Personal note from Joe Vranich ….
You are thinking of launching a site selection project but are unsure where to start. That’s understandable because such a project can seem intimidating. Below, I’m sharing with you the questions that I’m routinely asked during a get-acquainted session – queries that arise when company leaders are just considering a location project. The questions come from people in all types of enterprises from large corporations to privately held small businesses.
Feel free to ask me any of these questions or others that may be on your mind. My responses vary depending upon what type of industry you are in and what timeline you have in mind, but in all cases I’ll help de-mystify a location or relocation project. During a get-acquainted call I make no sales pitch – the entire session is centered on you and your challenges. You are guaranteed confidentiality right from the start, but if you want me to sign your Non-Disclosure Agreement before we speak I can do so.
About the Site Selection Process
• How do we start and what are the phases of a site selection project?
• We want to move our back office out-of-state – how long does it usually take from completing the first strategic site study to when we dedicate the new space?
• Several economic development agencies already know about our plans to move our assembly plant – what negotiating strategies should I keep in mind if I remain in contact with them?
Rating the Locations
• You are known for a due diligence process that identifies the worst states for business and the best states for business – what criteria do you use in your evaluations?
Evaluating Costs and Regulations
• We want to find a low-cost operating environment – what metrics will you use to evaluate labor costs and operating costs in candidate locations?
• My company pays a myriad of taxes and fees to government agencies – how do you navigate the tax maze in different locations to provide findings that we can compare to where we are today?
• We manufacture a specialty product that uses a solvent and are concerned about regulations – how do you evaluate regulatory environments elsewhere?
• How do we launch a project without my employees learning about it prematurely?
• Human Resources wants to know – in developing a moving plan for our headquarters, what percentage of the total employee head count usually agrees to transfer?
• To induce workers to move, what is included in a typical relocation package?
• Prior to closing our factory, what type of retention bonus should I offer our key employees who are staying to keep our operations running to the final day?
• What does a “location quotient” mean when I’m recruiting a new workforce and does your demographic analysis include labor trends?
• What local resources are available to help us with our talent search and our worker training needs?
Quality of Life
• What quality-of-life factors are covered in a community assessment? Affordable housing? Quality of schools? Commuting times? Climate? Recreational opportunities? Extent of crime?
• In planning our new distribution center, how much can you help match our requirements for proximity to a good airport, freight rail lines and Interstate highways?
• With a growing customer base, we need to adjust our supply chain – can you help with a logistics study?
• We are uncertain if we should rent a warehouse – what information can you provide for each location on rents, lease terms. Or, if we build – what about land acquisition costs, permitting requirements and construction costs?
• Should we consider only those locations for our factory that offer site certifications for their sites or are we limiting ourselves too much?
• Are you able to evaluate progress toward 5G broadband to determine if a locality’s rules or high access fees will result in delays to implementation?
• We have demanding requirements for electric power and need to know factors like the System Average Interruption Duration and Customer Average Interruption Frequency – do you obtain such technical information?
• As a heavy energy user, we want to evaluate rates for electric power, natural gas, water and sewer – and only after we are satisfied with cost findings will we consider a community a prospect. How quickly can we receive that information?
• How much insight can you provide on economic incentives, how we can obtain incentives, and what we need to do to avoid clawbacks or rescissions?
• What is the “Economic Impact Analysis” that sometimes is required to qualify for incentives?
• One community is working to attract us because we are part of the industry cluster they are targeting. In that case, how much of a better chance do we have of qualifying for incentives?
• I know that our identity can be kept from agencies in candidate locations, but how do we obtain the maximum in incentives if we remain anonymous?
• During site visits, are you able to arrange meetings with CEOs of non-competing companies to learn of their experiences in their location?
• Certain university engineering programs are critical to us – can you arrange for us to meet with department heads?
• I run a small business with only twenty jobs – are economic development agencies going to provide much help for my project?
Questions About Joe
• As a boutique operator, what types of alliances do you have with other firms to handle a complex, multi-faceted project?
• You are known for tracking companies leaving California. How many companies have left and what reasons do they give for doing so?
To conclude, I’ll repeat something that has become my mantra: There is no such thing as a “perfect” community, an “ideal” city, or a “matchless” region. But there are “optimal” locations that meet your current and future business needs.
To schedule a no-cost, no-obligation appointment, please call me at 800-508-5138 – Joe Vranich.