Big Project Messes
There are at least two major pulp and paper capital projects in the United States at the moment that are in big trouble. Over budget and beyond their schedules, these projects are having serious problems.
There is another project, completed a few months ago, where the company has made an announcement that it is not achieving the return expected. I found this announcement astounding--in my fifty years of experience, I have never seen an announcement like this. Why it was made public, I can only guess, but I assume it was in the name of providing full disclosure to the stock market.
There are no excuses for any of these problems. Today, we know how to do projects right and how to avoid doing them wrong.
There are just a few basic reasons why these could possibly happen:
- Inexperienced managers would placed in charge of the projects.
- Top officials made off-hand promises to boards of directors that were based on casual data, not well researched.
- Poor contract writing and/or poor followup.
As I have told some of my acquaintances, I, or other experienced professionals, can guide managers out of these problems, if brought in early enough. Or, alternatively, lawyers can hire us as expert witnesses after the fact to sort out the mess in a civil lawsuit. Either way, we earn a living, but in only one way does the pulp and paper company come out ahead.