ADAK Island Project
Logistics Plans For Projects In Faraway Lands
by Bruce Taylor
Your vision of white sandy beaches, crystal clear warm seas and tequila sunrises
by the pool is shattered when you discover that the Company has actually been
awarded a three-year contract to shut down, demolish and leave environmentally
pristine an installation on the Aleutian Islands, between mainland Alaska and
Siberia! A project in Nowheresville, and you have been assigned as Project Manager.
As the location is so remote you know that there is no local supplier and that every
person and everything, including the beer, needs to be transported to and from the
site. How can you handle such a Herculean task?
Your project takes place in a remote corner of the globe. It requires staging
and planning for personnel and equipment not only by date of use, but by weight
and transport time. Getting your resources there is only half the problem as you
also have to get them back to the mainland for off-site time. This job requires
scheduling of equipment transfer, human transport, utilities and much more. A
project of this magnitude and level of remoteness must take into account the
- All of the assigned personnel, as well as their food and sundries,
will be flown in and out by commercial or charter aircraft.
- Personnel can only remain on site for a maximum of 60 days.
- Tasks that exceed 60 calendar days require a new crew to be
rotated in whenever that maximum time period is reached.
- Heavy equipment must be moved to and from the site by barge.
- Diesel fuel and MoGas must be provided for the heavy equipment,
generators and on-site heating.
- Voice phone and fax lines have to be provided for each
The next part of your planning process is to brief senior managers
on the plan to satisfy this logistic nightmare. You know that all the
requisite data is in the Microsoft Project® file, but you need a simple
method of extracting it to enable you to forecast the logistic requirements
and create a smooth, economic and efficient logistic plan. The areas you
need to cover include transportation, power, fuel and communications.
This problem could be solved by adding many additional tasks to the
project schedule, but that would greatly increase the schedule's
complexity and the required maintenance. A better solution is to use
the power of VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) to create an
interim project and then use Project Partner® to create the charts.
You want to show the numbers of personnel arriving and departing,
and the weight of the provisions required for the on-site personnel on
a week-to-week basis. You determine that a histogram is the best style of
chart to do this. You want to display information in three different ways:
- A chart to show the movement of personnel for the entire duration of the project.
- A 60-day look-ahead chart that should be generated each month during the project.
- Additional charts that can be that can display daily or monthly totals.
Monitoring the airline transportation needs of the project meant
establishing the arrivals, departures and shift changes called for in
the project schedule. Bluewater used VBA (Visual
Basic for Applications) to extrapolate the personnel requirements
associated with the project's task schedule. Bluewater
first created the VBA code necessary to filter the project to show
only those tasks to which human resources were assigned, and then
to sort the filtered tasks by their start date. Bluewater's
code then looped through each task exposed by the filter and calculated the
total number of people arriving on each day of the project. Filtering
each task by the finish date allowed the VBA code to calculate
the total number of people departing on each day of the project.
Then, the VBA code cycled through, finding each task in excess
of 60 calendar days to determine the total number of people rotating
in and out each 60 days. Once each calculation was completed, a
new project (i.e. AIR.mpp) was created and its tasks were represented
by the airline transportation runs required to provide the necessary
personnel for each phase of the project. Each day personnel would
arrive, a milestone was created and the total number of people
arriving on that day was placed in a custom number field. Then,
a milestone was created for each departure date during the project,
while the number of departing personnel was placed in another
custom number field. In the end, Bluewater's
code had created a personnel transport project that could be imported
into Bluewater's Project Partner® to produce
the necessary histograms and other charts. This provided URS with
the reports necessary to schedule and charter all of the planes
needed to put personnel where they needed them, when they
You appreciate that heavy equipment must be on-site when the operators arrive
to use it, and that barge runs are required to get them there. The constraints include:
- Barges run in four-week cycles, taking approximately two weeks travel to
the site and two weeks to return to port.
- The dimensions of the barge and each piece of heavy equipment are known.
Again, the best solution was to create an interim project and then to
use Project Partner® to create the charts.
Bluewater's code for the barge schedules filtered
the project to show only those activities where heavy equipment was
assigned. Then, the code sorted these filtered tasks by the start date,
read each filtered task, and calculated the total number of square feet
required for each barge run. The VBA code then created a new project file,
Barge.mpp, and created a milestone for each barge cycle within the project,
using the "leaving port" date as the start date for the activity. The task
name for each milestone was then changed to read as "Barge leaving on
[DATE] with [number of square feet] of heavy equipment, [% percentage]
capacity." These percentages were calculated as (area required /
total area of barge). This project then became the data source for
any barge scheduling reports by import into Project Partner®.
These reports allowed URS to accurately plan and execute heavy equipment
transportation from the mainland to the island on time and within budget.
You know that each on-site subcontractor will require a different
number of voice and/or fax telephone lines. Once you have received
the subcontractors' requirements, you want to create a histogram
chart to display the total number of phone lines required for each week.
Once again, Bluewater chose to simplify the solution
using VBA. Their code, this time, filtered project tasks to show only
those to which a subcontractor was assigned. Then, a new project was
created, Phone.mpp, and tasks were created for each subcontractor with
the corresponding start and finish dates. The results of the calculation
(TaskWeeks * TotalPhoneLines) were placed in the "Work" field of each
new task. TaskWeeks represented the number of weeks in that specific
task, and TotalPhoneLines represented the total number of phone
lines (voice and data) required by that subcontractor. The
data from this project was then imported into Project Partner®
where reports on phone line needs could be evaluated and scheduled. This
information allowed URS to use phone lines efficiently, minimizing the
cost and lag time of installing new lines.
With such an influx of people and equipment into such a remote area,
you need to ensure that the power available is sufficient to cope with
demand. You therefore decide to create a histogram chart showing the
estimated power requirements by week for the entire site. This includes
the site's base load, the average power usage per day for each of the
on-site personnel, and any special power requirements of the subcontractors.
The special power requirements will be considered as a resource
for each project task. Again, you want to show three different
aspects of this requirement:
- One chart should be created showing electricity needs over the
entire duration of the project.
- A 60 days look-ahead chart should be generated each month
during the project.
- Additional charts must be created to display daily and/or
Bluewater proposed once again to use VBA to
analyze power needs. This code filtered the project to show only those
activities to which human resources and "ELECTRICITY" were assigned,
and sorted these activities by their start dates.
Bluewater then created a new project,
Power.mpp, populated with tasks representing daily power needs
throughout the project's duration. The first activity created
had the same start and finish dates as the construction project.
Its "Work" field was set to the results of the calculation
(ElapsedDays * BaseKWPerDay). In this formula, ElapsedDays
represented the number of calendar days in the overall project,
and BaseKWPerDay represented the average kilowatt-hours per day
of the site's base load (given). Each task provided by the filter
was given corresponding start and finish dates to those in the
base project, while the "work" field was modified to represent
the results of the calculation (ElapsedDays *PeopleOnTask *
ManKWPerDay + SpecialKW). In this formula, ElapsedDays represented
the number of calendar days in the task, PeopleOnTask was the
number of human resources assigned to the task, ManKWPerDay was
the average kilowatt hours per day used by each person (given)
and SpecialKW represented the number of kilowatt hours assigned
to the activity as a resource. The resulting project was
then imported into Project Partner® for analysis and
report printing. This solution allowed URS to accurately estimate
their power costs throughout the project and to plan accordingly.
Requirement 5: Monitoring Fuel Requirements
As with power, you need to know the estimated fuel required by week
for the entire site. This must include the site's base steam heating
load and the fuel needed for the heavy equipment assigned to each
task. As before, you want:
- One chart to show the fuel requirement for the entire
duration of the project.
- A 60-day look-ahead chart that should be generated each
month during the project.
- Additional charts that can display daily and/or monthly totals.
Solution to Requirement 5: Fuel.mpp
Bluewater's solution was very similar to that chosen
for Requirement 4, and once again we used Project VBA. In this case, our
macro filtered the project to show only tasks to which heavy equipment
was assigned and sorted the filtered tasks by start date. Once the
appropriate activities were identified, we built a new project schedule,
FUEL.mpp, and populated it with tasks associated with the filtered tasks
from our original project. The first activity was given the same start
and finish dates as the original project, and the "work" field contained
the results of the calculation (ElapsedDays * BaseFuelPerDay). ElapsedDays
represented the number of calendar days in the project, and BaseFuelPerDay
was the average fuel in gallons required each day for the site's base steam
heat load (given). The remainder of the activities in Fuel.mpp corresponded
to the filtered activities of the original project. For each of these
tasks, the macro created a task in FUEL.mpp with corresponding start and
finish dates. The "Work" field of each task included the total fuel in
gallons used in each task based on the calculation (TaskDurationInDays *
FuelInGallons) for each piece of equipment used in that activity. This
project was then imported into Project Partner® for reporting,
and URS was again enabled to effectively plan for their fuel requirements.
Created by Bluewater Project Management Services, LLC.
Please feel free to contact us for additional information on any of
these projects via any of the following means:
URS Corporation provides the industry's finest planners,
engineers, architects, scientists, and program and construction managers
as a valued resource for federal, state, and local agencies as well as
private clients in 30 countries.
The URS Corporation was awarded the contract to shut
down, demolish, and leave environmentally pristine an installation on
the Aleutian Islands, requiring the transport of equipment and personnel
from the mainland to the site on a regular basis. URS called upon Bluewater
to provide an automated tracking system for personnel, fuel, power and
Microsoft Project®--Provided the scheduling engine and the
foundation for automation provided with Project VBA.
Bluewater Project Partner®--Bluewater's
project reporting application that provides histograms, charting and Earned Value analysis.