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.

 

3 Applications for Big Data in Food Plants

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3 Applications for Big Data in Food Plants

Big data comprises the large volume of data that businesses collect on a day-to-day basis. The question is: Are you taking advantage of it?

Data and analytics tools can be customized to meet your facility’s unique needs and goals — whether you simply want to gain insights to resolve certain pain points or install system-wide automation technology that takes your efficiency to the next level. 

Let’s take a look at three applications for big data in a food processing facility:

 

Big Data in Food Plants: Short-term and Long-term Investments that Yield ROI

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Big Data in Food Plants: Short-term and Long-term Investments that Yield ROI

Today’s big data tools and technology can create significant cost savings in modern food and beverage plants — and the return on investment (ROI) can come in the form of reducing losses or improving production.

Every company has a different outlook when it comes to capital spending, though, with some focused on short-term investing and others taking a long-term approach. Let’s look at some short-term and long-term options when it comes to big data and analytics tools.

 

Project Commissioning: The Key to Meeting Your Food Plant’s Construction Goals

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Project Commissioning: The Key to Meeting Your Food Plant’s Construction Goals

Constructing a new food plant is more complex than ever. Increased competition, changing consumer trends, automation technology and energy efficiency are all factors that owners must consider.

Among all these moving parts, it can be easy for a plant owner’s original vision or goals to be lost or not fully realized. That’s why commissioning is becoming a critical part of the design-build process. A commissioning partner works with the owner throughout the design-build process to ensure their goals are achieved.  

 

Maximizing Drone Technology on Food Plant Construction Sites [VIDEO]

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Maximizing Drone Technology on Food Plant Construction Sites from Stellar on Vimeo.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are revolutionizing the way buildings are designed and constructed. Stellar leverages this technology on our job sites to make projects more efficient, accurate and cost-effective.

Here are some of the ways we utilize drones:

 

AR on the Construction Site: See How Augmented Reality Benefits Builders and Owners [VIDEO]

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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: