perhaps your first job is with a supplier. In any case, you are proud of your accomplishments to date--but reality is about to set in. After you sign the pile of papers from the human resources department, you will be taken to your new office...

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Week of 26 June 2017: Do you feel like somebody's watching you? They are...
Week of 26 June 2017: Do you feel like somebody's watching you? They are...

Do you have trouble getting subordinates to do what you want them to do? There can be many reasons for this, but one of the most common is that YOU are not doing what you want THEM to do...

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Week of 19 June 2017: Preparing for your personal buy-out day
Week of 19 June 2017: Preparing for your personal buy-out day

I have spent a lot of time talking to investment bankers. Their interest is in buying into deals, looking at bankrupt companies for possible purchase and so forth. In short, they are looking for nuggets in the pulp and paper industry. Such are the fortunes of a mature industry. If you have been located in a mill or a headquarters for some period of time, you may have already seen company names and logos come and go, while you personally occupied the same space. Observing colleagues in the industry, I have noticed a number of behaviors that could use some improvement, to the benefit of the persons whose careers may be affected...

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Week of 12 June 2017: Inspect inspections
Week of 12 June 2017: Inspect inspections

If you are buying inspection services, make sure you are getting them. I was in a facility once where I saw what happens when these things go wrong. This facility had some high priced instrumentation for which they had an annual inspection contract. It just so happened that I was very familiar with one piece of instrumentation that was on this inspection cycle and I was standing beside it when the inspector came by. I knew every flaw this instrument currently suffered. The inspector's entire activity, as I observed it, was to take off last year's inspection sticker and put on this year's...

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Voith Paper appoints Andreas Endters as new chairman
Voith Paper appoints Andreas Endters as new chairman

The Supervisory Board of Voith GmbH has appointed Andreas Endters as Chairman of the Board of the Group Division Voith Paper as of October of this year.

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Catrin Gustavsson new Head of Innovation and New Business at Södra
Catrin Gustavsson new Head of Innovation and New Business at Södra

Catrin Gustavsson has been appointed Head of Innovation and New Business at Södra.

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Week of 5 June 2017: Your role in your company
Week of 5 June 2017: Your role in your company

Wandering around the industry as I do, I am often amazed at the perceived roles people think they have, as indicated by their actions and words each day. Many appear to have no clue to the overall picture. It is really quite simple...

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Week of 29 May 2017: My feelings about feelings
Week of 29 May 2017: My feelings about feelings

A person starting a career is a bit of an open book. Such people may have had some work experiences, maybe even some military experience, but, in general their expectations about the work environment are recognized, even by them, as just that: expectations that may or may not become reality. It amuses me, for instance, to hear some of the ideas soon-to-be college graduates have about work. One told me something to the effect that once she started to work, she saw excitement in life as being over--you go to work each day, do the same things each day and forty years later you retire. Sadly, I have actually met people who have done exactly this. What I am getting at here, though, is something more subtle...

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Week of 22 May 2017: Table talk can be educational
Week of 22 May 2017: Table talk can be educational

No matter how much formal education you have acquired, there is one forum that stands above others in importance. It is one in which you participate first as a receiver, and then, later, if you have children, as a provider. It is the forum of the family dinner table...

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Week of 15 May 2017: The problem of scattered assets--some new, some old
Week of 15 May 2017: The problem of scattered assets--some new, some old

There is a lesson here for us all--an opportunity for a critical self-examination of how large decisions are made...

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Peter Oswald reinforces focus on growing packaging business as new Mondi Group CEO
Peter Oswald reinforces focus on growing packaging business as new Mondi Group CEO

Mondi, the international packaging and paper Group, hosted a press conference on 5 May at the interpack 2017 trade fair in Düsseldorf at which trends in the packaging industry and the focus on growing its packaging business were discussed.

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Ilkka Hämälä appointed President and CEO of Metsä Group as of 1 April 2018
Ilkka Hämälä appointed President and CEO of Metsä Group as of 1 April 2018

Metsäliitto Cooperative's Supervisory Board has in its meeting on 4 May 2017 appointed M.Sc (Engineering) Ilkka Hämälä the CEO of Metsäliitto Cooperative as of 1 January 2018.

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Week of 8 May 2017: How would you change things if you could?
Week of 8 May 2017: How would you change things if you could?

Over the years, I have heard many conversations start with, "If I were in charge of this place..." If you were in charge, what would you change? Why would you change it? How would you accomplish the changes? When would you change it? Let us take things one at a time...

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Xerium Announces Leadership Changes
Xerium Announces Leadership Changes

Board of Directors Appoints Mark Staton as President and CEO; Company Appoints Mitchell I. Quain as New Director

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Catalyst Paper announces senior executive appointments
Catalyst Paper announces senior executive appointments

Edward (Ned) Dwyer is appointed Chief Operating Officer and will oversee the company's five manufacturing operations in Canada and the United States.

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Week of 1 May 2017: Up and at 'em--or just sitting?
Week of 1 May 2017: Up and at 'em--or just sitting?

Recently I have seen a number of cases in which human energy was not being expended to any appreciable extent. Actually, I was witnessing laziness. I have not discussed this topic in a long time, so perhaps it is time once again to bring it up. It is a topic that tends to offend some folks, for people do not like to be singled out as lazy or unenergetic. To assuage the embarrassment of the truly guilty, let me say that we all are struck by this at one time or another. And we must admit that we know some people who are in a permanent rut of inactivity. So, who to blame? What to do?

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Week of 24 April 2017: Perception vs. Reality
Week of 24 April 2017: Perception vs. Reality

The phrase, "perception is reality" is often a cautionary warning as to how others might perceive what one is doing, or how they look and so forth. I want to talk today about times when perception is not reality and how this might affect our actions...

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Week of 17 April 2017: Hindsight vs. Foresight
Week of 17 April 2017: Hindsight vs. Foresight

You are reading this, most likely, at an operating facility. I am going to give you two important challenges that are vital to the success of your company, no matter what your position is.

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Week of 10 April 2017: Taking control of your time
Week of 10 April 2017: Taking control of your time

I will bet you have tasks, if viewed by a critical eye, that would appear somewhat ludicrous. They may include a meeting you attend regularly that does nothing toward moving your enterprise forward. They may be insane reports that no one reads, or some other habitual exercise that does nothing...

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Week of 3 April 2017: General liability and the cost of not caring
Week of 3 April 2017: General liability and the cost of not caring

Years ago, when I started this column, I decided one important thing to be done here was to beat the drum for safety. Well, we have, and we plan to continue doing so. I am writing today, however, about general liability--caused by people or caused to people through exposures of various kinds. Some of these are safety matters, some are security matters. Others can arise out of employment law...

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Week of 27 March 2017: Thinking new thoughts about maintenance
Week of 27 March 2017: Thinking new thoughts about maintenance

There are some ways in which original capital purchases can serve to reduce maintenance costs and downtime...

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Week of 20 March 2017: When we were younger, when things were simpler
Week of 20 March 2017: When we were younger, when things were simpler

Today we spend lots of time talking about predictive, preventive maintenance and have all sorts of seminars and software to manage this. There is no excuse for not having a strong predictive, preventive maintenance program. But can it all come down to something as simple as proper care of bearings?

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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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Gary McGann exits Smurfit board
Gary McGann exits Smurfit board

Smurfit Kappa's former chief executive, Gary McGann, plans to step down from the paper and packaging group's board in May, as he devotes himself to restructuring and finding a new executive team at embattled baked products group Aryzta.

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Georgia-Pacific promotes Fischer to CEO
Georgia-Pacific promotes Fischer to CEO

Christian Fischer was promoted to the post after a decade as executive vice president of the company's packaging and cellulose segment.

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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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Graphic Packaging announces leadership appointment
Graphic Packaging announces leadership appointment

Graphic Packaging International, Inc. announced the appointment of Spencer Maurer as Senior Vice President, Supply Chain.

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Deltic Timber announces new President and CEO
Deltic Timber announces new President and CEO

Deltic Timber Corporation appoints John D. Enlow as President and CEO, effective March 8, 2017.

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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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International Paper announces senior leadership moves
International Paper announces senior leadership moves

International Paper announced the following senior leadership changes. Thomas J. Plath has been elected by the Board of Directors to become Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Global Citizenship, effective March 1, 2017.

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Södra's Head of Innovation and New Business leaving company
Södra's Head of Innovation and New Business leaving company

Laila Rogestedt, Head of Innovation and New Business, has decided to leave Södra.

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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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Glatfelter Names Tim Hess to Lead Specialty Papers Business Unit
Glatfelter Names Tim Hess to Lead Specialty Papers Business Unit

Glatfelter announced the promotion of Timothy R. Hess to Senior Vice President and Business Unit President, Specialty Papers.

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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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Week of 2 Jan 2017: Capital Projects are about to change
Week of 2 Jan 2017: Capital Projects are about to change

If you have been doing capital projects for only a few years, I think some surprises are just around the corner. Here is my assessment of where we are headed, assuming some natural or human-caused cataclysmic event does not occur...

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Week of 26 Dec 2016: Energy/Perception/ Environment Blend
Week of 26 Dec 2016: Energy/Perception/ Environment Blend

Whether you are the CEO, Mill Manger, Energy Czar or a Project Engineer, your job today is more demanding than ever as we deal with energy, the environment and public perception...

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Week of 19 Dec 2016: I told you energy is political!
Week of 19 Dec 2016: I told you energy is political!

For many years, I have been telling the faithful readers of this column that energy is a political issue. Now the proof is in...

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Smurfit Kappa appoints CFO to its Board of Directors
Smurfit Kappa appoints CFO to its Board of Directors

Smurfit Kappa Group has appointed Ken Bowles, Group CFO, to the Group's Board of Directors.

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Louisiana-Pacific names new heads of three divisions
Louisiana-Pacific names new heads of three divisions

Louisiana-Pacific named new heads of its oriented strand board, siding and engineered wood products businesses Thursday.

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Week of 12 Dec 2016: Easy Energy Money
Week of 12 Dec 2016: Easy Energy Money

These two ideas have been around for a very long time, but I am amazed at how many people don't use them, not just in replacement scenarios, but in new installations. The first one I want to mention is regenerative drives. The other application is VFD (variable frequency drives) on pumps...

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Week of 5 Dec 2016: Power & Energy
Week of 5 Dec 2016: Power & Energy

We are headed for a crisis. We have a combination of operators who have little physical understanding of the systems they operate, some of them have an attitude, and, on top of that, the hardware and software that serve as their crutches is obsolete. We want to do something about this...

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Sonoco Announces Senior Leadership Changes
Sonoco Announces Senior Leadership Changes

Tiede Appointed Chief Operating Officer; Arthur, Coker and Fuller Promoted to Senior VP of Company's Global Businesses

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Week of 28 Nov 2016: Innovation--when you are stuck
Week of 28 Nov 2016: Innovation--when you are stuck

This week, we talk about some tricks you can use to unplug an innovation log jam...

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Week of 21 Nov 2016: Innovations--winners and losers
Week of 21 Nov 2016: Innovations--winners and losers

I thought I would spend some time this week talking about some of the innovations I have witnessed over the years...

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U.S.-Russia Business Council Announces Mark Sutton, CEO of International Paper, as Next Chairman
U.S.-Russia Business Council Announces Mark Sutton, CEO of International Paper, as Next Chairman

The U.S.-Russia Business Council announced that Mark Sutton, Chairman and CEO of International Paper, has been unanimously approved by its Board of Directors to be the next Chairman of the USRBC.

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OMNOVA Solutions Inc. announces CEO succession
OMNOVA Solutions Inc. announces CEO succession

OMNOVA Solutions Inc. is moving forward with its CEO succession process, and Kevin M. McMullen is stepping down as Chairman, CEO and President, and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective December 1, 2016, to pursue other interests.

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Week of 14 Nov 2016: I can teach you innovation
Week of 14 Nov 2016: I can teach you innovation

I concluded several years ago, that while people like me may be naturally wired to be innovative, creativity can be taught. It boils down to several steps or realizations. I don't think I have shared these in such a wide audience before. So, here goes...

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Sakari Ahdekivi appointed interim President & CEO of Ahlstrom
Sakari Ahdekivi appointed interim President & CEO of Ahlstrom

The Board of Directors of Ahlstrom Corporation has appointed Sakari Ahdekivi as the interim President & CEO with immediate effect. He replaces Marco Levi due to the announced merger plan between Ahlstrom and Munksjö Oyj.

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Week of 7 Nov 2016: How to add innovation to our industry
Week of 7 Nov 2016: How to add innovation to our industry

The secret to innovation is to carve out the risk of innovation and allocate it to investors who have the attitude to handle it...

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Weyerhaeuser announces leadership changes
Weyerhaeuser announces leadership changes

Weyerhaeuser Company has announced the appointment of Devin W. Stockfish to vice president of Western Timberlands, and Kristy T. Harlan to senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. Both changes will be effective January 1, 2017.

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Week of 31 Oct 2016: Quality--the final act
Week of 31 Oct 2016: Quality--the final act

Time and again, I have seen people conduct themselves in an exemplary manner throughout their careers, only to find themselves departing their places of employment in an untimely fashion. Once I went to work in a paper mill where this had happened en masse just before I arrived. The place was a mess. Whole departments had been eliminated and it looked as if the people had just left for a fire drill...

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Week of 24 Oct 2016: Other Quality, Part 2
Week of 24 Oct 2016: Other Quality, Part 2

In the vein of what we discussed last week, let's continue. An area where I think many fall down, especially if they are not used to being in this particular venue, is customer relations. When in doubt, defer to your customer...

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Miami University Paper Science and Engineering Foundation announce scholarship winners
Miami University Paper Science and Engineering Foundation announce scholarship winners

Eight awarded prestigious Williams Leadership Scholarships.

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Week of 17 Oct 2016: Other Quality, part 1
Week of 17 Oct 2016: Other Quality, part 1

Quality comes in many shapes and forms. I want to talk about some of them this week...

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Week of 10 Oct 2016: Inside Quality
Week of 10 Oct 2016: Inside Quality

Quality must not be an attribute that employees think can be turned on or off, dependent on time, place and resources. Apply the same quality everywhere all the time. Your business will thank you for it.

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Week of 3 Oct 2016: How much quality?
Week of 3 Oct 2016: How much quality?

Once in my career, a boss told me we were building too much quality into our products. He said we should provide only the quality the customer expects. That might be true if "extra" quality costs extra expense which you cannot recover. There is another way to look at this...

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Changes in Stora Enso's Group Leadership Team
Changes in Stora Enso's Group Leadership Team

Stora Enso announced Monday that it has appointed Malin Bendz as Executive Vice President, Human Resources and member of the Group Leadership Team

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USG Corporation Announces Leadership Transition
USG Corporation Announces Leadership Transition

James S. Metcalf to Retire as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Effective October 31, 2016; Jennifer F. Scanlon to Succeed Metcalf as President and Chief Executive Officer

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Week of 26 Sep 2016: There are only two requirements for a successful career*
Week of 26 Sep 2016: There are only two requirements for a successful career*

*All else being equal and if you always behave in a legal, moral and ethical manner and you understand that the invoice printer is the most important machine in any enterprise. These are a given and you should already know them by now, if you have been following me for any length of time. After forty-six and one half years of observing modern business life, I think it does indeed boil down to two things, at least in large corporations...

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Week of 19 Sep 2016: Make them sign for it
Week of 19 Sep 2016: Make them sign for it

A recent study, done by Australian Bond University and the University of San Diego, of US CEOs in the supply chain industry found that 21 percent had "clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits" (psychopath: a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior). Based on my 46 years in industry, I think they have nailed it, perhaps even gotten the number a bit low. So, this column is for the other 79% of you...

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Glatfelter Announces New Leadership in Internal Audit
Glatfelter Announces New Leadership in Internal Audit

Glatfelter announced a key leadership addition in their corporate headquarters located in York, Pennsylvania.

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WestRock announces consumer and corrugated leadership
WestRock announces consumer and corrugated leadership

WestRock Company announced that Bob Feeser has been named president of Consumer Packaging and Jeff Chalovich has been named president of Corrugated Packaging. Jim Porter, who currently serves as president of Paper Solutions, will transition to a new role as president of Business Development and Latin America, and Craig Gunckel has been named president, Enterprise Solutions.

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KapStone Paper and Packaging announces new sheet plant
KapStone Paper and Packaging announces new sheet plant

KapStone announced that it is building a new state-of-the-art sheet plant in Ontario, California.

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Week of 12 Sep 2016: Are you management material?
Week of 12 Sep 2016: Are you management material?

Some, not all, young people in the industry often want to know what it takes to get into management. The answer is simple to state, a bit more difficult to execute. It is this: perform beyond expectations and become known for it. However, before we go further into this (likely next week), let's discuss some matters that you can use to test yourself to determine if you have the disposition to be a manager...

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Week of 5 Sep 2016: Hard or soft?
Week of 5 Sep 2016: Hard or soft?

Every facility in our industry has two types of assets--hard and soft. By hard I mean buildings, machinery, process control systems and so forth. By soft I mean people. When a facility produces products for a vibrant market (defined as steady or growing, not declining), which are more important to its success--the hard assets or the soft assets?

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Week of 29 Aug 2016: Corruption Month 2016, fifth week
Week of 29 Aug 2016: Corruption Month 2016, fifth week

As Corruption Month 2016 comes to a close, Pulp Rats Vel and Hae relate their experiences to Great Grandmother and the rest of the council...

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Louisiana Flood and Paperitalo Friends
Louisiana Flood and Paperitalo Friends

Louisiana is home to a significant portion of the North American pulp and paper industry, both mills and suppliers. When I think back to the business I have done over the decades in Louisiana, the volume is staggering (I received my first project in Louisiana in 1979 in Bogalusa). Right now several of our clients call Louisiana home as well as do many of our friends.

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Week of 22 Aug 2016: Corruption Month 2016, fourth week
Week of 22 Aug 2016: Corruption Month 2016, fourth week

"I did not relate this story to the council, but I wanted to share it with you readers of Mr. Jim's column. It happened in a place where I lived and it is a bit complicated, for I do not understand all the things the Big Things do. Apparently, from the best I can gather, the Big Things make paper products for something called money. They hand other Big Things products they make and these Big Things give them this money in return. Why, I don't understand, but that is the way things seem to work..." Fos the Pulp Rat continues his tale.

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Week of 15 Aug 2016: Corruption Month 2016, third week
Week of 15 Aug 2016: Corruption Month 2016, third week

How many times have you seen a less than honest performer running out the back door as the investigators are coming in the front door? It happens quite often. Fos the Pulp Rat continues his tale...

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Week of 8 Aug 2016: Corruption Month 2016, second week
Week of 8 Aug 2016: Corruption Month 2016, second week

When the rats know we have to follow the rules, there is no excuse for us humans, is there?

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Week of 1 Aug 2016: It's corruption month!
Week of 1 Aug 2016: It's corruption month!

If you are a new reader, a bit of explanation is in order. In the trade journal business, at least in the northern hemisphere, August is the lightest readership month of the year. So, last year we tried something different to perk up August. We labeled it "Corruption Month" and let Fos, a pulp rat, write the stories. This was a huge hit. So, Fos is back again with more tales from the dark side of the pulp and paper industry and beyond...

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Week of 25 July 2016: Impact
Week of 25 July 2016: Impact

What is the impact of your mill on the world as a whole? The truth is we don't know--no one knows because there are simply bits of science yet to be discovered. It is likely, however, that the impact is not as great as environmental NGOs say it is and not as little as your CEO may concede...

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Week of 18 July 2016: Just one more
Week of 18 July 2016: Just one more

Today the number of regulations with which a business or even a homeowner must comply has reached an incalculable quantity. It is as if one were reading the Book of Leviticus and attempting to understand how one properly prepares for the Jewish Sabbath--times ten million. The regulators, bureaucrats and their contractors see it to be their sacred duty to write just one more regulation. This leaves us with an impossible task--how to comply with all the regulations and the new ones constantly being foisted upon us...

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Week of 11 July 2016: The source of regulations
Week of 11 July 2016: The source of regulations

Last week I gave you my definition of regulations: "Regulations are imposed by those who have artificially gained power on those who own assets." I would like to spend this column discussing those who have artificially gained power. There are three groups that come to mind when I think of those who have artificially gained power. They are environmental NGOs, lawyers and governments. Let's take these one at a time...

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Week of 4 July 2016: Saving us from ourselves
Week of 4 July 2016: Saving us from ourselves

This is environment/regulations month here at Paperitalo Publications. Issues surrounding the environment and regulations necessarily, unless you subscribe to conspiracy theories, involve the mitigation of risks. I'll tell a story on myself to set the stage....

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Week of 27 June 2016: What's in a Contract? Part 3
Week of 27 June 2016: What's in a Contract? Part 3

As we wrap up procurement month, I want to talk to you about performance-based contracts. These are very different from most other contracts. They can be complicated to write, but if awarded to a competent bidder, can bring guaranteed results...

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Week of 20 June 2016: What's in a Contract? Part 2
Week of 20 June 2016: What's in a Contract? Part 2

We talked last week about what is not in a contract and the premise that in the eyes of the law in most places, if money has exchanged hands you have a contract. This week I wanted to take a higher level look at what one might want to include in a contract. And, we'll further simplify it by focusing on a contract that is of the "time and material" variety...

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Week of 13 June 2016: What's in a contract? Part 1
Week of 13 June 2016: What's in a contract? Part 1

It is true that if you want something in a contract, you must put it in the contract. It is also true that there are things not in a contract that are implied. A basic principle in the laws in the United States at least is this: if you accept money to do a task, there is a contract. It may be a verbal contract, but it is indeed a contract. Unfortunately, such contracts, if they involve a substantial claim by one party against another, will be sorted out the expensive way--in court. Here's an example...

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Week of 6 June 2016: Procurement Follies
Week of 6 June 2016: Procurement Follies

It is procurement month at Paperitalo Publications. The mill-related troublesome issues that can be attributed to the purchasing department are myriad and legion. This is not to say that there are not great purchasing agents, but this is a focal point of interaction with outsiders. It can lead to grand levels of loss through misunderstanding, incompetence and fraud. I want to discuss two issues today, two issues that are critical even before one arrives at the content of purchasing documents...

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Week of 30 May 2016: A flight of fantasy--wild and crazy energy ideas
Week of 30 May 2016: A flight of fantasy--wild and crazy energy ideas

As we wrap up energy month, let's look at some completely kooky ideas for saving energy. The naysayers will have their negative comments, but keep in mind what looks kooky now may be the greatest thing in just a few years. After all, if a mere two hundred years ago had you tried to speculate on humankind's harnessing and use of electricity coming in just a couple of centuries, you would have been labeled a complete nut-job. So, here we go...

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Week of 23 May 2016: The easiest energy savings
Week of 23 May 2016: The easiest energy savings

The easiest energy savings follow the same philosophy as the easiest safety improvements. If it does not exist, it cannot hurt you or consume energy. Your first reaction will be this: we don't operate anything we don't need in order to run our facility. Really? I'll bet I could find all sorts of things to turn off or modify in your facility...

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Week of 16 May 2016: Energy ROI Calculations are suspect
Week of 16 May 2016: Energy ROI Calculations are suspect

Energy projects have to be looked at from many angles, particularly if they are a significant investment as compared to the depreciated value of the assets they serve. Don't develop a cost overhang situation that will sink the mill if you guessed wrong (and you can count on guessing wrong). This is why you have to develop several scenarios...

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Week of 9 May 2016: Energy Leakage
Week of 9 May 2016: Energy Leakage

If a mill is thinking about adding to their energy generation sources, that is by adding another boiler to their fleet--it is time to pause and take a deep breath. It is one thing if you are changing fuels, quite another if you are just adding to your total steam generation capacity...

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Week of 2 May 2016: Energy is always political
Week of 2 May 2016: Energy is always political

As we start Energy Trends month here at Paperitalo Publications, I want to make sure those of you with a few less years of experience than I have understand that energy is probably the most concomitant political and scientific subject you will ever face...

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Week of 25 April 2016: The safest mill
Week of 25 April 2016: The safest mill

If adding things makes a site more hazardous, taking them away should reduce the hazards. The problem is, that over time, we get used to the hazards around us and pay no attention to them until we encounter them in an accident-causing situation...

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Week of 18 April 2016: When safety is used by top management to set an example
Week of 18 April 2016: When safety is used by top management to set an example

Last week's column was titled, "Does Senior Management cause Safety Issues?" This week, I want to report on two incidents of which I have direct knowledge where safety missteps by plant managers got them fired...

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Week of 11 April 2016: Does Senior Management cause Safety Issues?
Week of 11 April 2016: Does Senior Management cause Safety Issues?

There are times when the demands of management, which I'll admit include demands to conduct all work in a safe manner, sometimes force us to forget safety and push on to achieve the business operational objectives. Further, there is often a fine line when one is ascertaining how to proceed. Nearly everything we do has a dangerous component to it...

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Week of 4 April 2016: Kicking off Safety Month
Week of 4 April 2016: Kicking off Safety Month

It is Safety Month at Paperitalo Publications. Let's start off by understanding two things: (1) serious, sometimes fatal accidents occur in our mills today, this is not something that happens in the past or somewhere else and (2) what we tell our fellow employees, through words, deeds and actions is extremely important to conducting operations in a safe manner.

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Week of 28 March 2016: The greatest of these is love
Week of 28 March 2016: The greatest of these is love

No matter the department, people who love their jobs and care for the assets are the best inside-the-fence chance your mill has at succeeding.
This goes double for maintenance.

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Week of 21 March 2016: More on Boneyards and more
Week of 21 March 2016: More on Boneyards and more

We humans have a propensity for collecting things; it is in our nature. There is an entire industry that has developed in the last three or four decades to cater to this mental disorder--the self-storage industry. You drive by self-storage units all the time--how many of them do you think hold contents whose value equals just one year's rental on the unit? Just because we are in the corporate world does not mean we do not make poor decisions about keeping junk.

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Week of 14 March 2016: From whence comes Maintenance Personnel?
Week of 14 March 2016: From whence comes Maintenance Personnel?

In decades past, in the United States, engineering students came off the farm. It was often a first step up for farm family children to go to engineering school. I was a classic example. I left the farm and became a mechanical engineer. Today, entry level personnel, even if they are trained engineers, often do not have the practical background we used to have...

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Week of 7 March 2016: How to know if a mill is well maintained
Week of 7 March 2016: How to know if a mill is well maintained

You will never know if a mill is well maintained if you follow the mill's "tour route"--you know, the route they keep clean and in great shape for executives, board members and customers. Didn't know that mills have "tour routes"? Have I got some hot property in Florida for you! In a mill that is in really bad shape, you won't have to go to the places I am going to tell you about, for they, that is those in charge, will never let you get there. Thus, the first clue you are in a poorly maintained mill is if you run into resistance to a full blown tour...

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Week of 29 February 2016: Communications
Week of 29 February 2016: Communications

Over my career, the best operating mills and companies I have seen have had very open communications. In these systems, there is a culture encouraging communications between departments and between mills. Conversely, the worst I have seen have been those with a fortress mentality, both internally to a site, between departments and externally to the site, between mills. The worst I have ever seen was in a company making grades in declining markets. The mills saw each other as every bit as big a competitor as the mills actually belonging to competitors...

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Week of 22 February 2016: Transportation on your site
Week of 22 February 2016: Transportation on your site

In some cases, I have seen mills go to great lengths to negotiate strong contracts for their long-haul freight, only to ignore what was happening on their own property, perhaps because of the location of their mills. You can't do much about the location of your mill, if you happen to have arrived after the grand opening. But you might be able to do something about the shuffling of trucks, containers and rail cars about your site...

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Week of 15 February 2016: I've been workin' on the railroad!
Week of 15 February 2016: I've been workin' on the railroad!

Railroads could advance a lot further in serving their customers--in our case, pulp and paper mills and their customers...

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Week of 8 February 2016: The Red Ball Express
Week of 8 February 2016: The Red Ball Express

When the Allies invaded France in June of 1944, they knew they would have to conquer transportation problems if they were to be successful in reaching their objective. Starting on 24 August 1944 and running until 16 November 1944, the Red Ball Express operated 5,958 vehicles and moved 12,500 tons of freight each and every day from the coast of France to the front lines.

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Week of 1 February 2016: Transportation--taking your clues from trucks
Week of 1 February 2016: Transportation--taking your clues from trucks

Where will we see automation next? Driverless trucks. They are less than five years away, folks. You can take it to the bank. The question is, will you be ready for them in your mill?

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Week of 25 January 2016: When Capital Projects Fail
Week of 25 January 2016: When Capital Projects Fail

Failure takes many forms--the budget was too low, the schedule was wrong, training was poor, markets were not as predicted and on and on and on. However, I have never seen a project fail badly if it had a good design basis...

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Week of 18 January 2016: Assets--the intended results of Capital Projects
Week of 18 January 2016: Assets--the intended results of Capital Projects

I once worked for a company that was proud of its capital projects and how the completion of such projects added to the assets of the company. The next company I worked for was proud of its return on investment (ROI) and had a philosophy of investing as little as possible in capital projects, for such investments drove down the ROI. This seems like a conundrum, but there are always other details that need to be explained to understand such matters...

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Week of 11 January 2016: Capital Projects are serious business--not fiction
Week of 11 January 2016: Capital Projects are serious business--not fiction

Capital projects consist of three elements--money, time, and space. Getting two out of three right is not too hard. Getting all three correct is like bowling a perfect game.

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Week of 4 January 2016: Welcome to January--especially those of you with new capital projects
Week of 4 January 2016: Welcome to January--especially those of you with new capital projects

A new year, and it is capital projects month on the Paperitalo Editorial Calendar. In my nearly forty-six years in this industry, I have seen capital projects from all sides. I have seen so many projects, from the truly frightful to shining examples, that I could write a book. In fact, I did. ... I want to start this month's columns with a slightly different slant. I want to begin by talking about the relationship between suppliers and owners.

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Week of 28 December 2015: Energy and Culture in your Mill
Week of 28 December 2015: Energy and Culture in your Mill

As we wrap up power and energy month here at Paperitalo Publications, remember this: unless energy prices change rapidly and drastically (either up or down), the actual practices of energy consumption in your mill are likely driven by your mill's culture more than any other parameter. Of course, this is true of nearly everything that happens in your mill, but it bears noting in particular as we look at energy consumption.

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Week of 21 December 2015: Understanding the scale of energy generation
Week of 21 December 2015: Understanding the scale of energy generation

Here in the pulp and paper industry, we have a difficult problem explaining our energy needs to the public. The scale of our facilities, the energy needs, just do not compute for the individual who is not regularly exposed to the scale of the business. This works to our detriment when the population puts pressure on the politicians. What to do about this?

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Week of 14 December 2015: Your 2016 Energy Budget
Week of 14 December 2015: Your 2016 Energy Budget

If you want to wring unpredictability out of your energy budget, you will push conservation no matter the price of your energy sources. Energy that you don't have to purchase (at any price) reflects energy costs that cannot destabilize your energy budget. It is as simple as that.

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Week of 7 December 2015: A modest start
Week of 7 December 2015: A modest start

Where can we use the force of gravity to eliminate energy costs?

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Week of 23 November 2015: Innovation can be bought
Week of 23 November 2015: Innovation can be bought

In fact, most of the time, that is exactly what large companies do. Earlier in this series I talked about the inertia of large companies and the inability for them to innovate. So, they do the next best thing--they buy it...

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Week of 16 November 2015: Innovation is not fiction
Week of 16 November 2015: Innovation is not fiction

The problem is, good innovation often looks like fiction on the surface. So, challenge innovation--challenge what will make it work. If it is in contracts, challenge the legality. If it is in products, challenge the science. And if it is in services, challenge the psychology that will cause people to behave in the manner that will result in the outcome predicted...

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Week of 9 November 2015: Innovation vs. politics
Week of 9 November 2015: Innovation vs. politics

In our own industry, we are known for inertia. We are not known for innovation, in fact, innovation is almost discouraged. We are known for politics. If I took off my socks right now, I don't have enough digits on my hands and feet to count all the bad managers I know in positions of power in our industry. Politics wins...

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Week of 2 November 2015: Elusive Innovation
Week of 2 November 2015: Elusive Innovation

Innovation has its problems, both from the practitioner and the manager perspectives...

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Week of 26 October 2015: Quality, like safety, is a 24/7 job
Week of 26 October 2015: Quality, like safety, is a 24/7 job

You probably have heard it said many times, "Quality is an attitude." This is correct. Quality, safety and housekeeping all go together...

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Week of 19 October 2015: The Quality of...your LinkedIn photograph
Week of 19 October 2015: The Quality of...your LinkedIn photograph

Don't let your photo screen you out of a great opportunity...

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Week of 12 October 2015: The most important quality--dimensional
Week of 12 October 2015: The most important quality--dimensional

If you look around, you'll find dimensions are everything. Don't casually dismiss them when you think about quality...

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Week of 5 October 2015: Quality Trouble
Week of 5 October 2015: Quality Trouble

Over the years, I have seen many attempts to obtain an advantage in markets by selling product based on quality. I have also seen many shenanigans as people try to short cut quality...

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Week of 28 September 2015: The most difficult management task is the most rewarding
Week of 28 September 2015: The most difficult management task is the most rewarding

I am often told by managers, "I can't get (fill in the blank) to do what I want done." Sometimes this statement highlights a training deficit. Sometimes it highlights a personality deficit. Sometimes it is a motivational issue. However, most often it is something else--these managers have not bothered to put themselves in the subordinates' shoes and look at the world from their point of view...

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Week of 21 September 2015: Managing the unmanageable
Week of 21 September 2015: Managing the unmanageable

Your subordinates came to you by one of three routes. You were promoted to be their boss, they transferred into your area of responsibility or they were hired in from the outside. How you treat them depends somewhat on how you acquired them...

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Week of 14 September 2015: It's management's fault
Week of 14 September 2015: It's management's fault

It is always management's fault, for by the very definition management is in charge. So whether your facility succeeds or fails, makes the best profit in its history, or is handing out notices that it is closing, it is management's fault...

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Week of 7 September 2015: Management is often the solution
Week of 7 September 2015: Management is often the solution

Unfortunately, management failures happen at all levels. Further, we often think we can solve them by buying something. Sometimes, as an alternative to spending money, we think we need to fire someone, or perhaps promote someone. Often the first thing we should do is simplify what we are doing and see if that is a solution...

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Week of 31 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, fifth week
Week of 31 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, fifth week

We would like your feedback on our first attempt at Corruption Month. We already have plenty of stories for next year. However, if you have any stories or any feedback, just email me at jthompson@taii.com. I'll be sure to keep them confidential.

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Week of 24 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, fourth week
Week of 24 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, fourth week

Any resemblances here to real people, places, institutions or events are purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction. Warning: this episode is quite graphic, especially toward the end. I tried to figure out how to tone it down, but in keeping with the flow of the story, I could not determine a way to do it. My apologies in advance if you are offended. We pick up where we left off last week, still in Chapter 5...

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Week of 17 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, third week
Week of 17 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, third week

Disclaimer: Any resemblances here to real people, places, institutions or events are purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction. We pick up where we left off last week, still in Chapter 4...

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Week of 10 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, second week
Week of 10 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, second week

Disclaimer: Any resemblances here to real people, places, institutions or events are purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction. Let's pick up where we left off last week, continuing in Chapter 4...

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Week of 3 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, first week
Week of 3 August 2015: Corruption Month 2015, first week

Disclaimer: Any resemblances here to real people, places, institutions or events are purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction. Let's pick up where we left off last week...

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Week of 27 July 2015: Getting started on August--Corruption Month
Week of 27 July 2015: Getting started on August--Corruption Month

We often talk about corruption in mills as a thing of the past. I can assure you it is a matter in the present. We have recent correspondence with readers who have told us very interesting stories of things they say are going on right now as you read this. All of this leaves us in a dilemma, for if we tell the stories we know as straight up reporting, we could be sued, called into court and so forth. How to get around this is a problem. Fortunately, I started a book on this subject a while back...

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Week of 20 July 2015: Dimensions
Week of 20 July 2015: Dimensions

Probably once a month or so, I encounter a client who is having problems. Be it the width of paper rolls, the fit of a pipe, you name it, dimensions are a big problem. Many people seem to think that mere dimensions are beneath them, that having conquered calculus, such arithmetic is child's play. Let me tell you, it is not and dimensional mistakes, particularly on a construction site, are probably the largest cause of backcharges and overages. Face it: we live in a three dimensional world and everything has to fit...

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Week of 13 July 2015: The Board is coming--an introduction
Week of 13 July 2015: The Board is coming--an introduction

So, you have been informed that the board of directors, or other high ranking officials from headquarters, are coming to see your facility. The range of emotions at your site will range from snickers and sighs to people who are actually looking forward to this. May I suggest a neutral viewpoint be adopted? This is an occasion as important as any event in the life of any facility. It is somewhat akin to making paper--it is simply part of your duties, an important part.

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Week of 6 July 2015: Changing Cultures
Week of 6 July 2015: Changing Cultures

Whether it is a mill, a supplier or some other entity where a group of people gather to achieve objectives, culture matters. Getting it right is critical and difficult while getting it wrong is easy and disastrous. Fixing a broken culture is extremely difficult and sometimes nearly impossible. How do you know if you have a broken culture?

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Week of 29 June 2015: You ain't seen nothing yet!
Week of 29 June 2015: You ain't seen nothing yet!

I was taught long ago that one should build quality into a product, not inspect it in after it has been made. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? This is why I have always been troubled by the location of gauging systems on paper machines. Look at where they are: at the end of the machine, after the product is made. In the future, we may still have the old stationary gauges in their traditional locations, but I see something totally different right around the corner, perhaps as soon as in five years. What will it be?

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Week of 22 June 2015: I don't believe it
Week of 22 June 2015: I don't believe it

Everything goes on in your mill, from the honest and upright to the scandalous and felonious. It all happens, and if you don't think it does, I have a shiny bridge over the East River in New York I would like to sell you...

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Week of 15 June 2015: The Topic of Cancer
Week of 15 June 2015: The Topic of Cancer

No, not the Tropic of Cancer--the topic of Cancer. This column is off topic---but it is on topic. It's entirely possible that some readers of this column will get the news, within the next couple of weeks, that they or someone they know has cancer. If it jolts them out of denial, it was well worthwhile for all of us to spend a week of column time on it.

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Week of 8 June 2015: Contradiction?
Week of 8 June 2015: Contradiction?

I received such a great comment in response to my past two columns that we'll devote this week's column to answering it.

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Week of 1 June 2015: Integrity First
Week of 1 June 2015: Integrity First

If you are looking for a foundation upon which to build your employment principles, integrity is the place to start. How many actions have you seen in your place of work, mill, supplier or elsewhere, where if people had acted with integrity all would be well? How many disciplinary issues have you seen, which, again, if people had acted with integrity, would not have even been necessary?

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Week of 25 May 2015: Are you going to follow the rules or get something done?
Week of 25 May 2015: Are you going to follow the rules or get something done?

There are people who feel constrained to follow the rules and there are those who see an opportunity for the company and exploit that opportunity for the benefit of the company ... Also, you might want to take our quiz this week, if you are interested in improving your career in your mill.

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