Fearing for the future of Empire Chemicals after his retirement, the company's owner sets in motion a plan to start an ammonia factory on the distant Planet Cheap.
'Can his plan succeed or will it be derailed by Mule-ish management behavoir at head office or on planet Cheap? If you have ever watched Star Wars and wondered how a vast project like the Death Star could be built with both a plainly obvious design flaw and be operational three months ahead of schedule, then this officer, is the droid or series you have been looking for ' (Garry P Dalrymple, Editor TBS&E and The Green Basenjis Guide to Science Fiction in Sydney)
Ron Ward has skillfully blended suspense, engineering, leadership, interpersonal skills with a captivating view of the future... a must read for a person entering the engineering profession (George Anastas, PE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA).
An engaging amalgam of technical exercises and personal machinations between upper management, middle management, workers and unions with universal and timeless relevance (Kate Smith, B. Soc. Sci Latrobe; Dip. Ed. Admin).
The ammonia factory is established at Muddy Bay on Planet Cheap.
[Reviews sourced from Sid Harta Book Publishers website]
'Continues the adventure… Which began as getting a project approved And then building an ammonia-based fertilizer factory.
'There's keeping the Head Office satisfied And controlling a group of smart people at several levels Plus covering what government regulations require Then getting the factory built is not the end of the job After that there's commissioning, making it work And all the odds and ends of left-over details to be completed Including making the contractor finishes what he's paid to do And then there's company accounts to be signed off After all that we hope we have a reasonably happy “working family” Because people are an essential part of running a business So although this is about engineering and management It's a story about people.' (Publication summary)
'So the Ammonia Factory at Muddy River Bay is now operating. Of course, now the hard slog of building it, and the excitement of commissioning it, are over, everyone expects life will be quieter. But there's always something to bother a manager such as getting sales up to match minimum production, and the behaviour of the people close to the manager, and the enterprising nature of junior engineers, and what comes from the organisation levels above him, all causing a mix of good results and headaches.
And that's some of what being a manager is all about. Yes, that's some of it, but the work around a manager causes other events to occur, so there's no end to what circumstances can throw up' (publication blurb).
'A Shutdown in Ammonia continues the adventure… The best laid plans of mice and men, and indeed of engineers and managers, do often go askew, thus, as the story of the Muddy River Bay Ammonia Factory continues we find the engineer wants to concentrate on preparing for the total shutdown for their first all-over, complete, maintenance overhaul and inspection, and he throws the planning job to his junior engineers. But his manager needs to have work done which will increase sales, hence revenue and take them closer to profitability, so the juniors have to be shifted to that urgent work. And the manager’s life is troubled by absence of two important staff, can he expect the Production Manager and the Marketing manager will return? The unions are also contributing a share of concerns, fussing about safety with a large temporary workforce coming in for the shutdown. Directors continue in their merry way, enjoying morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. The Marketing Director has a bright idea and promotes it, some of his associates like it, one doesn’t. Who will win this contest? Will there be any progress towards the Chief’s aim of getting new blood into Head Office?' (publication blurb).
'Setting up the factory at Muddy River Bay was exciting for the project team. But as time passes the excitement fades, and now, some five years later, the factory management team's job has stabilised, days follow days, and weeks and months follow further, production continues successfully, and they are getting bored by their steady, busy, but less demanding, life. Life has become boring, so there's conflict between individuals, despite which they still work together quite well.
'At Head Office, the Executive Directors still resent being forced to approve the factory, and continue their disliking the ex-Homeworld migrants, and others, who manage it. They have been directors for so long they are also bored and there's conflict between them, both resulting from their resistant to change. Their position perks compensate for all that, and they allow the company to run on undisturbed. The CEO, their boss, is still trying to make changes.
'Both groups, in different ways, have been subconsciously wishing for something new to happen. Something to relieve the boredom. But they should all remember, one must be careful when wishing for something, because sometimes one gets what agrees with the wish but isn't what was really wanted.
'What are the chances, with all that going on, that the Chief Executive's objective, developing new managers in that isolated factory, be achieved?'
Source: Publisher's blurb.