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Corporate Executive Survey Commentary: What Should Be Included in the EDO Toolkit?

EDOs with a mix of sites, manufacturing/distribution experience, strong business retention programs, and proven training solutions will prove valuable to the corporate decision-maker.

Q1 2016
The question I asked from the Corporate Survey data was, “What can both state and local economic development organizations do to best prepare for the predominant number of projects that may occur in the foreseeable future?” It will be some combination of understanding the subject matter expertise of the decision-maker, project sizes and types, where projects originate, how the prospect will find information and, lastly, what’s included in the winning EDO toolkit?

Between 50 percent and 80 percent of the project decisions will be made by executive management and operations positions, while subject matter experts in other functions will be part of the location decision-making process in less than a third of the decisions. In addition, manufacturing and warehouse/distribution facilities make up more than 50 percent of all new domestic projects. About 50 percent plan to open new domestic facilities, but more than 80 percent of these new domestic facilities projects represent less than $50 million in investment. Eighty-five percent of the respondents will use general business magazines to obtain site selection information, but 90 percent will receive their information from site magazines, such as Area Development, coupled with site information gained from robust local and state EDO websites.

From an inventory perspective, prepared EDOs will have a strong mix of small/medium-sized sites coupled with in-depth, searchable websites with demographic information. Regarding staffing, the ED project team will have key members with real experience in manufacturing and/or distribution who can speak the language of the decision-maker. For marketing outreach, since many decisions will be domestic, it will be key for EDOs to maintain a good business retention program, while concurrently becoming much more effective and consistent in international target-marketing to maximize long-term effect. The EDO that has these traits coupled with proven training solutions, will earn their place in the winner’s circle.

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