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Seek Expert Help Early in the Business Site Selection Process
Many problems can arise if a site search isn't started by an experienced team or if they get involved too late in the process.
What kind of in-house expertise does a firm need in order to properly perform a location search? Can you provide an example of a company that called in expert consultants after undertaking the process themselves and realizing they did not have the expertise to perform the due diligence? How did this affect the site search process and results?
Alexandra Segers, International Senior Account Executive/Program Manager, SSOE Group
The team completing the search must possess adequate expertise to properly evaluate and perform due diligence on the following criteria:

  • Workforce – Workforce availability in the area (includes education level, work ethic, salary requirements, union/nonunion)

  • Logistics –Adequate inbound parts route and cost, finished goods route, rail if necessary

  • Site – Conditions and requirements of the site, defined before the search itself, this includes utility services

  • Environmental – Permitting procedure and time, site conditions in regards to environmental items

  • Government – Tax structure, support

  • Market – Affect on product sales

  • Incentive – Weigh benefits and bonuses offered with emphasis on making a good site better. Often incentives are given too much importance resulting in poor selection.

  • General – Good place to live, good schools, etc

Most companies tend to keep such failures quiet. However, generally speaking, many companies prefer to keep their site searches internal (if they have the in-house resources to do so). This minimizes the risk of information leaks.

Many problems can arise if a site search isn’t started by an experienced team or if they got involved too late in the process. Inexperience can lead to:

  • Underestimating the amount of time the complete site selection process takes (especially permitting)

  • The elimination of suitable sites prior to the expert coming on board

  • Undesirable location selected based on incentives alone

  • Site selected without environmental considerations, i.e., the facility requires an air permit and the team selected a site near residential areas which could result in big construction/project delays

Article Discussion
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