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Rick Hoffman joined Becht Engineering in June, 2009 as a Senior Engineering Advisor. He has more than 39 years experience in engineering, reliability management and maintenance in the refining, petrochemical and synthetic fuels industries.

Prior to joining Becht Engineering he was the Director, Specialty Engineering for LyondellBasell Industries. In this role he had worldwide responsibility for corporate technical support, mechanical engineering and maintenance for more than 40 chemical plants and two refineries. He was also responsible for capital project support, setting the strategic direction for Lyondell maintenance

Cost, Schedule, Quality - Pick Two … Isn’t Always True

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- Achieving Excellence in Any Project - The old saying in managing projects was Cost, Schedule and Quality. Pick two. This is because it is very difficult to do a good job on all three of these critical aspects of any project. If we highly control cost, the quality of the finished project may suffer. Likewise, if a project becomes schedule driven, costs may escalate or quality may decline. In order to excel in all three criteria extensive planning, scheduling and quality control measures must be implemented. This blog discusses critical elements to achieve cost, schedule and quality objectives on any project including turnarounds, major capital projects or quick hit jobs like troubleshooting and due diligence.Critical elements of a successful project to meet cost, schedule and quality objectives include:Well-Defined ScopeTeam SelectionControls and ReportingMilestonesDefinition of Deliverables1.  Well-Defined Scope Probably the most important element of a successful project is a well-defined scope. The scope...
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Guest — Daniel Chow

An inspiring article

I like the catchy title, and strongly agree that cost AND schedule AND quality can be jointly optimized given the right sponsor an... Read More
Thursday, 09 January 2020 07:07
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Steps to Increase Efficiency, Improve Deliverables and Reduce Expert Witness Costs

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OR - Keeping Your Expert Witness Sane - Litigation is extraordinarily expensive. Legal and expert witness fees can quickly mount up and become a significant percentage of the amount in dispute. I worked on a cost dispute on a plant estimated to cost $68MM but was significantly over expended. The litigation and expert fees were about $10MM or almost 15% of the original estimate for the plant. In this case good scope, an experienced project team and tight control over field construction might have avoided both the over expenditure and litigation.However, sometimes litigation cannot be avoided and it’s important to control costs of the legal staff as well as the expert witness team. We recently worked on a case where the expert fees were about 7% of the disputed amount. When costs of the legal team were added to the expert fees, the expense was substantial. This article outlines the steps that...
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Process Safety Management: Small Errors Lead To Big Consequences

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We work in an industry where there is very little tolerance for errors since we deal with highly hazardous, flammable chemicals. Normally our plants operate with exceptional safety records since they are built to exacting standards, inspected frequently to monitor changes in integrity and personnel are highly trained. However, sometimes human error, cutting corners or putting production before safety can cause serious accidents.This blog focuses on the importance of doing things right every day, every time. It discusses incidents where small errors led to huge consequences. These errors can be due to inadvertent mistakes, normalization of deviance, fatigue, intentionally ignoring safety procedures or failure to recognize hazards. Inadvertent mistakes could include forgetting to properly line up a valve system, installing the wrong gasket or pushing a button before the system is ready to operate. Normalization of deviance (View my other blog) is where the unacceptable becomes acceptable. For example, you might...
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Accurate Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) Can Guide Due Diligence Efforts

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A key element in an effective Due Diligence study is to be able to quickly identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) on a current, historical and projected basis. These KPI’s include safety statistics, operational performance, status of maintenance programs and overdue activities. The KPI’s can be presented in numerical or graphical format however it is important to understand trends in the KPI, comparison to world class performance and in the case of graphical presentation the slope of the improvement or decline in performance. It is also important to understand the basis and calculation method for the KPI. Plant reliability is a critical KPI however we find a variety of methods used to calculate this very important factor. We have done due diligence in plants where just having the lights on or a critical compressor on turning gear is considered running at 100 percent reliability. The devil is truly in the details....
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