Winning Projects of 2013
Manage India features PMI India Best Project of the Year 2013 awardees conferred at the PMI India National Conference in the National Capital Region last September. These projects have demonstrated project management excellence by adopting both time-tested and innovative, technical and managerial methods to fight the odds and earn stakeholder satisfaction.
BY SAPNA GUPTA
The Mumbai High North Project
PMI India Best Project of the Year
(Budgeted Project Cost of more than Rs. 1000 crores)
Larsen & Toubro Limited
Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Limited, one of India’s largest engineering and construction companies, undertook the reconstruction of Mumbai High North (MHN) block, an oil and gas drilling facility on the Arabian Sea that was gutted in a devastating fire in 2005.
The MHN redevelopment plan included reinstatement of production facilities with a per day total well fluid handling capacity of 270,000 barrels of liquid, 6.9 million metric standard cubic meters of compressed gas, and a total oil pumping capacity of 50,000 barrels of oil. To accomplish the task, L&T built a living quarter platform, along with MHN processing platform, that is considered one of the largest and most sophisticated projects undertaken anywhere in the world. Other main features included two flare platforms to release waste or unusable gas during oil extraction, bridges to connect the platforms, and the supply of three process gas compression modules to increase the pressure of gas so as to reduce its volume for transportation through pipes. All these constituted a total of 80,000 metric tons of structures.
Mr. Rupchand Lohana, deputy general manager, Hydrocarbon Upstream Division, L&T, says, “During detailed engineering, we realized that an additional 45 percent area was needed to construct all the facilities leading to substantial increase in the weight of the process platform. As a result, the MHN complex layout turned out quite different from what it looked like at the time ONGC had awarded us the contract.” Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) operates these oil wells.
These large-scale changes demanded revision in engineering and design. L&T adopted integrated project schedules, identification of critical tasks, maintenance of master schedule showcasing planned vis-a-vis actuals, progress reports on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis, and management reviews to manage time well.
The engineering scope included building a float over deck but due to the heavy MHN platform and a complex network of subsea pipelines, it was not feasible. L&T decided to fabricate the platform in 10 modules, thus taking the work breakdown structure (WBS) to the micro level. Fabrication activities were carried out at different locations, so the structures could not be trial fitted. Some of the major challenges during various project phases were redefining scope, managing a large number of workmen and offshore logistics, timely vendor mobilization for commissioning, and on-time availability of hook-up materials. At the time of project execution, another big challenge was safe installation of the heavy modules without damaging the pipelines in the seabed and integrating them with the rest of the modules.
L&T’s adoption of innovative construction techniques, state-of-the-art infrastructure, mature project management processes, and the integration and synchronization of inter and intra personnel tasks led to this engineering feat. Procurement challenges were handled through material control charts. Cost management practices recorded commitments made to vendors, milestone approvals, and invoice management to ensure positive cash inflow. Timely risk identification helped build a competent mitigation plan through risk matrix that recorded new risks and tracked existing ones based on their severity and probability. Effective communication with all the stakeholders and the establishment of a communication matrix during all the stages of the project helped maintain coordination optimally.
The completed MHN platform with its enhanced fuel and gas handling and pumping capacity now generates revenues of Rs. 15 crore a day for ONGC, helping India in its effort to improve energy security.
An aerial view of the massive Mumbai High North complex. This project achieved several ‘firsts’ for Indian offshore such as the largest jacket, heaviest load out, heaviest offshore lift, largest offshore living quarters module, and largest process platform.
“We, at L&T, believe in continuous education. We have instituted the L&T Institute of Project Management that is affiliated with PMI. It conducts regular training programs, and management and certification courses. We are encouraging our employees to get certifications such as PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)®,” says Mr. Lohana.
Mechanization of The Cargo Quay – III (CQ3) Berth at Paradip Port
PMI India Best Project of the Year
(Budgeted Project Cost between Rs. 100 to 1000 crores)
Essar Projects (India) Limited
The Paradip Port in Orissa is the hub of iron ore production and export in the eastern part of the country. Essar Projects handled this prestigious project to enhance the iron ore pellet handling capacity at the port as well as connect the iron ore pellet plant to the port’s central quay.
Developing the new cargo berth inside the Paradip port was highly challenging because of the adjacent, operational railway line, coal stack piles, and busy city roads
The upgraded and mechanized cargo berth now has the longest iron ore belt conveying system in the country that extends to 9.5 km. It can carry 5,000 tons of iron ore pellets per hour. There are three conveyors, three junction houses, a berth (space allotted for ship manoeuvre), and a ship loader (a machine used to load bulk of materials like iron ore, coal, etc.). It was a highly challenging project because of a fixed timeframe of 33 months for project completion. To achieve the timelines, the project team divided the project into three zones where it carried on work simultaneously.
Essar Projects faced several challenges while connecting the pellet factory to the port’s cargo berth. The conveyor system had to cross existing structures like human settlements, an operational railway line, coal stacking areas, roads with heavy traffic, marshy land, and a creek. The conveyor system had to meet international quality and safety standards to avoid any mishaps during the project and operational phases. Space constraint for fabrication, transportation, and erection of steel structures was another challenge that compelled the company to carry out fabrication processes within the pellet plant. The fabricated structures were shifted to the installation site 8-10 km away at night to avoid cargo traffic and road congestion. The project team deployed dedicated staffs to coordinate with the traffic department to avoid interference with the rail and road movement inside and outside the port area.
Mr. Sunil Kapoor, project director, Essar Projects, says, “As the project in-charge, one of my major concerns was acquiring, developing, and managing skilled resources. The available vendors had little skill but would not allow outside vendors to come in. It was a tense situation that gave me sleepless nights.” Moreover, a government regulation that enabled multiple projects to start simultaneously at the same location led to the scarcity of skilled resources. “We had to deal with an unstable work environment, sometimes compelling the team to bow down to the unreasonable demands of the labour unions,” Mr. Kapoor recalls.
Effective project management practices and the strong engineering capabilities of the team helped the project overcome the numerous challenges and meet stakeholders’ expectation. The project management planning and control mechanisms adopted were weekly plans, work allotments, daily progress review, monthly progress reports to the senior management, and on-time client billing. The procurement tracker, vendor management tools, MIS reports, material inspection plans, material consumption reports, and inventory reports helped manage procurement.
Essar Projects followed the project management processes, tools, and techniques prescribed by PMI’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK ® Guide) to develop a detailed project plan that formed the basis for project executing strategies. Meticulous planning and monitoring kept the project progress on schedule in spite of the challenges. Mr. Kapoor adds, “A strong team effort and the will to complete the project on time was the key to the success of this project.”
Polyester Staple Fiber New Draw Machine Installation
PMI India Best Project of the Year
(Budgeted Project Cost less than Rs. 100 crores)
Reliance Industries Limited
Reliance, one of the largest producers of polyester staple fiber in the world, wanted to install a draw machine in its existing plant to cater to the increase in demand for fiber. Draw machines are spinning production line equipment suitable for all types of fiber variety and they have high output speed. The project was to be completed within 16 months.
The project plan indicated delivery of a German equipment crucial for the process design of the new machinery. However, vendor bid analysis revealed that the technology was expensive and had a high lead time. Hence, process design was taken up in-house and a Chinese vendor was shortlisted, whose technology was customized to meet Reliance’s product requirements. However, reliability and quality of the deliverables needed to be reinforced by the technical expertise team.
The project team celebrating the successful and before time installation of the new draw machine at the Reliance polyester fiber plant
Manufacturing followed a work breakdown structure (WBS) where individual modules were designed concurrently and all major equipment and piping were ordered according to priority matrix and the critical path. The total lead time of all major equipment in the critical path was 12 months but four of these equipment and related bulk material expected from China did not meet the Indian boiler regulations standards. These had then to be acquired from an Indian vendor. This entire process led to a delay of one and a half months.
The project team planned to make up for the delay by adjusting the schedules for the erection and testing phases. It arrived at this decision by using techniques such as Program Evaluation and Review Technique, Critical Path Method, Function Point Counting, and Top-Down Estimating. The erection of equipment, electrical systems, instrumentation, and piping were planned segment-wise immediately upon delivery.
Another major hurdle was to move the heavy equipment modules inside the enclosed building. The team used custom-made heavy duty forklifts instead of conventional cranes. Documentation was managed electronically via E-ROOM.
The project envisaged sustainable growth of the company’s business, process innovations and process integration, designing an L-shape machine layout as against the standard straight-line layout for space optimization, overhead conveyors to transport new machines for installation, and a pure line organization model for engineering, procurement, and construction management that enables competency building and use of minimal workforce resulting in cost optimization.
The project was completed in a little over 14 months as against the planned 16 months. The total cost was well within what was budgeted for.
Mr. S. Narayanan, manufacturing head – polyester, Reliance Industries, says, “Reliance has always excelled in executing grassroots projects. This was a unique project as it was conceived by an operating team in an innovative manner. There were a lot of challenges in terms of new processes and new equipment. The project had to be executed safely within an operating plant in a very short time. A key factor behind the success is a fully empowered team that took decisions fast and showed high dedication.”
The Kalyanpura Integrated Watershed Development Project
PMI India Best Project of the Year
Contribution to the Community category
Business conglomerate ITC is engaged in several developmental projects for agricultural communities across India. The Kalyanpura project in Bhilwara district in Rajasthan is ITC’s first public private partnership project initiated in March 2007. It is a unique watershed development project that brings together four players – the Rajasthan Government, a non-government organization (NGO), village communities, and ITC.
The livelihood of small farmers in these regions is jeopardized by inherently fragile agriculture conditions, topsoil erosion, and groundwater depletion. These farmers depend heavily on agriculture as there are limited off farm employment options and poverty is endemic. Climate change is worsening their conditions, especially in drought-prone areas, and that is going to impact ITC’s agri-business.
The prime objective of the integrated watershed development project was to enlarge agricultural production through soil conservation, increased biomass cover in wastelands, water resource development, and strengthening crop diversification. By helping farmers improve their farming conditions, ITC wanted to establish a stable supply chain of quality products critical to its competitiveness.
The fundamental challenges the project faced were the vicious cycle of declining productivity, falling incomes, and resultant debt and poverty faced by small farmers across India; poorly maintained buildings and structures; and conflict of interests between social classes and castes in these deeply divided rural societies.
ITC’s watershed development project has helped farmers improve their farming conditions through a stable supply chain of quality products critical to its competitiveness
For optimum utilization of resources, ITC adopted a participatory approach for all the partners, utilized its professional and managerial expertise, tied up with government employment schemes, and set up a multi-tiered coordination and monitoring system. It conducted special training sessions of village panchayat representatives who moved on to form a Village Institution (VI). Each VI was responsible for ensuring that the project objectives for that village were met, there was uniformity in accepting norms, and there was networking among members. VI members included farmers, panchayat members, women self-help group members, marginalized farmers, and landless villagers. ITC conducted awareness building exercises in each village through padyatras (road shows), puppet shows, street plays, and kalajathas (socio-cultural events) to participate in VI.
VIs were set up with a strong technical, financial, and managerial training and support from ITC. ITC helped VIs put together comprehensive documentation systems, a robust MIS, and quality and cost control systems as reusable assets. Social conflicts were largely resolved through adequate representation of the most disadvantaged in the VI. As an extension of the socio-economic development of the region, ITC also contributed towards social investment programs, afforestation, women’s empowerment, and education.
Through VIs, ITC promoted low cost and simple technology like soil and moisture conservation measures, drainage line treatment, water harvesting structures, and regeneration of common land and pastures, thereby increasing productivity for farmers in a relatively short time span. These were complemented by other productivity solutions like sprinkler sets, organic composting, and biogas systems. To diversify income streams, cattle development centers were established through partnerships between NGOs, ITC, and the village panchayats.
The Kalyanpura Watershed Development Project now supports 1,473 households with a population of 5,674 (according to the census of 2001). As a result of project activities, 77 major and minor water harvesting structures were built, net cropped area showed steady increase from 20-80 percent, irrigated area has increased by 80 percent, areas supporting double cropping has gone up by 89 percent, and productivity increased post project implementation has gone up by 20-25 percent. Household incomes have risen, with over 18 percent of households earning more than Rs. 5,000 per month.
There has been considerable improvement in husbandry activities – nearly 70 percent of farmers have increased their livestock numbers, about three quarters faced no major fodder shortage and about 83 percent faced no major water shortage.
Extending Solar Lighting in Selected Indian States
PMI India Best Project of the Year
The Energy Research Institute (TERI)
According to the 2011 census, 32 percent of Indian households lack access to electricity and still use kerosene and paraffin lamps. These economically backward districts are deprived of safe lighting after dusk, making basic activities like doing household chores, schoolwork, and business difficult.
TERI stepped up with Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL) campaign to provide energy-starved villages with solar lighting solutions under the Power Finance Corporation’s (PFC) corporate social responsibility initiative. The implementation of solar charging stations (SCS) extended clean and reliable lighting sources across 26 districts in 11 states.
TERI’s solar lanterns have lit up the lives of under-privileged sections of the society who were earlier devoid of this basic facility. The instrument has impacted more than a lakh lives for their betterment
Leveraging community contribution, co-financing from entrepreneurs, and subsidy from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy further helped to extend the project to set up around 500 SCSs in as many villages. It has so far impacted almost 100,000 lives. LaBL has also partnered with government agencies such as district administration, integrated tribal development agencies, and NGOs to reach out to remote locations.
TERI worked out the scope of the project, along with its LaBL partners, to identify the village. Thereafter, a local entrepreneur is selected and trained by TERI and the NGO to operate and manage the solar charging stations. TERI processes orders for approved LaBL solar lanterns from its technology partners. Materials are then transported and installed as per TERI guidelines. The trained LaBL entrepreneur charges the solar lanterns and rents them to villagers at a nominal daily rate. Technology partners through the resource centers provide after sales service.
The project saw various entrepreneurial trainings and workshops that assisted in the successful installation and commissioning of SCSs. The success of the project lies in implementing it through partnerships at various levels and with the involvement of all key stakeholders. Considering the achievements of this initiative, PFC has now partnered with TERI to enhance the infrastructure facilities to provide clean and reliable power in rural schools across backward districts in the country.