Minimizing Risks in the Site Selection Process

Brandon Talbert, Location Consultant with Austin Consulting

Whether we are walking across the street or rushing to the airport to catch a flight, every decision we make in life carries some degree of risk. Business decisions are no different and often have the potential to affect many individuals, either positively or negatively.

Whether a company is seeking to increase efficiency by investing in new production machinery or serve new markets by expanding operations through establishment of a new production facility, there is always a risk that the decision does not meet the expectations or achieve the desired results.

Prior to the U.S. market downturn of 2008, many companies had recently made significant investments in their business. The resulting downturn forced thousands of companies to close or downsize offices, production plants, and other facilities. Lost revenues, worker layoffs, and permanent closures were just some of the devastating effects. Since that time, companies have become increasingly more risk averse and cautious in making big decisions, especially those requiring significant capital expenditures.

While most of us have little control over fluctuations in the global economy, there are some things we can do to control many of the risk factors that impact our business decisions. At Austin Consulting, risk mitigation is a primary objective, as we perform detailed due diligence and assist our clients in determining where to locate new production plants and other facilities.

Identifying communities that can provide an adequate and cost-effective workforce that possess the skillsets required to support the new operation is critical to long-term success. As the cost of transportation continues to rise, selecting a location that offers favorable transportation costs and access to major suppliers and key customers is most likely critical to your competitiveness in your new location. Other issues, such as utility capacity and quality, environmental liabilities, and geotechnical considerations are all factors that can impact a project from a cost and time perspective.

Of course, every project is unique and carries its own set of risk factors. Proper planning and due diligence brings these questions and issues to light earlier in the process in order to avoid obstacles later that can delay your project or result in unexpected costs. While risk cannot be eliminated from the site location process, it can certainly be minimized through Austin Consulting’s detailed analysis that provides a foundation for intelligent decision making.