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Articles related to maintenance


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Struggling with delays, Tranlin changes name
Struggling with delays, Tranlin changes name

The Chinese company that is planning to build a $2 billion paper mill in eastern Chesterfield has announced that it is changing its name to Vastly.

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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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Stora Enso to close a facility and invest in another
Stora Enso to close a facility and invest in another

Stora Enso says it plans to consolidate manufacturing of corrugated packaging in Finland to its Lahti plant.

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Northern Pulp boosts shutdown budget and workforce
Northern Pulp boosts shutdown budget and workforce

Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation began its annual maintenance shutdown on September 10. The purpose of such a shutdown is to carry out preventative maintenance on non-operating equipment.

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Toscotec dryer section rebuild successfully starts up at Sonoco Alcore mill in Italy
Toscotec dryer section rebuild successfully starts up at Sonoco Alcore mill in Italy

A Toscotec dryer section rebuild has been successfully started up at the Sonoco Alcore paper mill in Ciriè-Torino, Italy.

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Worker admits threats to Glatfelter mill, 'wanted the day off'
Worker admits threats to Glatfelter mill, 'wanted the day off'

A contractor employee pleaded guilty Friday to sending a text message threatening the Glatfelter paper mill the day before because he "wanted the day off."

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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 7 October 13: Race and Gender
Week of 7 October 13: Race and Gender

It amazes me today to see what little adoption of certain principles regarding race and gender has occurred in the nearly forty years since I was introduced to them. I am especially surprised how far behind major companies who have obviously hired many people of color and many women are as compared to my own experience...

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Week of 30 September 13: Treat your suppliers with respect
Week of 30 September 13: Treat your suppliers with respect

Bottom line, suppliers and their representatives likely need more attention than you are giving them if you want to take advantage of what they have to offer you.  And it is a two way street—they will move mountains for you if you are in trouble, if you have treated them with respect. If you haven’t, you will not have that phone number you need at two in the morning...

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Week of 23 September 13: Advice for students?
Week of 23 September 13: Advice for students?

Will a pulp and paper science student in the United States today interested in pulping processes (not papermaking) be able to complete a normal, 40-year career in the pulping sector in the United States? I think the answer is a resounding, “No.”

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Week of 16 September 13: Maintenance Progress?
Week of 16 September 13: Maintenance Progress?

While we have developed and acquired all sorts of gadgets and techniques to improve maintenance, primarily by reducing downtime, especially emergency downtime, we still haven’t done all that well...

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Week of 10 June 13: Destroying a brand
Week of 10 June 13: Destroying a brand

Recent events seem to suggest we can, in real time, watch a retail brand being destroyed right now... 

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Week of 27 May 13: Over and Over and Over
Week of 27 May 13: Over and Over and Over

The curse of all businesses is killing problems and killing them dead.

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Week of 3 June 13: What are you afraid of?
Week of 3 June 13: What are you afraid of?

Over the years, it has been interesting to watch the fear level of employees... 

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Week of 20 May 13: Fiduciary Malfeasance
Week of 20 May 13: Fiduciary Malfeasance

I have seen many a good mill killed by poor maintenance...

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Week of 13 May 13: MAT
Week of 13 May 13: MAT

We have covered some other acronyms in this column before.  LOC stands for Lean, Orderly and Clean. LME stands for Legal, Moral and Ethical. This week, we want to introduce a third and state (hopefully) that if you follow all three acronyms, life will be good indeed. MAT stands for Maintained, Accountable and Trained...

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