I have been way to busy to blog lately but as my phase of the project is getting a little less crazy, I think I should really start getting back into it.

For those of you who were wondering what the hell I do that keeps me so busy, I am a project engineer. Although I am a mechanical engineer, on a project like mine, you need to be a bit of a ‘Jack of all trades’. Luckily for me, my role in this project is to manage the design of the plant we’re building and procure (buy) all the mechanical equipment we need for the plant to operate. When I say ‘manage the design’ I mean from the Client’s side. We have contracted an Engineering Consultancy to do the plant and detailed design – I am the client interface. They put together the specifications of the equipment we need, and I am responsible for buying it.

Ok, that sounds a bit lame and boring – and you may think its a kinda lame job just buying the equipment, so let me give you a bit more info on what it is I actually do.

So there are a bunch of companies that supply each of the equipment we need, and all of them want to get the job. Its sometimes straightforward, but mostly is a long and harrowing process of adjudication to ensure we’re getting the best value for money. (Yes – I am the “Little Miss Money-Bags” of the project, responsible for getting the best possible deal. 😉 ). Adjudication involves looking at not only the price, but making sure the company is technically competent, financially secure and can get us what we want in the right timeframe. Several other factors also influence our decision.

After we’ve selected the company, I hold a kick-off meeting with the supplier and the design engineers to make sure ther is no confusion about the scope of work to be done. We discuss technical. commercial, quality and schedule requirements. Most of the time, this process goes smoothly, but there are some cases where we just cant agree to the terms of the contract – and this is where we need to refer the contract to legals to fight it out. (Urgh!)

After kick-off, our 3rd party quality inspectors ensure that progress is going smootly. We inspect the items being fabricated at specified hold-points and have progress meeting if necessary. If all goes well, all you need to do from there is wait for your delivery!

Ok, this still sounds hopelessly boring, but trust me its not. Getting to deal with a whole bunch of leading suppliers in your industry, learing about the nitty-gritty’s of the design work that goes into making these items and getting stuck into contract management (a new field to me) is actually reall great and very useful to my career…

Sadly, it doesn’t make for the most exciting blog posts…

So let me end off this one with this cute and completly irrelevant picture: