In business, it’s been said, “you need to spend money to make money.” This axiom certainly applies to capital investing, where market demands can be exploited with increased production through the careful implementation of new equipment.
One of the most important factors for a successful project is being able to specify the requirements up front. Many times, the customer doesn’t know exactly what he needs. More preliminary engineering is required to get the project requirements specific enough for suppliers to offer a fixed price bid for the project. But often, clients don’t realize they need to budget for this and therefore don’t want to pay for this service.
You may have heard the old adage, “Real men don’t read the instructions.” This is often followed by disastrous results – furniture put together incorrectly, hours spent on equipment repairs that could have been solved in minutes, or a family taken wildly off-course on a road trip. As funny as these examples are, manufacturers are susceptible to similar outcomes when it comes to projects like equipment moves.
In my last post I was excited to share an example from a client who shared with us some pictures of a process we had installed in the 1970’s that had stood the test of time. To contrast this feelgood story, I wanted to share another recent experience we had with a current client who reached out to us.
It’s that time again—looking at our practices to find areas for improvement. Today’s subject is project management: risk assessment and mitigation. Risk is a big deal here at Optimation. We are managing not only our own risk, but also that of our partners, suppliers, and clients. It’s a form of stewardship, that is, caring for the well-being of assets entrusted to us. Very often our clients hire us explicitly to help manage their project risk. This can come in the form of scope, schedule, or budget dimensions, each of which poses its own unique challenges to a client's ability to achieve their goals when undertaking capital projects.
Topics: Project Management
Communication is one of the most significant factors in any kind of venture. Whether it's operating a business or executing a capital project, communication among team members and between stakeholders is critical. Clarifying understanding, enabling trust, and building confidence, are just a few of the critical benefits of optimized communication. This blog post is intended to explore the application of effective communication, specifically in capital projects.
"Unintended consequences." Sounds harmless, guilt-relieving, “not-our-fault” kind of language. On the surface it's a simple-enough statement, declaring that there were outcomes to some actions taken that (usually) ran counter to the intent of the project, and generally they were not desired. In other words, "some bad things happened that we did not expect."
At Optimation, we describe our company in terms of our ability to provide turnkey solutions to the manufacturing segment. Our solutions and services can start early in the project process, as we are able to assist our clients in investigating a variety of technologies that might help them with their production challenge or problem. We generally receive a problem statement and some User Requirements from our contact at the client company. We respond to the customer’s needs with a Concept Design phase, which includes performing a technology assessment. Our Media Conveyance Facility stands ready to offer Development Engineering and modeling to predict behavior for products that are built on flexible webs, for example. Once a preferred technology is selected, a manufacturing platform or machine configuration is generated that answers the client’s User Requirements (the first steps of our Project Process). We then invite our client to participate in a Concept Design review to validate our work product so far.
Very often commercial and industrial decision-making whether to outsource or not is governed by the time value of money, cost savings, and potential for productivity increases. But what if we look at another dimension, that is the opportunity to explicitly buy time? Who doesn't want more?!
Back in the 70s when I graduated with an engineering degree, a large percentage of the new graduates went to work for manufacturing companies. A certain percentage went on for advanced degrees and ended up in research positions and academia, but much of the research was carried out by private companies building their own IP portfolios. The exception to this was civil, structural and architectural graduates who might end up working for private engineering and design firms.