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Air vs. Steam Atomization Part 12 – Holistic Approach to Project Approval

Posted on January 5th, 2018 by in Chemical Manufacturing Excellence


The project described in my previous posts illustrates that obtaining project approval can be a challenging activity… especially when there is resistance to implementation, which is almost always the case in some regard. In this sense, this project was no different than most other projects.

Understand that our entire plant had been shut down many times while our only air compressor was out of service. Now consider a relatively new engineer (me) suggesting a major complicated modification (variable speed drive) to the largest motor in the plant (by far) that can and will shut down the entire plant when it fails. Needless to say, there was considerable resistance to the idea due to politics and plant culture.

The suggested approach to obtain approval is to avoid emotional suggestions that sound good and instead, “MAKE MANAGEMENT AN OFFER THAT CANNOT BE REFUSED. To enhance the chances of convincing management that the project is worthy of support, the offer should be made in terms that management understands – MONEY.” (Variable Speed Drives: Principles and Applications for Energy Cost Savings, David W Spitzer, Momentum Press, Page 148.)

Avoiding emotional suggestions is difficult at first (note the first few posts in this thread). However, quantification of these suggestions can be developed once they are better defined (such as in my subsequent posts). Putting all of this together draws on multiple skills and disciplines to ensure that project sustainability has been considered holistically.

In this project, all four interconnected domains of sustainability have been considered – processes, economics, politics and culture – to varying and appropriate extents.

See previous posts:

All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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