By Michelle Comerford
The supply chain and operational disruptions triggered by the Covid pandemic and geopolitical concerns have forced many companies to rethink their global manufacturing footprints, prompting an increased demand for new facilities both in the U.S. and abroad. More than ever, a carefully managed and thorough site selection process is critical in operational and facility planning because it significantly impacts the upfront investment costs and future operating costs and mitigates overall risk for the facility in the long term.
Selecting a location requires orchestrating a daunting range of internal and external resources, data points, and information. A solution to this challenge is for companies to hire a professional site selection consultant to assist in location strategies advising and decision-making. The site selector functions as a specialized management consultant, serving as the company’s advocate and advisor, and assisting a company in formulating its site selection process, data gathering, and location analysis.
Companies should be aware of the many benefits that come with working with a site selection consultant, and here are five reasons you and your team can benefit.
1. It saves money. A company incurs the cost of having internal staff analyze and negotiate incentives or hiring an outside consultant. While relying on an internal team typically results in a lower hourly fee, it also requires a higher number of hours as internal staff often lack established processes, contacts, and familiarity with data sources.
One of our clients at BLS & Co. is MycoWorks, a biotech materials “start-up” company, and our firm worked closely with and acted as an extension of their team to guide the site selection process from beginning to end. The company, which was looking to ramp up commercial scale production with an internal team already stretched with responsibilities, ultimately selected Union, SC for its first commercial scale manufacturing facility, which is currently under construction and set to begin production by Q1 2024.
2. It shapes the incentive negotiations. Securing incentives is often a complex and rigorous process, with many legal, financial, and political nuances that can vary based on the type and scale of a project and the jurisdictions involved. An experienced site selection consultant drives greater incentive value by simply knowing what possibilities exist. They use previous knowledge to find new applications for existing incentives, assist in the passage of new legislation when appropriate, and negotiate based on best practices drawn from other regions of the country. They understand that incentive packages need to be carefully constructed to allow the company the greatest possible flexibility for future hiring and investment and push for the most favorable outcome for clients. Site selection consultants help create incentive strategies and solutions that create value for clients and lasting benefits for their communities.