Site selection projects emerge because of several corporate circumstances and events. As a business leader, you might seek a new location for reasons such as entering a new market, increasing costs at your current location, lack of workforce, or regulatory changes, among others. Site selection only happens every so often, and you most likely do not have an internal team with the skills or experience to ensure an optimal outcome. Working with one or more site selection professionals to design, manage, and execute this process will help to minimize potential risks and avoid common mistakes.
The site selection process itself has become increasingly complex over time and, most times, crucial elements are forgotten. Here are a few of the common oversights Choose New Jersey finds business leaders might want to note.
#1 What are your current property assets?
Many companies, especially those with large portfolios, should evaluate the expansion viability of their existing buildings and landholdings. Current property assets and site requirements should be assessed regularly to ensure the best deployment strategy is chosen. Greenfield sites are appealing options since they are untouched land and usually in very good condition to develop on. Expanding on a site you already have might be the most cost-effective approach.
#2 Do you have stakeholders to get on board?
Your site selection team should be cross-functional and include people with specific technical skills and diverse subject-matter expertise. A well-rounded team comprises the top talent from each of your business departments most affected by the project, such as human resources, accounting, finance, supply chain/logistics, etc. Also, decision-making needs to involve C-suite executives and other key stakeholders to build consensus and avoid the risk of identifying key location criteria too late in the process or not at all. Failing to engage stakeholders early on could cost your organization a significant amount of time, money, and resources.
#3 What are your workforce requirements?
Analyzing workforce needs for a new facility is another key factor that companies tend to overlook. A solid workforce planning process helps your HR team and organization, including:
- Examining the current use of your workforce
- Forecasting future conditions and environments in your company based on existing and emerging trends
- Identifying issues with repeated understaffing in specific departments
- Exploring staffing competencies and specifying the percentage of new hires that must have direct industry and functional experience
- Finding and introducing gap reduction strategies to ensure consistent coverage
- Calculating the duration of the recruiting, onboarding, and training period for the planned facility
- Determining workforce training program availability and talent pipeline from local universities
Access to skilled labor is arguably one of the most important considerations in site selection, and unfortunately, it’s becoming harder to find exactly the talent you want. That’s why companies must be diligent and avoid settling on a location where the labor market cannot support workforce requirements.
4. Are you choosing the location just for the deal?
Steer away from selecting a final business location based on the attractiveness of the real estate deal. The right building/site, along with the availability of utilities and infrastructure, are necessary considerations. However, future success will depend on several other factors, including the ability to recruit and keep a skilled workforce. It’s worth spending a little extra money on a space that meets all of your needs and fosters the growth you are looking to achieve.
5. Have you conducted an in-depth analysis of the search area?
In an effort to accelerate the site selection process, companies may be tempted to eliminate large geographical areas, including whole states and countries. However, it’s important to do the in-depth research necessary to avoid missing out on favorable location opportunities. Spend some time creating a list of location factors you want to prioritize, then add specific values to these factors so they can be measured and compared among prospects.
6. Have you considered community trends?
Community trends – politics, demographics, labor and real estate markets, environmental issues, etc. – change and evolve from year to year. Communities themselves are organized around businesses and brands and provide notable opportunities for companies around the world. In order to succeed in a particular market, as a business owner, you must pay attention to what’s going on around you, build relationships, and respond appropriately.
Select New Jersey for your business site
New Jersey’s highly educated workforce, strategic East Coast location, world-class infrastructure, and unmatched quality of life are among the many reasons it has become a prime destination for relocation and expansion.
Major NJ Successes in 2021
Last year, dozens of companies have relocated or expanded in New Jersey seeking an available talent pool and proximity to major markets. A few of Choose New Jersey’s most impactful business attraction projects from 2021 include:
- Fiserv, a Fortune 500 fintech company, is expanding its footprint here with a Berkeley Heights office employing 3,000 technology workers.
- Princeton-based global VC firm SOSV is choosing Newark to be the home of the new HAX headquarters and accelerator. After a competitive search, SOSV ultimately decided that Newark would be the best place to support the growth of hard tech startups.
- Freshly, the leading provider of prepared meals in the U.S., is expanding in New Jersey with a second assembly and distribution facility in East Greenwich.
How Choose NEw Jersey can help you
Choose New Jersey is New Jersey’s leading economic development organization. We assist companies with site selection by leveraging our relationships with local economic development organizations and the real estate community. Our team can search our databases for available properties that meet your specific requirements, as well as sites that aren’t listed on public domains. We can also help to arrange in-person site visits and ensure a smooth landing for your business. Do you want to get more insight into site selection trends and predictions? Looking for additional information regarding relocation and expansion resources? Connect with a member of our business development team today to learn more.
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