[Video] ConAgra Foods Distribution Center Case Study Transcript


​Originally completed in June 2015, the 1.6-million-square-foot ConAgra Foods Distribution Center in Frankfort, Ind., was a massive undertaking. A true collaboration between ConAgra and our team was necessary to make this project such a success. Watch our video above or read the transcript below to learn more about this notable project.

Craig Weiss: The Frankfort project really is unique in many ways for ConAgra Foods. It’s a culmination of a decade long journey of building on the great buildings we’ve had in place. We had the opportunity to consolidate five distribution centers from around the country into one brand new facility in Frankfort, Indiana. Our mission to make food that people love is important to ConAgra Foods in many ways, and the distribution center allows us to stay cost competitive and allows us to distribute food in a price that people can afford.

Chris McBarnes: Opus was crucial because of the sheer size of this project and the timeframe that we had to get this done in. You know, building a 1.6 million-square-foot facility in really about a year is an absolutely incredible feat.

John Lewandowski: It’s clear to me that they are a leader, and that I haven’t experienced many that are as good as Opus.

Craig Weiss: This was over a 100 million dollar project for ConAgra Foods. The project was completed roughly one month ahead of schedule and was completed under budget.

Dave Bangasser: The scope of the work for ConAgra was 1.6 million square feet of distribution center on 186 acres. Earthwork and utility operations; moving over a million yards of dirt; putting in over five miles of utility piping; laying a million and a half square feet of roller compacted concrete; poured over 38,000 yards of concrete on the interior slabs - resulting in an industry leading distribution center with a 144,000 pallet positions. More than 850 trailer parking spaces all on a 300 acre site. And, we identified and secured in order to allow for potential expansion for ConAgra’s businesses.

Craig Weiss: Given the economic environment we’re in with the driver shortage, it’s our desire to be a shipper of choice. We want to be a place where carriers want to come do business. We have two driver accommodation facilities. We allow driver parking onsite. We have a welcome center designed and set up that allows us to move trucks through in a very easy process. We can accommodate up to 20 trailers in line without having to block any city streets. We’ve utilized technology through camera systems. The overall design of the facility, those are some of the things we’ve done in conjunction with Opus to really make this a facility…a facility of choice for us. 

John Lewandowski: In all of my experience with Opus, in all of the projects that they’ve done for us as a design builder, they take the pride in ownership.

Craig Weiss: Opus has been a long-term partner with ConAgra Foods. They have a reputation in the industry we believe in, we trust and we respect. They’ve proven to us time and time again that they’ve been able to not only meet the schedule, but also deliver a cost that is very competitive with the industry.

Craig Larson: One of the things that we bring is the long-standing relationships amongst our own team members. We’re very used to working with each other and that makes us very efficient.

Joe Sonnek: We got involved early in the project. Meeting the client; meeting each other; working together with the whole process; hiring the subcontractor as a team – and I thought that was a real value that we brought to the project.

Craig Weiss: The team really embraced the project as though, you know, they were building the building for themselves.

Craig Larson: Another one of the things that differentiates us is the way we deal our clients.

John Lewandowski: They took our input and with their wisdom made a project out of it that became Frankfort, that’s our newest generation warehouse.

Craig Larson: We do not tell our clients what they want. We do not tell them this is the right answer. We bring them alternatives. We bring them options. We listen very closely and then make sure that we’re responding to what we could.

Chris McBarnes: Opus would come to city council meetings, they would answer any questions in an open, public setting. They would get feedback. They would internalize that feedback and then come back to the table and say, “We’re going to alter these things, because we think that this idea would best suit your community. Maybe it wasn’t the original idea, but this is what the people of your community want.”

Craig Weiss: I think anytime you go into a large project like this you get a strategic advantage if you can have one individual handle the design build. It allows for seamless integration with subcontractors, master schedule planning. If you can find the right partner to deliver the project on time, within budget and do it through a design-build approach, the one-stop shop is much easier from an end-user standpoint.

Craig Larson: It just goes back to making sure we’re doing everything in our power to, at a minimum, meet the client’s requirements and, where we can, to exceed them. And we did that successfully on this project.

Joe Sonnek: Looking back on the project, I would say the things I’m most proud of - the quality; that we came in safe; that we came in on budget; and that we made the deadline.

John Lewandowski: I would definitely work again with Opus in many categories of real estate.

Craig Weiss: For a project this size, the largest building ConAgra Foods has ever built, for it to be done on time, under budget and in operation today has been fantastic.

Chris McBarnes: On a scale of 1 to 10, can I say 11? That’s what I would say in terms of recommending Opus. Having ConAgra Foods come to Frankfort, thanks to team players like Opus, will forever transform our community.

Craig Weiss: I think the experience, not only in Frankfort but also the long-standing relationship that ConAgra and Opus has, has really enabled us to have a strong partnership, and as we contemplate future projects Opus will definitely, you know, have an opportunity to participate with us. We’ve had a very good experience.