Experts in Site Selection / Economic Development Incentivesinfo@ginovus.com 317.819.0888

Making Data Driven Site Selection Decisions: Location Modeling

W

hen determining the best location to consolidate, expand or locate facilities, a company has several important variables to consider and evaluate. A failure to prioritize and thoroughly research critical issues can lead to a poor site selection decision that will have long term ramifications for an organization.

Site selection is a term that has become somewhat synonymous with incentives.  However, incentives are often just the most visible tip of the iceberg and part of a much deeper and wider process to determine where a business might move to, expand or start up. In some instances, a business may have a strong grasp and clear understanding of their expansion or relocation needs, in which case a rather narrow list can be honed down by comparing the availability and value of incentives.
On the other hand, when there is no clear choice and reasonable options exist in a variety of geographies, further consideration and location modeling is necessary.

Any company contemplating a project should begin their search with detailed analysis. This may seem like common sense, but companies can often become overwhelmed by the volume of information available and the bureaucracy associated with the process. As a result, companies can sometimes miss even the basics in the site selection journey. A professional site selection firm can expertly manage the process, bring expertise and sophistication to the process, and provide critical insight and analysis.

Location modeling is the first step in pinpointing the right location for a company.  In short, location modeling is taking a project’s set of assumptions and evaluating them against the company’s key decision making criteria, in order to position the business to make the best decision possible. Through research, detailed analysis and the weighting of quantitative and qualitative factors, professional site selection firms like Ginovus can provide a clear picture of all locations under consideration.

Conventional wisdom is commonly applied to making a site selection decision, but employing a more focused, data driven process is likely to produce a more certain and beneficial outcome. For example, a company may want to expand into a region where certain industries are concentrated.  This common tendency locates businesses in an area where there is an industry cluster or proximity to similar businesses, suppliers, and even competitors.  In this situation, labor supply may be abundant but demand is also strong.  Competition from other established employers may still make hiring or retention difficult. There may be alternative locations where availability of talent is less abundant but has a softer demand or a friendlier business climate, and still check the other critical boxes for the company.

Site selection can be a complex process with many moving parts.  Labor supply and demand is just one among several potentially important factors.  Accordingly, some site selection professionals have put a great amount of effort into sophisticated methods of collecting and analyzing the data addressing the key decision making factors for a company.  And while a very thorough, broad and complex analysis may showcase a firm’s sophistication and ability to generate a great amount of data, it can also be overwhelming to an audience of decision makers.  While there are indeed many factors to take into consideration, all of them are not critical in every site selection project.  As a result, it is very important to take steps to identify what factors are most important to a company in driving a location decision for a project.

By first identifying what metrics are most impactful to a project’s success, Ginovus takes an approach that is highly tailored and specific, rather than unnecessarily broad.  Some of the most important factors to quantify include human capital, real estate, tax structure, infrastructure, regulatory environment, quality of life and incentive availability.  There also isn’t a single location to access all of this information.  More importantly though, is understanding and interpreting that information in a manner that leads to a successful site selection decision.

When assisting clients, Ginovus weighs the importance of each factor.  Using our proprietary database, we input the data in order to help us score for each site for further analysis.  This approach allows Ginovus to tailor the analysis to meet each client’s needs and adjust the formula as issues arise or the importance of factors change.  We believe this positions our firm to provide the best possible recommendation to a client.  Every project is unique and must be evaluated based upon its own individual set of circumstances.  By identifying the key factors impacting a project, site selection advisors and companies can reach an informed decision.  Carefully designed methodology, when combined with thorough analysis, and sometimes instinct, should lead to a successful outcome.

It’s important to remember that in a process that can quickly and easily have you buried in numbers, and attempting to make a decision with a glut of information to find the best location, requires expert analysis.  You can’t underestimate the importance of the first-hand experience in a site selection firm. Seasoned professionals have seen every type of site selection scenario imaginable and the valuable knowledge obtained from working on an array of projects can never be replaced by online research tools.  A consultant’s level of experience is a defining factor in your success.

Having decades of economic development project management and consulting experience, the professionals at Ginovus provide unmatched expertise as we guide a company through the site selection process.  Our deep relationships within the industry, our unparalleled experience inside the process and our outstanding track record of delivering results for companies, have proven to be the keys to our clients’ success.