All done, right?! The new equipment is here, the old equipment is gone and everyone is happy with how everything is running.  No more break downs and it’s running twice as fast as the old machine!!  Three cheers!  Time to work on the next project…

Or is it?

Closing a project is oft-neglected and can give rise to numerous future headaches, and potentially squander opportunities.  All projects yield new information and in some way, once implemented, change daily routines.  Also, no project is perfect, so reap the benefits of learning some hard-earned lessons and improve future project execution.


New machines can generate a lot of information that becomes required reference for the machines’ life cycle: warranties, receipts, training manuals, spare parts lists, drawings, start-up checklists, correspondence, acceptance test results.  Where will this information be stored?  Whether electronic of hardcopy, a logical and accessible filing system will create a library of helpful information for the next projects or if any issues are encountered once the projects are operational.  A standard template or checklist can be employed for every project so common and comparable data is maintained for future reference.

Recommended Maintenance

With new equipment comes new responsibilities!  Most manufacturers provide a recommended preventative maintenance (PM) schedule. Ensure that the maintenance team has this information and integrates it into the facility PM plan.  Even the new equipment has PM requirements to ensure reliability and performance.

Stocking Spare Parts

Spare parts are generally not purchased with capital expenditures, but need to be stocked once the machine starts operating or soon thereafter, depending on process, machine and part criticality. The equipment manuals and supplier input will help create a list of spare parts, some critical (think long lead time, unique and essential to equipment function, like a primary gearbox).  Don’t forget to capture these new spares in the inventory and budget!

Review the Budget and Schedule

Document and compare actuals to the proposal and baseline.  Acknowledge and investigate large variances.  What corrective actions might be employed in the future?  Have all the purchase commitments been closed?

Lessons Learned

Beyond the budget and schedule, how did the project (and equipment) fare versus expectations?  Were all identified risks closed, or should some be passed on to the operational and maintenance teams?  This is a great team exercise if conducted in a structured and fact-based setting.  Reaching out to external stakeholders for feedback may also be worthwhile if future business is planned with them.

Project closing activities may not really add any immediate value to the new machine’s operation, but will instead show their worth in the future, providing very useful information and resources to help get the most of the initial investment.