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The Benfield Column Repair Project

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Overhaul the damaged carbonate regeneration column of the Benfield Unit of the Gas Circuit at Sasol within the shortest possible time to prevent any further loss of income. The PMBOK framework is applied to this case. It covers the design, execution and evaluation phase. The case does not give any details pertaining to the finishing phase. Also, no details are given about the environmental and managerial aspects of the phases mentioned in the case. The primary objective was to get the repair work done on time and so to enable this a set of ground rules were established which included instructions on how the process of technical decisions and process decisions would be authorized, how the project will have no float, resources will not have any limitation etc.

The technical phase included the entire process of removing, fabricating and replacing the vessel which covers the processes such as rigging, piping, electrical and associated work. Besides procurement of materials, arranging for their delivery and conducting the rigging study extensively, the financial aspects included a great deal of cost saving to the extent of over 63 million dollars thanks to the techniques such as value analysis which saved hundreds of meters of scaffolding required. Also, the management took measures to save time extensively and also prevent bureaucracy. Besides this, the company took efforts to ensure that every worker involved in the project was taken care of in terms of being made comfortable.

Some of the challenges faced during the execution phase included urging the workers to complete the tasks ahead of time as opposed to on time. Another challenge was when they had to make savings in relation to the hundreds of meters of scaffolding required to weld the connecting piping to the column In the evaluation phase, they discovered that they could have saved more time if they had taken the religious sensitivity of their workers into consideration

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Evaluations also revealed a lapse in communications management where key people who worked on the field were not informed of the happenings on a real-time as they were not considered important enough to be kept in the conversation loop such as the case of the inspector who went home without clearing the goods that had arrived as he was not informed. The communication checklist when examined revealed several people who were actually involved in the process were missing. In order to increase the length of the scaffolding and get things done the regulations were challenged which stated that either men or equipment can be put in a man rider basket but not together at the same time. This regulation was challenged by developing a man rider specifically for the said purpose which was taken all the way to Pretoria to get the responsible minister’s approval.

The efforts finally did pay off. Besides this to prevent bureaucracy and to motivate the workers to finish ahead of time they were given morale boosters through measures such as placing a board in the project area where names of those who performed well during the day were included. Also to extensive steps were taken to identify the actual needs of the workers such as the one case where they realized that the welder flown in from the US was actually unhappy with the accommodation he was provided with despite it being top notch as the children within the apartment prevented him from getting adequate rest. The matter was immediately resolved by shifting his accommodation. Also, every key member involved in the project process were kept in the loop after discovering that delays were being caused by lack of communication(the case of the inspector who went home without clearing the goods that had arrived as he was not informed) The solutions are successful insofar that they helped in attaining the primary objective i.e., completion of the repair of the column before the scheduled time. However, this objective could have been performed better if the management had been a little more culturally sensitive, as the case of the Muslim welders demonstrated that detection if too late will make it difficult to effect any changes.

The efforts to motivate, and improve communication among workers by providing morale boosters, increasing visits at night so that the workers do not feel lonely, encouraging participation in discussions across all classes and functions of workers etc, however, yielded rich dividends which would serve as a source of reference for future projects The major learning that we gained from the project was that in order to save time in a project every person involved in it either directly or indirectly should be made aware of the urgency and need of the primary objective. This is aptly shown when the new supervisor who joined the project was asked to begin the work immediately instead of beginning first thing next morning.

Also improving morale of the workers is important to improve their productivity as multiple instances throughout the project showcased this which includes, making visits during night shifts to works, putting names of well-performing workers in a board installed in front of the caravan in the project area, project supervisors allowing the artisans the freedom to complete the project without nagging them and the artisans in turn responding by staying back and finishing the work even during breaks. Another lesson to learn is that when a project is critical it requires one give it more importance than one’s personal comfort priorities, this is aptly displayed in the case when the supervisors decided to cancel their holidays in favor of completing the project. Another lesson is to never leave any person involved in the project out of the communication loop as evidenced when the inspector for procurement left for home without clearing the good as he was uninformed about their arrival.

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The Benfield Column Repair Project. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-benfield-column-repair-project/
“The Benfield Column Repair Project.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-benfield-column-repair-project/
The Benfield Column Repair Project. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-benfield-column-repair-project/> [Accessed 30 Jan. 2023].
The Benfield Column Repair Project [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2023 Jan 30]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-benfield-column-repair-project/
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