Commercial and industrial refrigeration technology has come a long way in just the past five or 10 years, let alone over the past several decades. Evolutionary and revolutionary advances, coupled with increasingly stringent regulations, challenge cold chain companies with complexities unimaginable to past generations.

So why are some decision-makers clinging to outdated notions of how to approach design–build projects?

Putting a project out to bid may have worked well when the industry was young, but that’s not the case today. There’s too much at stake and too many details involved in maintaining exacting temperatures as well as upholding rigorous standards for efficiency and compliance. Every company, every facility, every project has its own specifications and nuances. The traditional bidding process doesn’t take this into account the way value-driven partnerships do.

Value-driven partnerships—relationships built on mutual respect and trust, a collaborative spirit and a collective understanding of the goals of each design–build effort—overcome the limitations of the bidding process and lead to superior outcomes. Here’s how.

Limitations of the Bidding Process

Let’s take a look at some of the limitations of the traditional bidding model and compare it with the more strategic value-driven partnership model:

Cost-over-quality mentality. By its very nature, the bidding process pushes design–build contractors to focus on winning the contract versus delivering the best outcome for the client. You may think you’re getting a well-thought-out solution only to discover down the road that your contractor has cut corners in areas where high quality is critical. Substandard designs, materials, labor and construction can compromise the efficiency, performance and durability of your facility.

Lack of collaboration. One of the most essential elements of a successful design–build project is a free flow of communication and ideas between your team and your primary contractor. The competitive bidding process can prove to be a barrier to open dialogue, as bidders hesitate to ask vital questions in the public bidding forum for fear of showing their hand to other bidders. They may be left estimating the project as they believe it should be done versus talking it over and proceeding with a plan that also makes sense to you and your team.

Inflexibility. The rigid structure of the bidding process generally doesn’t provide the flexibility needed to incorporate changing requirements or future upgrades and technological advances. While your new design may fulfill your facility’s immediate needs, it may not be the ideal long-term solution.

Benefits of the Value-Driven Partnership Approach

In contrast to the transactional nature of projects won by bid, value-driven partnerships focus on collaboration, transparency and mutual benefit. This approach aligns the best interests of all parties involved by creating an integrated team environment where the best solutions can emerge.

In a value-driven partnership, you and your design–build partner work together closely from the outset, discussing your goals, needs, challenges, budget, operational requirements and other considerations that may influence the ultimate design of your project. Importantly, the builder must prioritize energy efficiency and environmental compliance, while building in a level of flexibility that enables you to integrate new technologies and processes for years to come.

The advantages of moving beyond bidding to a partnership approach include the following:

Exceptional results. Open communication and shared goals fuel innovative thinking, which can lead to extraordinary outcomes. Your design–build partner feels freer to recommend new technologies that may help drive your continuous improvement initiatives and, by prioritizing value over cost, they bring higher-quality materials, superior craftsmanship and stronger designs to your project.

A shorter timeline. Achieving a consensus regarding plan details early in the game helps streamline the design and construction processes. That means not only fewer stops and starts but also fewer cost overruns.

Short- and long-term support. When you establish a true partnership with your design–build contractor, you lay the groundwork for a smoother construction experience and ongoing support once the project has been completed. Whether you need technical service or additional design–build work, you have a partner you can turn to who understands your business, your goals and the way you like to work.

ARI’s Design–Build Approach

ARI embraces the value-driven partnership model to deliver exceptional cold-chain solutions. Our approach involves:

Early collaboration. We engage with clients from the initial concept stage, ensuring that all needs, requirements and constraints are understood and addressed.

Integrated teams. Our multidisciplinary teams work closely with clients, leveraging their combined expertise to develop optimal solutions.

Transparent communication. We prioritize open and honest communication, keeping all stakeholders informed and involved throughout the project.

Commitment to excellence. Our focus is on delivering the highest-quality solutions that provide long-term value, rather than simply meeting the minimum requirements at the lowest cost.

In short, ARI recognizes that, whether you’re embarking on a brand-new construction project or revamping an existing facility, you want a high-quality, flexible design–build solution backed by a solid support team. By focusing on collaboration, quality and long-term value, we help our clients achieve superior outcomes that meet their operational needs and drive continuous improvement.

Want to discuss your next design–build project with ARI? Contact us today. We would appreciate the opportunity to talk it over with you.