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Projects play a pivotal role in ensuring that organizations succeed and survive through different competitive forces. Project management entails careful planning and organization of resources in order to avoid delays and financial overruns (Hyvari 34).
Despite the efficiency of the project management team, there are external factors that may hinder the successful completion of any given project. Over the last seven weeks, I have been working on a project that seeks to test the level of tolerance to extreme heat and coldness for two sets of switches.
The tests require us to expose one set of switches to extreme heat and the other to extreme coldness for 14hrs daily. However, over the past four weeks, there have been two incidences of abrupt power outages.
Statement of the Problem
These power interruptions mean that for two days, the switches were subjected to substandard testing. The project completion date is set at the end of the fifteenth week. Delays past this due date will attract a penalty of $1,000 on a daily basis past the set completion date.
Considering that the project is already two days behind schedule, there is need to come up with an alternative power supply so as to avoid further penalties and substandard testing. This proposal will set out to explore the available alternatives, their applicability to the project and the cost benefit analysis of the preferred choice.
Alternative Power Supply
Currently, sources of alternative power supplies range from solar, hydro, generator and wind energy. All these sources could provide adequate power needed to complete the project. However, the cost and infrastructure needed to implement such power sources differ significantly.
For example, solar panels may be used to power the oven and freezer. However, the panels needed to generate the expected power output are many and require a large area which is not readily available at the moment. The wind and hydro turbines may also suffice in dealing with the issue.
Similarly, these sources require significant resources to implement. Despite the fact that the three aforementioned alternative power sources will be cost effective in the long-run, they require a considerable amount of time to install and monitor.
Proposed Alternative Power Source: A Cost-Benefit Analysis
After doing in-depth research, automated diesel generators are the best alternative to use during the remaining period of the project.
A comparative analysis was conducted to determine the cost (rental and retail), serviceability and power output. The comparison was conducted between generators from Caterpillar (CAT) and Centurion (Generac Power Systems) manufacturing companies.
While caterpillar boasts for being among the best producers of automated generators, there prices were quite steep in regard to rentals and full purchases. As a result, it was proposed that we procure a Centurion generator from Generac Power Systems manufacturing company since their products are cheaper and equally as efficient.
It was also suggested that we hire a night technician who would monitor the tests and ensure power stability. However, the issue is not technical and as a result, a technician will not be able to prevent power outages. In the event of another power outage, such a technician will not be part of the solution.
The project will experience further delays thus causing dissatisfaction to the client and increasing penalty costs to the contractor. The only viable solution is the procurement of a generator. One generator will efficiently provide the power needed to support the oven and the freezer.
In addition, having the generator on site will ensure that in the event electricity is interrupted, the installed backup power source kicks in immediately. This will ensure that no time is wasted in finding alternatives, and most important of all, the project runs according to schedule.
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Applicability of the Proposed Generator to the Project
According to my sources, Centurion generator outputs 7000 Watts (LP) and 6000 Watts (NG). It is a standby generator equipped with an Automatic Transfer Switch (Lowe’s 1). The generator is easy to service and offers an alternative source of fuel (can use either LP or NG).
In addition, the generator is equipped with voltage sensors that detect power fluctuations and automatically switch on or of within seconds of power interruptions.
This generator was chosen because it is cheap ($ 1,700) and can effectively handle the power requirements for the project. Renting was suggested but dismissed due to the irregular pattern of power outages. It was proposed that a new generator be bought and installed on a permanent basis so as to cater for future power needs.
If accepted, this proposal will ensure that power outages no longer pose a threat to the completion of any project initiated by the client. As such, it will not only solve the current problem, but also similar issues in the future.
While there are cheaper alternative power sources as explained above, there are many external factors that may deem them ineffective. As a result, the use of an automated generator is the only feasible and consistent solution towards the facilitation of successful project completion.
Hyvari, Ian. “Success of Projects in Different Organizational Conditions.” Project Management Journal 37.4 (2006): 31 – 41. Print.
Lowe’s. Centurion by Generac Power Systems 7000 Watts (LP)/6000 Watts (NG) Standby Generator with Automatic Transfer Switch. March, 2012. Web.