What do you do when you run out of engineering horsepower?

Mack Powers | April 23, 2021

How Integrao supports clients by providing engineering resources for projects and challenges.

Interview Transcript:

Mack Powers (00:01):
So you might have a project where you know what you want, but you don’t know what you need, or maybe you know both of them, but you just don’t have the engineering horsepower to get the work done. Listen to Tom Whiteley today, as he talks about a project that he’s working on where he and his team were just providing that additional horsepower.

Mack Powers (00:22):
Hey, let me ask you a question. So you and I have talked about the difference between, or sometimes when you walk in with a client and they know what they want, but they don’t know what they need. Was this one of those cases, or did they really know what they needed? Or did you guide them through, “Hey, this is what you say you want, but now let’s figure out what that really means”?

Tom Whiteley (00:42):
Yeah. This one was more, they knew what they needed, but they literally just don’t have the time. So we also come in sometimes and they know what they need and what they want.

Mack Powers (00:59):

Tom Whiteley (00:59):
They just don’t have enough engineers.

Mack Powers (01:04):

Tom Whiteley (01:04):
So we’ll literally just supply extra horsepower to a customer to get it done. But we’ll have a customer say they have a contamination issue, which is a worst case of our customers. They’re usually in a panic or in a bind, and they’ll come in and they’ve got contamination. And whatever they’re doing is obviously not working, and generally, they want to fix it now. It’s either causing product loss or extra processing to keep the product moving. And so we’ll come in and evaluate where that contamination is.

Tom Whiteley (01:44):
And then the first step is usually remediation of that, which involves an extra deep cleaning, things like that that will get you processing again. And then, also, at the same time, we need to go back and look at remediation of the process itself and possibly equipment modifications, addition to the equipment. Additional equipment sometimes is needed, changing the configurations, just in order to prevent the contamination from coming back in. So we can’t just come in, clean it, and then go away because you’re going to have the same problem six months, 12 months down the road again.

Mack Powers (02:32):
Yeah. So your first step, really, with most clients is just solving existing problems that are acute. They’ve got an issue right now. They need someone to fix it. And then the second step would be, okay, we’re going to fix this first. And then from there, we’re going to look at what do we do-

Tom Whiteley (02:48):
So that’s an acute project. And then the other side of that coin is the complete opposite, where, like this [inaudible 00:03:00] project we’re working on right now. It’s a three-year. It’s dragged on for forever, but it’s a very slow, and we’re just coming in and assisting with the redesign and reconfiguration of an existing system that’s functional, but not as efficient as it could be. And so we’re helping them redesign the process. It’s a [inaudible 00:03:28] system, so you don’t see CIP it. You sanitize it, but rebalance the loop, the distribution loop, so that it functions better and services all the individual clients on the system better and just is in generally better control.