Interstates Preplanning: Winning with Time Management


Working on a Tight Schedule

When Interstates was awarded the project at Novozymes in Blair, NE, it was already 22 days behind schedule. Starting off so far behind is never optimal. Yet, with some extra help from its preplanning department and an emphasis on time management, the Interstates team managed to meet the original deadline and secure the award of the second phase of the project.

Novozymes, a Danish company with North American headquarters in Franklinton, NC, specializes in industrial enzymes and microorganisms. At the facility in Blair where it makes enzymes for ethanol, Novozymes hired Interstates to install new fermenters, concentrate tanks, and a harvest tank. The entire project would be split over three phases. According to Joel Cook, Project Leader at Interstates, “To get the new fermenters online, we had to bring in new 4160v VFDs and a lot of gear. We also had a considerable amount of instrumentation to do at this site.”

Preplanning to the Rescue

Complicating matters, two cooling tower fans and a cooling tower pump motor were added to the scope while the project was underway. In order to meet the already tight deadline while adding on more work, Interstates tapped its preplanning department for aid. With approximately 1,000 feet of wire to pull for the cooling tower pump and three sets of 500 tray cable, it was critical to find the best way forward.

“It was not just a straight pull. There were plenty of bends and turns in it,” says Cook. “Our preplanners came out and helped us find the best way to do it. They told us where to put our feeders, found the right place to put the tuggers. They showed us the best way to start, and where to end. With their help, we ended up only needing five guys for what could have been a significantly more difficult pull. It was a really big win for us,” he says. With the help from Interstates preplanning, what would have typically taken over a week was accomplished in just three days.

Making it Work

Despite time saved through smarter processes, it was still challenging. Making up lost days and getting back to the original schedule was difficult. “We had to man up to make it work,” says Cook, explaining that, at one point, Interstates had 24 people on site and everyone was working 10-hour days, six days a week. Delays in some materials being delivered were also an issue, but Cook and his team were able to plan ahead on other elements (like using prespooled wire) to get back on track. “Basically, a lot of preplanning is what got us to our end date on time,” says Cook.

Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated team and some thoughtful planning, the 22 lost days were regained. Novozymes awarded the second phase to Interstates based on this success, and that portion of the project is currently underway.