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Week of 23 October 2017: Internal Quality

Week of 23 October 2017: Internal Quality

Some people (and I suspect they are often the same people I described above) think doing a quality job is relevant only to their outside customers and clients. Wrong! In fact, one could not be more wrong than this. Practicing internal quality principles really saves money (practicing quality externally saves and wins customers). Internally, two things go wrong when we fail to hold to the highest quality standards...

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Week of 16 October 2017: When your reputation for quality is horrible

Week of 16 October 2017: When your reputation for quality is horrible

If your reputation for quality is horrible, there is only one choice--fix it. But to reach that one choice, you must first be willing to accept the feedback that your reputation for quality is poor. This is a hurdle for many organizations; they are dismissive of customer feedback, and say to themselves, "It is only a single case" or "customers are not willing to pay for quality." I know of three organizations that have met this challenge head-on and done something about it...

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Week of 9 October 2017: When you can't figure out how to fix your quality

Week of 9 October 2017: When you can't figure out how to fix your quality

Wait a minute--you did not know your quality was broken? Your product or service quality is always broken. It is always broken because quality is a moving target. What may have been the best quality among your peers last month may send you to the bottom of the heap this month.

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Week of 2 October 2017: Quality Advantages

Week of 2 October 2017: Quality Advantages

Over a quarter of a century ago, quality was all the rage in industry. Business books on quality abounded and everyone had laser cut letter Q's sitting on their desks (at least in my world). About this time, I had a boss who attended some great quality seminar and came back reporting, "Quality is just as good as the customer requires, no more, no less." He was wrong. Welcome to quality month at Paperitalo Publications...

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Week of 25 September 2017: Management compliments and criticisms are not always obvious

Week of 25 September 2017: Management compliments and criticisms are not always obvious

Many employees spend an inordinate amount of time trying to read the "tea leaves" of the boss's behavior. Most of this effort is a waste of time...

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Week of 18 September 2017: Be careful how you define your team, part 2

Week of 18 September 2017: Be careful how you define your team, part 2

Last week we talked about exactly who is defined as part of your team. This was done from the stance of making sure you don't, due to naïve generosity, take on work outside your scope and in the end, do everything poorly. At the same time, you must ward off the outside work without building silos or fortresses that seed discontent. This week, we will deal with two issues that may come up as you protect your team and strive for excellence in your team's area of responsibility, as well as good relations with all of your coworkers.

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Week of 11 September 2017: Be careful how you define your team, part 1

Week of 11 September 2017: Be careful how you define your team, part 1

A team is your specific, small group of personnel assigned to do a specific job or set of jobs. Although I am not much of a sports fan, I can give an example from there. Suppose the quarterback notices that the waterboy forgot to fill the drink containers? Does he ask for a time out so the players on the field can do this job? No. While in the bigger picture, they are all on the same team, when it comes to specific tasks they are not.

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Week of 4 September 2017: What assets are affecting your performance?

Week of 4 September 2017: What assets are affecting your performance?

I recently had a discussion with a long-time industry professional concerning this question: which is more important to a given mill--the technology or the management?

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Week of 28 August 2017: Corruption Month 2017, Fourth Week

Week of 28 August 2017: Corruption Month 2017, Fourth 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 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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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 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 "Costs"

Week of 6 March 2017: Maintenance

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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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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