There are other factors that come into play for suppliers locating into the United States from foreign countries. The factors and their importance vary depending on whether the supplier is German, Korean, Japanese, Canadian, or of some other nationality. However, the following may come into play during the site search:
Many foreign companies do not want to locate in the same community as one of their competitors and, in some cases, may avoid a community that has an existing supplier from the same nation. Alternatively, there are other suppliers who may consider the presence of an existing supplier of the same nationality as a "stamp of approval" and may give that community higher ratings.
Most foreign national suppliers will be very interested in the social and cultural aspects of the region and will inquire about existing residents in the region who may have the same nationality. Part of the inquiry from foreign nationals typically relates to ethnic restaurants and food stores in the region, as well as the presence of doctors and dentists who speak their language. Foreign nationals will also take a much closer look at educational systems, educational performance of the community, and the potential for private school education.
In sum, the site selection factors and search methodology for automotive suppliers may vary significantly from one supplier to another, and the factors may be different - even for similar types of suppliers - based on direction and priorities provided from the automotive assembly plants that each serves. Regardless of these conditions, there are certain factors that will drive any supplier's site search. These include work force, logistics, site and infrastructure, availability of existing buildings, and certain cultural and social issues.
Dr. C. R. (Buzz) Canup is president/CEO of Canup & Associates (www.canup.com), a firm specializing in site location studies and economic development consulting.