June 15, 2020
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:

  1. Inexperienced managers would placed in charge of the projects.
  2. Top officials made off-hand promises to boards of directors that were based on casual data, not well researched.
  3. 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.

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  j im.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