Data Center Upgrade Spotlights In-House Expertise

  October 12, 2015

Managers and engineering managers face a host of complex challenges when an organization decides to expand its data center to better support operations and achieve its business goals. George Guck, director of facilities with Frito-Lay at its North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, knows this challenge all too well. The company completed a multi-million dollar data center expansion in 2011 that added equipment and upgraded its power supply.

The project, along with several other upgrades to improve the headquarters’ energy efficiency and sustainability, was part of the company’s three-year efforts to reduce energy use by 25 percent, reduce water use by 50 percent, and reduce landfill by 75 percent. The projects earned the department a 2015 Facility Maintenance Decisions Achievement Award.

The role of in-house maintenance and engineering departments in upgrade projects varies greatly depending on department workloads, department skill levels and experience, and project deadlines. In the case of Frito-Lay, Guck’s department played a central and active role.

“Our facilities team was responsible for all the construction work on campus,” he says. “After reviewing what the outside consultant had originally suggested along with the budget and timeline, we recommended a complete change in strategy to expand the building adjacent to the main electrical room to support the space for the new power paralleling switchgear.”

“Our team took the lead in negotiating the new paralleling switchgear (and in) the design of the building construction, (and) we hired the general contractor and managed the overall project from a day-to-day perspective.”

For Guck and his department, one benefit of the project was knowing their performance on the upgrade project resulted in delivering a successful project that was completed well ahead of schedule and under budget.

“The project was completed in nine months versus the original estimate of three years,” Guck says. “Our corporate policies do not allow us to share the total cost of the project, but I can share (that) our costs to complete the project came in nearly 50 percent less than the original projection.”

Read more


Read next on FacilitiesNet