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Location Strategy Decision Chain

The role of the key groups involved in location selection - and how and when they fit into the decision - must be established early in the process.

Apr/May 09
(page 3 of 3)
Selection: This is a logical point to selectively expand the decision chain. Sound location selection practice includes thorough investigation to identify "fatal flaws" and evaluate the fit of a location with respect to labor market, operating climate, site/infrastructure, cost, and other factors deemed important to the project. Sources of evidence are essential. This is also the right time for the project team to position the project with community leaders relative to incentives and other support.
Limits are usually placed on information sharing to protect project and client confidentiality. This is perhaps the most critical time to manage the decision chain so it does not unintentionally expand to additional parties, such as the media, competitors and others who could potentially compromise the delicate nature of the decision-making process.
Implementation: Once the decision becomes clear, other parties enter the process. These might include relocating employees and business parties who will potentially be impacted by the decision. Some may have been woven in earlier and, at least, their interests should have been considered in evaluating the alternatives. Third-party project delivery providers are also essential at this stage, including the design/build team, equipment and transportation providers, attorneys for finalizing property transactions, residential relocation companies, outsourcers, and local resources for recruiting and training. Other internal corporate parties may become more involved as well, relative to changes in business operations, new processes, and enhanced market access. This is also the time, perhaps starting with a formal announcement, to communicate the project benefits and form long-term relationships with the community at large.

In Sum
Perhaps the most crucial message is to account for the eventual role and potential impact of each and all of these groups and how and when they fit into the decision.EARLY in the process. This brings this discussion full circle back to the first stage of having a program decision roadmap that logically considers the "what ifs" of the decision tree and the variability of the players in the decision. This is essential to effectively planning project implementation and to a successful long-term location decision.

Lawrence Moretti has over 25 years experience consulting with corporate end-users, economic development groups, and other parties to global business geography deployment decisions.

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