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The Design-Building Process The KEway

Whether you are adding a new production line in your facility or expanding that facility, it is vital that you understand the process and make a plan before any work begins; these are hallmarks of the design-build mentality. Planning and building systemized processes will not only save dollars and headaches but can also save you from unnecessary downtime.

Ask yourself questions, provide yourself answers.

Many times, projects fail because there is no project owner and expectations are not aligned. Before kicking off a project with a contractor, we recommend answering the following:

  • What is the need/reason for the project?
  • What are my goals?
  • What is my role as the customer?
  • Who are the other players (internal and external) on the project?
  • What does the schedule look like?

Know your project phases.

Your project should be broken up into “phases” for both organization and manageability purposes. A design-build project typically falls into the following phases:

Phase 1: Planning and procurement

  • Process understanding
  • Preliminary functional description development
  • Customer review
  • SOW review with the customer to determine custom idiosyncrasy requirements.
  • Understanding the critical path and procurement planning 

Phase 2: Installation and execution

  • Little to no disruption of your streamlined production
  • Understanding the impact of disruptions

Phase 3: Commissioning, qualification, and validation (CQV)

  • Test protocols for equipment
  • Documentation of issues and resolutions
  • Verify equipment was installed per specs
  • Verify equipment can function at 100% with no challenges or damages
  • Verify equipment can perform consistently in actual conditions.

Phase 4: Project closeout and lessons learned

  • Assess the project with all team members
  • Confirm project met all requirements
  • Confirm the scope of work fully delivered
  • Review challenges and evaluate best practices for future projects

Phase 5: Long-term maintenance support

  • Consistent team to support the longevity of the facility's electrical and automation needs.

Know what to expect your contractor to ask.

When you kick off a project, your contracting partner will likely ask the following questions, so to streamline the process, have your answers ready.

What type of GMP (good manufacturing practices) zone?

  1. Processes and manufacturing (product zone)
  2. Finished product zone (final product zone)

What is your scope of work? What needs to be done?

During operations or an outage?

What is the schedule or What is the duration of the outage?

What should I budget for?

  • Work itself
  • Future expansion
  • GMP zone requirements (extra time, GMP PPE, special PPE for work to complete in final product zone)
  • Sanitation and cleaning supplies for tools and equipment before bringing into the plant
  • Ongoing maintenance and overall project upgrades and preventative work

Trust goes both ways.

Trust in a contractor is key not only at kickoff but throughout the whole project. Your contractor is a partner, not just a vendor. The more open and upfront you are with your partners, the more they’ll trust you in turn, and the better the outcome of the project.

So what makes a good electrical/engineer partner? One that:

  • Understands your process, including SCADA/HMI operating systems
  • Performs installations while production is still moving (eliminating downtime)
  • Can start new processes without interruptions or downtime
  • Understands of impacts and consequences of failure and/or project challenges
  • Has deep industry knowledge
  • Understands the importance of quality and control measures

Did you know, the most common project needs for food manufacturing include:

  • Faster processing and manufacturing
  • Faster packaging
  • Reduction of waste
  • Robotic and automation upgrades to reduce FTEs
  • Maintenance and reliability
  • Expedite FDA/USDA certifications and standards

Stay tuned for Design-Build Process, KE-style part 2, where we discuss how to pick your contractor and start executing.

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