How to Leverage Construction Data to Level Up Your Next Food Plant Project

Modern data collection and analytics have created infinite opportunities for businesses to leverage information to their advantage. Even the simplest piece of information can prove incredibly valuable to an operation when organized and used correctly.

However, storing data to let it sit collecting dust is a waste of time and resources. This is especially apparent in the food processing and construction industries because every moving piece can be cataloged and therefore analyzed to the user’s benefit. 

When used strategically, streamlined and actionable data integration can fuel effective and efficient decision-making at every stage of the design, construction and business management processes.

What is an enterprise data warehouse (EDW)?

Many companies conduct analysis of datasets populated and maintained by independent systems, such as Procore and Salesforce.

An enterprise data warehouse (EDW) is far more comprehensive and takes business information a step further by serving as a centralized data management system for an entire organization. EDWs store raw and aggregate corporate information and data from operational systems in a single location within a cloud-based server or the company’s mainframe server.

4 advantages to using enterprise data warehouses

While data warehouses have existed for many years, how information is analyzed is becoming more sophisticated. In construction, a robust EDW paired with effective queries can be used to remain competitive and provide better solutions for clients by:

1. Reducing budget uncertainty through smarter forecasting

Designers and engineers can tap into an EDW’s historical data to gain insights into what has led to a successful project in the past.

By comparing years of previous job information and real-time data, users can identify trends and correlations that signal, for example, major cost points, the average cost per square footage and how much time a structural engineer spent on a similar project to provide owners more accurate guaranteed maximum prices (GMP) and reduce budget uncertainty.

2. Determining conditions for a safer job site

Similar to the analysis used to estimate cost, project managers can compare all jobs to predict project safety. They can identify any correlations between factors such as weather conditions, the type of work performed and how many people are on-site with the number of safety incidents that occurred.

Facility owners and operators can do the same with their information to identify conditions that have historically resulted in safety incidents during production. This information can be used to develop preventive measures.

3. Improving record tracking to support operations

An EDW can provide an immediate snapshot of how a project is progressing. Since data is kept in near real-time, those working on a job can access daily business intelligence reports that would otherwise only be available in a month-end report, including information about scheduling, invoicing, subcontractor costs and productivity.

This can help project managers gain more visibility of their overall project, identify areas that need additional attention and recognize developing challenges in time to avert them before they become major issues.

Additionally, everything installed at a facility, from the smallest pipes to the biggest equipment, is assigned metadata that owners can use to quickly track warranties, speed-track maintenance and reduce downtime.

4. Preserving knowledge management

Knowledge-intensive industries, including construction, suffer every time seasoned employees retire or leave a company. The skills they honed through years of industry experience are challenging to pass down in a standardized process to newer and less experienced employees.

EDWs serve to bridge the knowledge gap. If businesses can begin to capture the information in a digital format, it can be leveraged to onboard new hires much faster while reducing human error in some project areas.

Selecting a construction firm that uses a data-driven approach

Working with an integrated design-build firm can save industrial, commercial and food industry owners time and money on their next project. Partnering with an integrated firm that also uses data-directed decision-making can lead to further cost savings and labor efficiency, as well as project accuracy and transparency.

By leveraging a robust EDW, project leaders and facility owners gain access to a trove of readily accessible, actionable information in a single location they can reference from the planning stage until decades down the road. During the design and construction phase, data-driven reports can offer transparency to clients that help build trust, offer convenience and yield better project management.

At the end of the day, technology and data science are exponentially advancing. If companies fail to leverage them to their advantage, they will struggle to keep up with the modern business model.

Want to know more about how working with a data-driven firm can shape your next project? Leave a comment below or email me at


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