25th Annual Corporate Survey
The economy's gradual recovery during 2010 has resulted in increased business optimism, a rise in new facility plans, and some changes in site selection priorities.
Geraldine Gambale, Editor, Area Development Magazine (Winter 2011)
(page 5 of 6)
Businesses continued to respond to the recession's effects by mostly opting to maintain their facility portfolios. See the slideshow for all charts.
Additionally, more than three quarters of the 2010 Corporate Survey respondents agree that sustainable development is more important now than in the past (Slideshow, Figure 28). Eighty-five percent of them are making energy-saving modifications to existing facilities; more than half are recycling or re-using waste products; and about a quarter are seeking LEED certification as well as changing their supply or distribution routes/methods (Figure 29). However, nearly 60 percent say that, unfortunately, communities are not offering incentives for green initiatives (Slideshow, Figure 33).
It should also be noted that the environmental regulations factor moved up five spots in the rankings, from 17th position in 2009 to the 12th spot this year, although its importance rating only increased by 3.6 percentage points to 74.8 percent. Its advancement in the rankings may also reflect the increased emphasis on sustainability measures.
Rounding out the top 10 site selection factors is availability of buildings, which received a combined 81 percent importance rating from the 2010 Corporate Survey respondents, up 5.3 percentage points from 2009, the second-largest increase among the site selection factors. The importance of this factor may be an indication that faster response to market demand is necessitating that companies get up and running quickly. In fact, nearly half of the Corporate Survey respondents say the existence of a shovel-ready or pre-certified site is also important (Slideshow, figures 34 and 35).
As in last year's survey, all of the other site selection factors (ranking lower than 10th) were rated as "very important" or " important" by less than 80 percent of the Corporate Survey respondents. But we should look at the factor showing the largest decrease in its importance rating - availability of advanced ICT services. This factor dropped 10.3 percentage points in importance, considered "very important" or "important" by 72.9 percent of the 2010 respondents and landing in 14th place, down from ninth in 2009 when it received an 83.2 percent rating. Perhaps company executives feel that most locations have adequately improved their ICT networks so that this factor now takes a backseat to others.
Finally, we asked our survey-takers if they consider whether there are businesses performing operations similar to theirs when site selecting, and 60 percent say "yes," with about half saying this is an important concern (Slideshow, Figure 36).
The quality-of-life factors are ranked separately from the other site selection factors. In 2009, none of the nine quality-of-life factors were rated higher in importance than the primary site selection factors. This year, however, low crime rate - which is historically ranked as the primary quality-of-life concern as borne out by our survey's 25-year record - received an 84.6 percent importance rating, which would actually place it eighth among the overall list of factors. It's no surprise that crime rates rise during an economic downturn and this reality is reflected in our 2010 Corporate Survey responses. All of the other quality-of-life factors would fall into the bottom half of the overall list of factors; i.e., quality of life only comes into play when other primary site selection needs have been satisfied.
The respondents to our 2010 Corporate Survey say that their primary source of site selection information is site magazines like Area Development (86 percent claim to use these). About half also use general business and financial publications when considering facility locations (Slideshow, Figure 37).
Three quarters of the Corporate Survey respondents also use the Internet in their site and facility planning (Slideshow, Figure 38).