The Stage-Gate Approach and Why it’s at the Root of Successful Project Development Strategy

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Process-related project development can be a lengthy, expensive and unnecessarily complicated process without a solid plan to guide the project from start to finish.

Imagine investing in a large, complex piece of equipment or component for your facility without first confirming the question of how it will be integrated into your existing controls/automation system. If it doesn’t easily “connect” (plug-and-play), then you may need to reengineer the system(s), buy additional hardware/software, and/or delay the project timeline to resolve an issue that should have been identified prior to the purchase. The same holds true for other questions, such as when this equipment should be installed. If it does not align with your overall business objectives and strategy, then there could be negative consequences.

The AIA stage-gate process (also referred to as the phase-gate process) is a project management technique that breaks down complex projects into structured phases to mitigate risk and ultimately minimize (ideally eliminate) the consequences of poor planning.

In this article, we will address the stage gate approach and how it pertains to the process equipment integration portion of a project.

 

Inside the World’s Largest Sous Vide Processing Facility [PHOTOS]

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Inside the World’s Largest Sous Vide Processing Facility [PHOTOS]

“Sous vide” is French for “under vacuum” and has been around for decades in France. Since 1971, Cuisine Solutions — along with subsidiary CREA and Chief Scientist Dr. Bruno Goussault — has been perfecting the sous vide technology utilizing cooking time and temperature as the foundations of its development.

As the need for food safety and consistency has dramatically increased in recent decades, the company continued investing in more production capacity, new adjacent technologies and greater innovations — including a new plant in San Antonio, Texas.

 

4 Sustainability Features from Our Latest Award-winning Food Plant

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4 Sustainability Features from Our Latest Award-winning Food Plant

Stellar’s recent design-build project for Cuisine Solutions was named Food Engineering magazine’s 2021 Sustainable Plant of the Year. The LEED-registered facility in San Antonio, Texas, is the largest sous vide processing plant in the world with nearly $200 million in investment and measuring 315,000 square feet.

The state-of-the-art facility boasts innovative eco-friendly technologies both inside and out. In addition to saving millions of gallons of water annually via reuse in storage silos, Cuisine Solutions embraced many other sustainable measures. Let’s look at four of its notable sustainability features that could be relevant for other projects, regardless of product or processing.

 

4 Ways Site Location Can Affect Construction Costs

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Building anything right now can be daunting and expensive, much less a large industrial facility. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of construction materials has skyrocketed, labor is scarce and demand is surging. But that doesn’t mean the food supply chain can stop.

Food manufacturers and distributors still have customers to serve — and, for some, that still means investing in a new facility. At a time when construction costs are high, a company might make up for it in savings by reconsidering where the facility is built.

 

4 Tips to Get Your New Process Facility ‘Off the Ground’

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4 Tips to Get Your New Process Facility 'Off the Ground'

Facilities that support process operations produce some of the most expensive and complex buildings in the world. And they run the gamut: “Process operations” can range from baking desserts such as cakes to processing raw meat for grocery operations, to manufacturing parts and components for U.S. Navy submarines. 

So what do facilities across such diverse markets have in common besides being founded on their process? For one, the costly and painful struggle of getting the project started. Many times, important early stages are executed out-of-order or even too late. Let’s look at four recommendations that may seem obvious, but if executed properly, will take some of the pain out of beginning your next process facility.

 

How to Avoid Equipment Delays in Your Next Food Plant Construction Project

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How to Avoid Equipment Delays in Your Next Food Plant Construction Project

We still have a few months left in 2019, but if you’re considering building or renovating a facility sometime next year, the time to start planning may be now. Equipment lead times are growing longer — upwards of 18 to 26 weeks in some cases — and it can be even more for equipment shipped from overseas.

So how can you best prepare for your upcoming project so you don’t encounter equipment delays? In my experience, there are two major things to consider before meeting with your builder.

 

Location, Location, Location: 7 Site Factors to Consider for a New Industrial Food Production Facility

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Location, Location, Location: 7 Site Factors to Consider for a New Industrial Food Production Facility

There are a lot of variables in play when building a new industrial food plant, and site selection is one of the most important decisions you’ll make — so there are several things to keep in mind. 

It’s not just a matter of securing a piece of property and breaking ground or renovating. The location you choose will have a direct impact on the financial success of your new facility. 

Here are seven things you must consider when selecting a site for your new food plant. 

 

Quell Sprinkler System: The Best Fire Protection for Cold Storage Facilities

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Quell Sprinkler System: The Best Fire Protection for Cold Storage Facilities

Source: Tyco Fire Protection Products

Many food distribution warehouse owners rely on a proven “ceiling only” fire protection system designed specifically for cold storage facilities. The Quell™ Fire Sprinkler System (K17), developed in 2006, has quickly become an industry standard for cold storage warehouses — and for good reason.

 

Prepare Your Food Plant for a Hurricane [Infographic]

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Food Plant Emergency Response: Preparing for a Hurricane

Image source: NOAA

 

Regardless of how active or inactive a particular hurricane season is predicted to be, it only takes one storm to significantly damage your food plant or cold storage warehouse. 

Here are some basic steps to prepare your facility for a hurricane:

 

Keep Your Cool: How to Prep Your Refrigeration System for Peak Summer Performance

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Keep Your Cool: How to Prep Your Refrigeration System for Peak Summer Performance

Summer is around the corner, which means now is the time to ensure your refrigeration system is ready for the upcoming hot months. Summertime is when these systems work their hardest, so how can you make sure yours is running efficiently and at peak performance levels?

Here’s a short checklist to prepare your refrigeration system for the summer: