Speed to Market, it’s a game changer

Chances are when you hear ‘Speed to Market’ you think of the latest consumer trend and which manufacturer is getting the item to stores the quickest. However, did you know that speed to market is just as important on the construction side?  How quickly you can get a building up and running creates a huge competitive advantage. And as the demand for data center space continues to grow at exponential rates, owners and operators continue to challenge their vendors to get sites up and running as quick as possible.

What is speed to market?

Speed to market, a product development term, is the time it takes a company to conceive an idea, develop said idea and get it out to customers. On the construction side, this is the time it takes to go from initial need to building design to pulling cables and fitting out a space for use. Currently on the data center side, turnaround time can take in the upwards of 24 to 36 months.

What impact is speed to market having in the data center industry?

Data center space demand has grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic and shows no signs of slowing down. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to grow and evolve, along with demand for the cloud increasing, the speed at which a data center is up and running is becoming quicker and quicker.

For most in the low-voltage space, we typically come in after the building is up and the data hall is ready for fit-out and network connectivity. In general, we come into a project 12 to 18 months post design. We are then tasked with turning the data hall around in four months. With supply chain disruptions, this is becoming a huge lift.

As owners are trying to come up with a more condensed fit-out timeline, we are being challenged to come up with more efficient ways to manage our work and reduce our timeline.

How is E2 Optics raising the bar on speed to market?

Here at E2 Optics, we are changing the thinking of when to bring low-voltage into the process. We are working directly with the owners earlier on in the process to better understand their needs and requirements. This helps us prepare and provide more efficient and faster service, allowing us to get the data halls completed in a quicker, more competitive time-frame.

This direct relationship with the owner allows us to manage expectations and deliver in a quicker time-frame. By working earlier on in the design phase, we have a better understanding of the project’s needs and can order materials in advance to help avoid any supply chain issues.

This model has helped us create a new department – Project Controls. We are implementing project controls across all our programs and projects to help us better estimate, plan, schedule and execute. We use information obtained through project controls to have a benchmark in setting realistic timelines for projects. We do time studies on our tasks and discuss with our operations leads on how to improve the next time around on same tasks. By doing this, we are well positioned to help our customers achieve their speed to market goals.

This investment in project controls is unique in our industry. We are leaders in the project controls aspect. We have implemented advanced planning and scheduling which helps us understand our pipeline and prepare for demands well in advance.

We have also implemented a comprehensive risk management process which allows us to assess our risks and mitigation plans and responses ahead of time. We can do this at the regional level or project level. All aspects of the project are looked at – staffing, scaling, and supply chain.

Through project controls and forecasting, we can go outside of the box with our thinking and work to get long term relationships with suppliers. This future forecasting helps us to ensure we have all materials for a project and avoid any potential delays in delivery due to supply chain issues.

Project controls is more than having a project schedule or a cost report, it’s about changing behaviors of our execution team and holding ourselves accountable to do better. We are taking control and making sure we are setting up each project for success and use the benchmarks we have established for 2022 to challenge our teams to do better in 2023.

For more information about E2 Optics and our solutions, please visit our solutions page here.

Jwan ShawkatJwan Shawkat, PSP
Director of Corporate Controls

Jwan Shawkat is a dynamic and knowledgeable project controls professional with more than 20 years of industry experience. Her proven track record of delivering cost and schedule controls to billion-dollar projects has helped transform E2 Optics’ speed to market strategy. Jwan received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering, along with an Integrated Construction, Management + Leadership Certificate. In addition to project controls, Jwan is helping to lead the DE&I effort at E2 Optics and is a mentor to many of the women and men here at E2 Optics.