In 2011, Shook was the successful bidder on a $392K project to renovate a portion of existing space into a battery storage and charging area. Proving ourselves a reliable partner, Shook has grown that initial project into work at each of the five manufacturing plants for Chrysler in the Kokomo, IN, area. In the past 12 years, our team has collaborated on over $120M of work and over 2,200 projects for Chrysler. These projects have ranged in size from $500 to $9.0M and have been delivered using traditional and collaborative delivery methods, including general contracting, subcontracting, construction management at risk and design-build. Shook has self-performed specific scopes of this work, fielding a crew of approximately 25 craftsmen at any given time and routinely providing demolition, excavation, concrete, and rough carpentry in the active manufacturing facilities. Notable projects have included the Die Storage Building Addition, Kokomo Casting Plant Cooling Tower Replacement, Caseline 12 equipment demolition, Caseline 14 equipment and concrete demolition, numerous slab replacement projects, new conveyor pits and trenches for production, and the Kokomo Engine Plant expansion.
Shook’s working relationship with Chrysler has been unique and has continued to evolve over the past 12 years. Chrysler operates five facilities within 20 miles of each other spanning from Tipton, Indiana, to the northernmost parts of Kokomo. Each facility operates under the master umbrella of Chrysler; however, the specific processes and rules vary slightly from one plant to another. Additionally, each facility has its own group of engineers who handle projects within that specific plant, and each engineer has some freedom to solicit bidders, conduct post-bid reviews and award projects as they see fit. Chrysler also has various Engineering Managers (typically one for capital projects and one for facilities) who drive planning and budgeting, while also influencing bid lists. Since our first project in 2011, Shook has collaborated with approximately 40 different engineers from Chrysler. Our ever-growing scope of work has been accomplished by learning the preferences of each of these engineers and the specific processes of the plants, and delivering on the expectations set for the respective project. By tailoring our approach to each project and focusing on client satisfaction, our team has solidified relationships with the owner and established Shook as a trustworthy partner.
As a trusted partner, Chrysler has also assigned Shook to help numerous specialty contractors with project delivery. Our in-plant knowledge and experience have become a valuable resource for other trade contractors as well as the vast array of production engineers who have transitioned through the various Kokomo plants over the years.
Multiple ongoing projects spread across numerous facilities present additional unique complexities for our team to manage, including building and maintaining a properly sized workforce to execute the work. It is very common for Shook to be working on projects in three different facilities at the same time. Balancing the schedules of those projects to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of our workforce is critical. Our team identifies the critical items for each project early in the process to best plan the work while completing each project in a timeline that is agreed upon with the engineer. Our management expertise, self-perform capabilities and ability to adapt our workforce have allowed Shook to easily accommodate modifications to the schedule and scope that routinely occur within an operating manufacturing facility.
Across Chrysler’s network of production plants in Kokomo, requests are made for 10-15 projects weekly. Project needs range from moving a door, replacing a slab for new production equipment adjacent to active production lines, or building additions to a production facility. Each project requires a keen understanding of the unique environmental requirements within the plant location of the activity.
Shook has utilized a variety of delivery methods across the 2,200 projects we’ve delivered for Chrysler, each driven by unique project characteristics, scope, and timing of the work. Projects that can be planned and scheduled take a traditional design-bid-build approach, while more urgent projects require a design-build methodology so that tight sequencing windows of delivery can be maintained and in-plant equipment remains in service – our ultimate priority. Shook’s familiarity with and ability to execute each delivery method allows us to adapt to meet the needs of the owner and the various projects.
Furthermore, our ability to self-perform the work creates additional flexibility. With a mixture of approximately 25 laborers, carpenters, operating engineers, and cement finishers on staff at any given time, Shook can deliver the full range of services needed to execute many of these projects. This was best demonstrated on the Caseline 12 Demolition and Slab Replacement project, where Shook was responsible for both the overall planning and scheduling as well as self-performing the majority of the scope. Our self-perform work included building temporary partitions, demolition of production equipment, cleaning demolished equipment for transport, cleaning floor slabs, removal of concrete slabs, infill of pits, and placing and finishing concrete slab on grade.
As in any active manufacturing facility, it is paramount for Chrysler’s production environments to be uninterrupted and free of dust and vibration during construction. Our team recognizes this and views ourselves as guests while we are in each of the plants. Safety, environmental control and collaboration with production management and staff are of the utmost importance to every activity we plan and perform for Chrysler. Shook uses dust partitions and hard barriers to maintain control of dust and debris. With a great range of project activities and locations, creativity in solutions for each unique situation is key. Our teams’ solutions range from utilizing less traditional equipment to minimize vibration during slab demolition or to help control other environmental concerns, to planning the logistics of gaining access to areas for equipment, materials and team members. Shook’s prioritization of operations during active construction has contributed to our reliability and long-standing history of working with Chrysler.
While every project has its own unique challenges, working in the operating facilities of Chrysler brings many similar challenges across projects, including access to the work area, the impact of construction on ongoing plant operations, and meeting tight schedules. Developing a workable plan to accomplish these tight schedules is key to a successful project and ultimately, the satisfaction of our client.
One example of this is our work on the ITP1 BP-8804 45RFE Conveyor Pits & Trenches/Assembly Wall/HVAC Modifications project. This project removed the existing wet decks, slab on grade and deep flume and installed new pits, trenches and slabs for new production equipment, as well as reworked the existing HVAC system to facilitate the new production space. An 8-week schedule was allotted to complete this scope within the 70,000 square feet of existing floor space. Shook committed to working two shifts a day, six days a week for the majority of the project to hit this demanding schedule. After vigorous effort from our team, we completed the project just one day after the allocated eight weeks. Afterward, Chrysler’s engineering manager admitted that they thought it would take at least 10 weeks to complete and were very impressed by our team’s tenacity to finish it on time.
Another example is the KTP Caseline 12 Equipment Demolition and Slab Replacement project, which required the removal of production equipment in 88,000 square feet, removal of a mezzanine area, slab removal, large pit infill, and installation of new slabs of over 60,000 square feet. Chrysler allotted only two weeks for the equipment removal and two weeks for the concrete replacement work. To accomplish this schedule, our equipment demolition crews worked two, 10-hour shifts per day, six days per week, while our concrete crews worked seven days per week to complete the work. Our dedication to meeting these tight schedules is driven by our desire to lessen the impact on Chrysler’s operations and ultimately, our client’s bottom line.