Specific Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions about specific industries, projects or hypothetical problems

As we obtain more questions they will be posted with the answers, so check back to see the response to yours.

Q. What is your largest industrial market?

A. Check the bottom of the home page for the various industries where our experience can be brought to bear. The more frequent orders have been from companies doing metals manufacturing (stamping, welding, bending, assembling processes and the like), chemical manufacturing, and companies with environmental problems.

Q. What kinds of problems have you handled?

A. Of course, the “10 Areas” page shows the entire range of expertise we currently offer. The problems we like to handle are the ones no one else can seem to solve like cross-functional ones that require individuals with broad-based experience to solve. For example, an equipment manufacturer making products using everything from welded assemblies to mechanical and machined parts, and electrical and plumbing parts was thinking about selling the business in a few years and wanted to maximize the return with as low an investment as possible. We reviewed work processes in manufacturing, quality, engineering, and accounting. We determined that some workflow modifications (moving of work stations with no significant capital expense), and installing a network of PCs with business accounting software (small expense plus the expense of training personnel) would allow the company to increase productivity (after six months) and provide an over 50% increase in business valuation in one year, and over 100% after two years. Following this implementation, these estimated results were substantially exceeded. The owner decided to keep the company for a few more years since he now could work less and generate more profit, thus enhancing his quality of life.

Q. What else?

A. At a detailed level, a company was working on a Title V (Air Pollution Control) Permit and wanted to attempt to calculate the air emissions based on existing process data. We provided a detailed material balance showing all inputs and outputs, and a spreadsheet that they could manipulate if any of the streams changed. With our experience, we focused special attention on potential process losses, highlighting the need for additional information in this area. By providing a highly custom calculation, yet easy to use, the client was able to quantify those process losses with a potential to save over $400,000 per year (in lost product, maintenance, and disposal costs) in one plant if only 50% of those losses were recovered. The spreadsheet has now been used at additional plants and has been modified by the client to adapt to any differences between the actual plants’ configuration. This allows the client to fully understand and trust the calculations (we taught them “how to fish”), and also allowed them to perform a sensitivity analysis to determine the impact that a process upset or losses may have on air emissions that a process upset or losses may have.

Q. Why did you give the client that software?

A. It is our policy to provide services that no one else can as effectively. Once the problem was solved, the client is taught how to handle it, and we are no longer needed. Each client that has a similar request (and we have had a few), gains our knowledge of how those problems get solved, but their answer is customized to their situation. At the same time, it was a large spreadsheet, to be sure, but it was simply a spreadsheet, not a complex program. It could easily be reverse engineered if someone so desired. Plus we feel it is not in our clients best interests to continue to do the calculations for them. They need to understand their own plant. And there is no more challenge in that problem – We solved it! So now others can do this work more cost effectively than us. If the client wants us to revise the program for the other plants, we would be happy to quote a fixed price to do that, and then it would up to them to decide if they wanted to proceed with us.