When I was asked to work on the Cuming Corporation project, there was already a significant time constraint in place. Cuming Corporation is a manufacturer of syntactic foam flotation and insulation equipment for the offshore oil and gas industries. They came to us to upgrade their system from its current batch operation to a more efficient and cost effective continuous process.
We started on the project in January; the client needed to have the new processes operational by July. Although time constraints are a typical part of any SPEC project, these were unique since the client had already sold products it had yet to produce and would lose the contracts if they were not delivered on-time.
We tailored our approach in three ways to meet the client’s timeline. One, we had a head-start, since our design “standards” saved us time in developing the required process and instrumentation drawings. Two, we had experience with similar manufacturing processes, which allowed us to size their equipment very quickly and to identify the long-lead items that would impact the schedule (in this case, large, mix vessels). And three, we perform projects on a design-build basis, allowing us to build the schedule around the client's requirements and the delivery times of the equipment, while managing the design around these milestones.
A preliminary budget for the project was developed within 3 weeks of the project kick-off, allowing the client to quickly determine if they wanted to proceed. Pricing for the long-lead process vessels was obtained concurrently, allowing us to order the vessels immediately upon project approval. SPEC’s method saved Cuming many weeks, in comparison to a typical design/bid/build process, allowing the client to meet their ambitious deadline. Final installation of the system was completed, on schedule, in June 2008.