February 15, 2021
Computer Dependency

I am seeing a phenomenon in capital project construction that we need to monitor. When it comes to design and scheduling functions, we are raising up a generation of professionals that, I fear, are losing touch with reality.

Solid works modeling and interference checking is great. However, you still have to get the stuff in place and properly connected. What whizzes around on the computer screen is an entirely different matter when it is a five ton assembly that has to be brought to the operating floor, moved halfway down the machine and shoe-horned into place. Inexperienced designers and engineers may not appreciate the brute strength (from machines or people) or the dexterity required to get that piece to its proper position.

Same is true of schedules. I have seen schedulers who are greased lightning on the computer, but when it comes to real sequencing in the field have neither the understanding or appreciation for what it takes. On their computer it may look like chess pieces being moved around. In reality when you have twelve pawns and four rooks but really need five pawns and 7 rooks, so to speak, it is an entirely different matter.

We need to assure ourselves we are properly staffing the management of our projects, in the office and in the field, with professionals either (a) familiar with the needs of the moment or (b) in training so they can learn the needs of the moment.

The gulf between the office and reality has never been wider.

What is your opinion? Drop me a line at jim.thompson@ipulpmedia.com. I would like to hear from you.

Young Engineering Manager of the Year, call for nominations

We are looking for an individual who has done an extraordinary project, one that almost defies belief. Its extraordinary features can be schedule, technology, cost or all three. There is an age limit on the manager eligible for this award: they must be under 35 years old when they completed the project.
We have often gotten nominees that go something like this, "I nominate Joe because he has done a great job of running our engineering department for the last fifteen years." Quite frankly, we are not interested in such nominees.
However, if you know someone who has led a very exceptional project in the recent past (the last two or three years) and meets our age requirement, we want to know about it. We want to honor them and hold them up as an example for Engineering Managers in every pulp and paper mill around the world.
Just send your nomination, with as much details as you can provide, to jim.thompson@ipulpmedia.com. We will seriously consider it.
Current Patent Activity is available here.

Please write when we tickle your brain cells! Email jthompson@taii.com