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Case Study

Compass Datacenters Finds Cross-Project Visibility, Process Clarity, and Ease of Use with Procore

Datacenter under construction

The Challenge

Compass Datacenters’ reputation derives from a just-in-time (JIT) incremental capacity model—repeatable processes designed to custom-fit the client’s desired timeline and budget. Rework has to be kept to an absolute minimum.

The Solution

Compass’ chosen construction management platform helps actualize the PokaYoke philosophy—individual clarity, cross project-transparency, integrated teams, and simplified processes.

The Results

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Cross-Project Visibility

Provides clear direction to workers and teams.

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Clarity of Process

Simplifies workflow, narrowing the opportunity for missteps and rework.

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Single Source of Truth

Eliminates version control concerns to move the project along.

All the specialty trades want is clear direction. Right? If you have a platform that gives them real-time clear direction and it’s easy to access— that’s going to make the job 10 times better.

Nancy Novak

Nancy Novak

Chief Innovation Officer

Compass Points the Way

Compass Datacenters takes pride in their reputation for tailoring each datacenter build to the client’s wishes. Just-intime incremental capacity, single-tenancy control, and core-to-edge deliverability are joined by an operational simplicity that makes Compass’ signature facilities unique in the growing data center ecosystem. "We have a multiplicity of sizes and prototypes available," says Nancy Novak, Compass’ SVP of Construction. "Standardized processes allow us to adapt to owner needs and geography. We like to keep things very simple. It’s really all about visibility, and a lot of curiosity."

Datacenter building

Poka-Yoke (“Mistake-Proofing”)

However complex a project, it can be delivered through processes that deliberately narrow the range of possible mistakes that can be made. Novak explains the concept, popularized in the 50s by Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo. "At Compass, one of our core beliefs is in Poka-Yoke," Novak says with a smile, "Which is basically about minimizing mistakes. Think of an electrical outlet. It’s impossible to plug something into an outlet incorrectly because there’s only one way to do it. We’re always trying to shape our processes to reach that level of simplicity. At Compass, we use the term ‘desensitize.’ We want to desensitize the riskiest areas on our projects through the Poka-Yoke idea—to create a space where it’s really hard to make a mistake."

snow covered buildering

Tools and People

The term Poka-Yoke translates to "mistake-proofing," and relies on transparency and simplicity of process for its success. "We have a lot of visibility with Procore," Novak says. "It’s easy to access, easy to use—it’s intuitive. Procore helps us stay simple, and we love the fact that we can archive everything, all project data, and refer back to it—forever." Novak gestures, palms up. "All the specialty trades want is clear direction. Right? If you have a platform that gives them real-time clear direction, and it’s easy to access—that’s going to make the job 10 times better."

Compass’ reputation for just-in-time, customized delivery relies on a construction management system as flexible and nimble as it has to be. "The way Procore is set up, it doesn’t force you to do anything a certain way. It allows you to standardize, and it allows you to be both individual and entrepreneurial. So you have enough flexibility to maintain your unique identity, without having chaos with the software."

Novak also believes technology reaches its full potential only when powered by human intuitions and interpersonal connectivity. "I used to go to the jobsites and I would notice if they weren’t a connected team. They would say, you know, ‘This is what the machine told me’. There was no gut behind it." Tech-averse builders might agree with Compass Datacenters’ SVP of Construction about one thing. "That human interface," Novak says emphatically, "being able to talk to people and feel that temperature on the site, and get that color—it allows you to have that gut check against the data that comes forward. I’ve always felt that was importa

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