Jun 17, 2021
Building anything right now can be daunting and expensive, much less a large industrial facility. In some cases, construction projects are costing anywhere from 25% to 50% more than previous years. 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.
Jun 3, 2021
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.
Jan 23, 2020
The food and beverage industry continues to change rapidly, with 2019 seeing the growth of plant-based foods, health and wellness, and clean label products.
In 2020, conscious consumerism still remains at the core of industry trends. Consumers are factoring both their personal health and the health of the planet into their buying decisions, prioritizing factors like nutrition, convenience and sustainability.
Understanding what consumers are shopping for is imperative for food companies to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top trends that will impact the food industry in the new year.
Apr 4, 2019
Augmented reality (AR) is a powerful tool on Stellar’s job sites. Today’s AR technology is revolutionizing the way we design and build facilities, making construction projects more efficient and ultimately saving owners time and money.
Stellar leverages augmented reality in three major ways:
Mar 28, 2019
In recent years, more food and beverage companies have adopted a different perspective on decision-making. Rather than having one person making unilateral decisions, many businesses have shifted toward a “decision-by-committee” approach, where a small group of stakeholders are part of the process.
This trend is especially prevalent in larger companies that are adopting a more inclusive corporate culture. The goal is to foster greater pride and buy-in from employees by including diverse perspectives in decisions that affect them.
For example, I recently worked with several owners who utilized the decision-by-committee approach when Stellar was building their new food plant. These facilities are multimillion-dollar investments, and these leaders increasingly want to seek input from their employees who will be working in the facility and with the equipment every day.
Mar 21, 2019
The economy is thriving, the labor market is competitive and disruptive innovation is shaping the present and future of the food industry. Food plant owners are always looking for cost savings, especially in today’s fast-paced market. Could your packaging be a ripe opportunity?
Let’s look at a few considerations for optimizing your packaging process.
Mar 14, 2019
In today’s increasingly fast-paced food and beverage industry, everyone wants their next facility built as soon as possible so it can start shipping product quickly. While hiring an experienced firm to design and build (or renovate) your plant is critical, there are things owners can do to ensure a project moves as efficiently as possible.
Success story: US Cold Storage
Stellar recently designed and built a food distribution facility for US Cold Storage in Laredo, Texas. The project had an aggressive schedule, and as the senior project manager, my job was to ensure we met those deadlines.
Despite a month of unexpected weather delays, we worked creatively and brought in additional crews that worked ten-hour days and six- to seven-day weeks. This allowed us to complete the project in only eight months, just in time to harvest Mexican strawberries.
Mar 7, 2019
Photo by Matt Harding, Yuma Sun
As the economy thrives and capital investment grows, the construction market continues to face a labor shortage in 2019. This can especially be a factor when it comes to skilled labor for specialized disciplines, such as refrigeration.
What does this mean for food and beverage companies looking to build or expand? If it’s been a few years since your business has tackled a large capital investment project, you’ll need to manage expectations and plan accordingly. Today’s economy is a different playing field with different challenges.
If you’re planning to invest in a new facility, renovation or expansion, here are four things you can do to avoid budget surprises along the way.
7 features of a modern, personnel-focused facility
Jan 17, 2019
Source: Bell & Evans (Robert Pepple)
Food and beverage manufacturing facilities in the U.S. today are experiencing a labor shortage, mostly due to a healthy economy and low unemployment rate. Turnover rates at these facilities are already high to begin with, so more food plant owners are looking to attract employees and increase retention rates.
Many of Stellar’s clients — whether they are building new facilities or renovating existing ones — are asking us to design employee welfare spaces to be more unique and attractive to prospective employees.
While processing areas are still the heart of a food plant, these spaces are increasingly being viewed from a personnel-focused perspective. Plus, break rooms and employee amenities are becoming more important for business than ever before.
How we’re using AR technology, HoloLens and more to build the facilities of tomorrow
Dec 20, 2018
Augmented reality (AR) — superimposing computer-generated images on the user’s view of the real world — is increasingly used in a variety of applications today. From smartphone games and social media filters to furniture design and classroom education, this technology is being utilized across virtually every industry, and building design and construction is no exception.
In fact, exciting developments are happening at the intersection of AR and the work we do at Stellar. While it’s been used as a marketing and selling tool, we’re beginning to apply AR on job sites more frequently. It’s safe to say this powerful technology is revolutionizing the way buildings are designed, constructed and renovated.