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34th Annual Survey of Corporate Executives Commentary: Robust Information Needed to Satisfy Site Selection Demands

Companies are utilizing advancements in pre-capital planning to select sites to fit their labor force and logistical needs as well as to design their facilities.

Q1 2020
Due to sustained industrial sector growth, readily available resources to support new demands have diminished. As was indicated in survey results, concerns about a constrained labor market to support industry needs has the power to thwart growth momentum. Accessibility to skilled labor is critical to meeting operational goals and, as indicated in survey results, identification of adequate levels of skilled labor is a logically critical driver of site selection and expansion decisions.

Exceedingly low unemployment rates combined with a significant number of workers within proximity to retirement age is forcing a more comprehensive approach to ensuring access to skilled labor. To ensure opportunities to attract needed labor, companies are increasingly interested in localized quality-of-life factors in the site selection process. A healthy, maintained, and supportive community environment provides underpinnings necessary to attract population necessary to support labor demands into the future.

There exists a growing trend in streamlining operations and realigning logistics to more efficiently receive inputs and transport finished goods. In addition, continued acceleration of the e-commerce sector has led to the prioritization of transportation accessibility and condition as critical within the site selection process.

As industrial facilities’ vacancy rates remain in the single digits across the U.S., considerably more companies are desiring to utilize advancements in pre-capital planning to design facilities to fit operational needs. This increase in greenfield development projects has led to an increase in critical site-readiness factors involving utility service, environmental suitability, and a clear understanding of permitting/entitlements timelines.

Soaring technological advancements allow industry leaders to undertake pre-capital planning for new or expanded facilities to levels of accuracy that were only dreamed possible as little as a decade ago. The ability to pinpoint facility sizing requirements, internal production design, infrastructure capacity demands, detailed labor needs, and logistical advantages has improved the efficiency of site selection efforts. The results of the 34th Annual Corporate Survey prove that robust, detailed site and service information is required to effectively satisfy site selection demands.

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