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The Dow Chemical Company Message Board

  • getme122001 getme122001 Mar 10, 2004 8:33 PM Flag

    micro management (aka ucc)

    So soon there will be a company communique about the plan to drastically reduce the number of company cell phones. There will be a committee that will review all so called business critical requests for having a cell phone. The company is expecting to reduce the number of cell phones from 12,000 tp 4,000.

    So now, not only if you need a print but also a cell phone, you must get VP permission.

    Reminds me of the last days of UCC before the acquisition.

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    • Cutting out cell phones has already started, I have seen were sites are tracking cell phone costs and landbased phone costs and placing it on a spreadsheet for all to see.

      Go figure, Dow's low cost "Cingular" contact is sorry anyway. We cannot get a signal most of the time and when we are lucky we get a alpha signal,,,,maybe a digital. Then we were required to have them on in the event of an emergency...but you still could not have them on out in the production area.

      The true sign that the end is near is when staff starts hounding you about making sure you get the plants lights shutoff as soon as you can see at sun up. Back a few years ago we had a shutdown going on and they wanted us to turn all the lights off at night in the unit to save on energy.
      Now it is, Do you know it costs $70.00 per hour in steam to run your columns? if you shutdown for more than a day, shut the colunms down too, even thou it takes about a good day to get them up and lined out.

      • 2 Replies to firemik1
      • Hi firemik,

        Had a laugh at your frustration regarding shutting down columns to save energy. Around 1960, as a young process engineer, I was assigned to Texas to help design a VCM plant for Sarnia. In Plant A, I worked for an equally young plant engineer, named Gene Rozas, who helped me design a 'Sniff Column' for our process. The sniff column was designed to catch any trace HCL that sneeked by the HCL finishing tower and passed on to the VCM finishing tower. If everything worked fine in the HCL tower, all you had to do to the sniff tower was keep it warm and ready to capture some HCL. So, it was just a buldge in the line and for many years all it did was consume a few btus to keep it warm, just in case.

        25 years later, we were in an energy crunch and into computer control. It was decided that with computer control the sniff column was not needed and so it was shut-down to save peanuts in energy. As Murphey would have it, a short time later the HCL tower dropped its drawers and HCL crapped all over the country. Dow was fined $5,000. A year later, the same thing. Dow was fined again, this time $50,000 and we were warned we were heading into big-stakes country.

        Enter Gene Rozas as Sarnia Division Site Manager. To greet Gene on about his third day at Sarnia was our third major HCL spill in the VCM plant. This one was a dandy. We had PSVs blowing HCL out the top all the way to Port Huron. We had VCM blowing out the bottoms PSVs right past furnaces with no igition ... thank you GOD. Rozas called a meeting in my office, since my office was bigger than his and it had a nice big 'white board'. All operators and plant engineers were called in. The Plant Mgr was asked to draw the PFD on my board. He did so with NO SNIFF COLUMN. Rozas looked at me and smiled. "WRONG", he said. "Where is the GD Sniff Column?" I said, "Gene, the column was taken off line to save energy a couple years ago." Rozas blew his stack and ultimately replaced the Plant Mgr. Cost to Dow? $500,000. As the MOE said ... we were in the big leagues now. Savings? ... peanuts in btus. Costs? ... big time in fines ... sigh ...

        BTW, it took my group one year to simulate the spill for the lawyers and all this did was confirm that "Yep, we surley did crap all over ourselves." This incident is now a Case Study in Process Control. Automation anyone?


      • You know it's time to leave when they ask you to use both sides of the toilet paper.

    • Boy that will add to the bottom line. Just think, those of us that help keep plants running, by being on call will take longer to respond. Typical, "save a dime spend ten bucks". The cost of flare time and lost production for an Olefins can't be more that the cost of a cell phone? When it's all said and done, I will bet that there won't be many mgmt phones that go. Typical decline of the Roman Empire stuff

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