During the years, what kind of changes have you seen in resource planning and overall project management?
“Cost-efficiency has become one of the key drivers in project management. Internal sources are complemented with external ones. Earlier, site and project organization were heavier, and most of the engineering was done with our own resources only. Now, external experts are used in many project roles, which allows a more flexible use of the expert network and better control of costs. What is important, though, is that in the project organization we always have our own Metso Outotec experts, who have a good understanding of the whole process and technology, and who have run several projects. Putting together an efficient project organization using network resourcing is a new skill that the organization and the project leads need to have.”
“When we look at the different types of projects, the brownfield ones are usually more demanding from the technical point of view. Experience really matters in these projects. When we put together a project team, especially at the plant site, we look for multi-skilled people who have previous project experience and can manage several engineering disciplines. To complement, we can consult our global resources with, for example, a remote connection when needed.”
“During the recent years, project management tools and solutions have improved significantly, and there are more of them. Project managers are busier with internal reports, but also with customer reporting. Thanks to the new tools, e.g. cost management has become more transparent and efficient.”
“At Metso Outotec, we work with demanding equipment and process projects continuously. Thanks to the vast process and project expertise accumulated during the years we know how plants and systems should be engineered, operated, and commissioned. We also know how to fix should there be any unexpected challenges on the way. This differentiates us from any consultancy.”
Has the role of automation and AI impacted project work?
Even though the role of AI and automation is continuously increasing, it still is a bit of a cultural thing, depending on the country and the company. The two important reasons for their increased role are to enhance process and cost efficiency. Safety is also an important matter. More and more often, the control rooms are located out of the site. For example, the control rooms of the north Chilean mines are often located in Santiago, more than 1000 km away. However, solvent extraction and electrowinning plants are seldomly fully automated, and there need to be people who can guide the process in operation as conditions and variations are so many.”
“When the automation level increases, also the pre-commissioning becomes more demanding and time-consuming. Everything needs to be carefully tested and documented. In the times of a pandemic, remote installation and commissioning of equipment can be done successfully with on-site support. However, a more complicated process always needs experienced people on site.”