The world of constructing data centers is a competitive one, and to treat it any differently would be a very foolish mistake.
With supply challenges running up and down the chain, companies need to think smart to get ahead of the competition, and that is exactly why Shockey Precast treats constructing data centers like they are competing in the Indianapolis 500.
Shockey Precast, a precast concrete supplier (and much more, according to their website) joined us in New York for a DCD>Talk.
“Most people in the US are familiar with the Indianapolis 500. It's the biggest same-day sporting event in the world. It's a 500-mile Auto Race, and it's a good example of our attitude,” said Marshall Sorenson, vice president of business development at Shockey Precast.
“In the Indy 500, there are 11 rows of three cars and they circle the track before the race starts, not knowing exactly when the green flag is going to drop. They know it's going to drop at some point, but they don't know exactly when.
“Our attitude is that we're going to be in the front row, in position, every time. And not just with any one particular client but with the industry as a whole, because we know that the winner of the race comes from the front most of the time.”
But how do you do this in practice? According to Sorenson, it's about being agile every step of the way.
“To be on the front row you've got to be nimble to the endless creativity of the REITs, the cloud providers, and the general contractors. You've got to be nimble to the constantly changing environment: jobs pause, and then they become unpaused, and then they die only to come back abruptly with equipment changes.”
Equipment changes are a common experience when constructing data centers, and it can certainly take companies by surprise if they aren’t prepared. Because of this Shockey Precast believes in always being ‘left of zero’.
Left of zero refers to being prepared before others, being meaningfully engaged at the very earliest stages. According to Sorenson, ‘zero’ is bid day, and Shockey Precast makes sure to have already identified its strengths before then.
“The idea of left of zero is we're gonna involve people very early in the life of the project, and to get everyone’s best thing, we've created a very specific test fit proposal process. Hopefully, weeks, months, sometimes a year in advance, clients will come to me, and they'll say, ‘Okay, the building's this long, this wide, it's 48MW, and here's where it's gonna go, you go figure everything else out,’” said Sorenson.
It’s at that point that Shockey Precast begins the test fit analysis where the company models the building, with seismicity, wind loads, IT loads, and equipment all in consideration. The testing phase has a lot of back and forth with the customer, according to Sorenson, but ultimately pays off because it enables the company to create a clear budget and plan, long before point ‘zero’.