In today’s world when it is even more important for leaders to focus on core business functions, external professional advisors are increasingly assisting companies with key initiatives and projects. As a result, it is vital for businesses to select the right partner to help them with issues that impact performance.
When companies need to make decisions regarding where to expand, consolidate or locate facilities, many corporate leaders engage a site location advisor to guide the process. Most businesses do not undertake facility projects on a routine basis, so it is understandable that they turn to organizations that work on these types of projects every day.
Companies must consider a myriad of factors when deciding where to deploy capital and hire employees. Many of the issues are complex in nature and if not evaluated properly, can lead to costly decisions and diminished outcomes. As the old adage says, "focus on what you are really good at and enlist talented people to help you with the other things."
When it comes to site location decisions, many factors come into play and every project has its own nuances, but the items below apply in most cases.
- Tax Structure
- Real Estate
- Economic Development Incentives
- Financial Stability
- Supply Chain
- Quality of Life
?Businesses need to have a thorough understanding of these issues (and others) in order to make the most informed decision possible regarding the best location for their project. Given the capital expenditures associated with site location decisions, companies want to get it right the first time or the consequences can be devastating.
It is also very important for a company to have a clear project of what it is trying to accomplish (reducing costs, accessing better talent, etc.) with their proposed project. Understanding what your goals are for the project plays an important role in shaping the underlying assumptions and objectives for the company. A strong professional advisor can help you structure an approach to accomplish the desired results.
So, how do you go about finding the best professional advisor for your project in order to leverage desired outcome?
Evaluate Firms Thoroughly
- Experience alone is not enough. Prospective partner firms should have experience with your industry sector, scope and size of project, and key issues shaping the company’s decision making process.
- Relationships, process methodology and sample work product should also be considered when evaluating firms.
- Speak with references to gain important insight and perspective.
- Be very wary of firms that negative sell against its competitors. This is usually reflective of an organization that lacks the skill set, experience and/or relationships to deliver desired results.
Once you’ve selected the right partner, where do you go from there? It is important for the company to stay engaged in the process, but at the same time, empower the firm you hired to go do what they do best. It is a team effort and each party has a critical role in the process. The client should share key assumptions/requirements, geographical areas of interest, a timeline for the process and key deliverables. The professional advisor should recommend how to weight important factors, provide insights regarding potential locations, share consistent feedback throughout the process and summarize key findings as a part of the recommendation process.
It is now the moment of truth, you need to make a final decision regarding the location of your facility project. At the end of the process, there are likely to be a few options that will work for your project. Key data and analysis is very instructive during the decision making process, but so are your instincts. It is amazing what happens in the process and how it shapes the decision making process. Interaction with people in the finalist locations can also profoundly shape thinking. Key feedback shared by other businesses currently operating in the area, the alignment of local, regional and state officials in the process and the past track record of the area on other projects can be very helpful.
In conclusion, engaging the best site location advisor for your project is critical to achieving success. The firm can help you optimize results, mitigate risk and position you with all of the facts the make the best decision you can. Most companies do not undertake site location projects very often and when they do, you need the right team in place because decisions will have long-term ramifications.
Larry Gigerich is executive managing director of Ginovus.