Project Management Institute

1994 International Project of the Year

A "Rolling" Success

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Following the PMBOK was a major factor in the success of this award-winning project.

Wayne HalIi, PMP

The design, installation and start-up of increased aluminum rolling and finishing capacity for Alcan's Logan facility has been a rolling success. The project was executed using the fundamentals of PMBOK with a vision of exceeding the owner's business needs for the capital investment.

“The key to any quality project is being able to accomplish what was initially envisioned,” says Karl Gdovka, Alcan's project manager for the Logan Expansion Project. “We developed a conceptual vision of the project long before any detailed design began, and that vision was crucial for our success at Logan.”

Fluor Daniel has been working with Alcan Rolled Products Company, the owner of the Logan Expansion Project, since the late 1970s, when the conceptual development of the original Logan facility began. This relationship was solidified in 1988, when Alcan and Fluor Daniel established an alliance, named ALDA which stipulated that Fluor Daniel would serve as the prime engineering, procurement, and construction contractor on major projects for the company. The ALDA alliance has been one of Fluor Daniel's most prominent relationships, and has resulted in three major engineering projects for Alcan in the past five years.

Logan Expansion Project

One of these three projects was the more than $200 million expansion of the Logan aluminum facility in Russellville, Kentucky Fluor Daniel started conceptual engineering for the 260,000 -square-foot-expansion in late 1989.

In general, projects of this scope are challenging for all team members. This project encountered a variety of unique conditions-from cleanliness considerations and coordination with operations for access, egress and scheduling tie-ins, to a transformer failure and a major equipment relocation-while the existing plant continued to operate.

Alcan's original schedule objective was to run the first aluminum sheet through the new cold mill on April 15, 1993—a goal that was accomplished two months ahead of schedule and 5 percent under budget.

Communication Management. The key to the ahead-of-schedule and under-budget completion of the project can be directly attributed to effective communication between all team members. Fluor Daniel and Alcan identified a technical liaison to serve as the single point of contact for each of the two major suppliers, SMS Engineering, Inc. and Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.

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Recipients of the 1994 International Project of the Year at the Seminar/Symposium in Vancouver. L-R: PMI President Kent Crawford; Win Moore, Fluor Daniel; Karl Gdovka, Alcan Rolled Products; Wayne Halli, Fluor Daniel; PMI Chair John Adams.

These liaisons assisted in expediting design information, provided continuity and consistency within the project, and developed support systems that were outside the scope of the two major suppliers, but necessary for the completion of their designs. These support systems ranged from the emergency stop and computer network connectivity to fire protection interfaces and power distribution.

The complexity of the design effort required accurate scheduling of the exchange of design data between all team members. A major challenge was the coordination of design data between five U.S. states, Canada, Japan, and Europe.

Human Resource Management. The establishment of teams from Alcan-Logan-Fluor Daniel and suppliers created an enjoyable work environment. Each team had responsibility for all aspects of project management within their area.”

Cost and Scope Management. In conjunction with the tight schedule, project management decisions were highly cost driven. To achieve an on-budget and on-schedule project, the team members involved all key project management personnel from contributing companies.

For nine months, this group scoped, estimated, de-scoped and revised estimates in extreme detail. Once the basis for mutual understanding and accountability for detail components were documented, a series of techniques were established to ensure that the objectives were met.

A deviation procedure was instituted requiring all project personnel to quickly alert management of any potential cost or schedule deviations prior to initiating work. More than 500 deviations were handled during the life of the project.

Risk Management. Each quarter, the entire project management team met and jointly prepared range estimates on the remaining work. This reinforced the cost awareness of all members and made them equally accountable to the bottom line, not just their own budget. These range estimates also challenged the technology being used and the schedule.

Procurement Management. In order to manage the cash flow and ensure early delivery of engineering information, schedule milestones were linked to all major vendor payments. This helped ensure schedule commitments while reducing the amount of cost variability and schedule differences upon the cash flow. Joachim Moeller, vice president of Siemens’ Systems Division, says, “Several unique and innovative approaches helped contribute to the project's success. One such approach was to reconcile customer and supplier detailed procurement specifications and engineering design documents.”

Quality Management. Continuous involvement of the entire team in equipment design and frequent communications ensured the smooth transfer of design data between all parties. The team realized that the exchange of design information on magnetic media was extremely valuable. Therefore the drawing process was delayed as long as possible to share the data in a database format. As a result, the amount of rework was minimized while allowing the installation design to progress in the most efficient and timely means available.

Through Fluor Daniel's Continuous Performance Improvement approach, a value-added program was instituted by the project team to capture and document cost savings and avoidances. It is not very often that a project that requires more than three years to complete betters the schedule and budget originally conceived in the capital request for funding.

Time Management. The basis for the smooth and predictable startup of the Logan Expansion Project can be traced back to Logan's participation in the detailed design phase at the supplier's location. Fluor Daniel developed construction turnover schedules that were structured to assist Logan in the selective commissioning and start-up of equipment groups.

Each field device, panel, and construction activity was tracked by engineering, while the turnover schedule was reviewed and updated daily Since both construction and start-up phases of the project occurred simultaneously joint coordination meetings were held daily with representatives from the three team members as well as two major subcontractors.

Safety. A safe work environment is of utmost importance on every project. During the peak construction period at Logan in 1992, the project experienced only one OSHA recordable lost workday and had a record low incident rate of .019, as compared to the national average of 6.5 for the same time period.

Owner Satisfaction. A true team spirit was maintained between owner, contractor, and suppliers throughout the life of the project. SMS and Siemens were stakeholders, along with Alcan and Fluor Daniel, in making the performance of the project a success.

Note: For more information on the Logan Expansion project, see “Scope Management Through a WBS” in the May 1993 PM Network. img

Wayne HalIi, PMP PE, is a principle project engineer with Fluor Daniel. He was the area project manager for the finishing and cold mill areas of the Logan project.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

PM Network • January 1995

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