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September 2019 


Message From Our President 

Having been in both the private and public site selection business for most of my career, one element of fascination for me has been watching some companies (that SDG did not represent) make site location errors that have enormous short- and long-term cost consequences. 

Reasons for not hiring qualified site selection consultants like SDG are many. Some companies will tell us that they believe the cost of hiring an outside professional are too expensive and will provide little value, when in fact, a professional consultant can save companies exponentially more money than the fees paid to the consultant. Other companies will say they are not interested in professional site selection services because “the State is helping us”. These companies are overlooking the fact that the State does not have the company’s best interest at heart; they are only focused on securing new jobs and capital investment for their citizens. Lastly, we often hear that other companies are providing site selection services for “free,” but as we all know, there is no such thing as a free lunch. 

The fact is, site selection is much more than a real estate or incentives decision.  If companies are not represented by unbiased experts that engage in site selection activities every day, the exposure to overall business risk and  long-term costs will surely be millions of dollars, and likely billions for larger investments.  SDG continually strives to maintain our longstanding reputation of building strategic partnerships with our clients to ensure they select the best sites and generate the best financial outcomes.

In this Fall issue of the SDG newsletter, we’ll reflect on the top ten list of mistakes we see made by many companies in the site selection process. We will also reflect on SDG’s growing industrial site evaluation program and the status of our project backlog as we close out 2019. SDG remains focused on giving back to our community and the US and as such we enjoyed taking a group of South Carolina teachers to Bridgestone’s off-road tire facility in Aiken. 

As always, we appreciate our client's and prospective client's review of our newsletter, our mutual pursuit of business success, and SDG’s focus on finding Optimal locations and providing Superior Service.

SDG’s Perspective on 2019

SDG’s site location backlog for 2019 has been relatively strong. So far this year, we’ve directed site location projects with capital investment potential of over $1.3 billion in sectors including construction materials, transportation, chemical, and life sciences across 20 US states. Tariffs have boosted our project activity in some sectors while they have caused business concern and project cancellations in others. 

We anticipate that trade volatility and the upcoming Presidential election will not reduce the number of site selection projects but may delay final decisions.

Earlier this year, SDG completed a site identification project for Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative in South Carolina. SDG was tasked with identifying new industrial and mixed-use sites throughout Mid-Carolina’s service territory. Using GIS technology, SDG identified areas of the territory located in close proximity to transportation infrastructure and utilities while avoiding areas with wetlands or flood plain issues. Based on that screening and SDG's extensive site selection experience, we identified specific tracts that had the highest potential for industrial and mixed-use development and made recommendations to assist Mid-Carolina in the further advancement of those potential sites. SDG enjoys strategic partnerships with utility companies across the county and helping to identify new product appropriate for capital investment and new job creation. We look forward to seeing new product in the Mid-Carolina service territory in the near future.

SDG is currently wrapping up site and community evaluations in Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina for Duke Energy’s annual Site Readiness Program. Although site selection is the core of our business at SDG, often we partner with utilities and communities to evaluate potential industrial sites from a third-party perspective. 

Duke Energy has committed to assisting communities in their service territory by investing in this Site Readiness Program, which allows expert consulting firms like SDG to inspect new sites and develop targeted recommendations for the improvement of those sites. We continually strive to navigate our clients toward optimal locations that provide the best environment for long-term business success. Through our partnership with Duke Energy, we are able to assess, improve, and increase awareness of industrial sites through this important program.

In their recent spotlight on SDG, Columbia Business Monthly spoke with company president, Mark Williams, about the changing trends in the selection industry and the value professional site selection consultants create for the clients they serve. You can view the full article and read more about Mark’s comments.

Top 10 Site Selection Errors  

Over the last several months, SDG has published on LinkedIn a series of the most common mistakes made by companies who do not use qualified advisors for site selection projects. Engaging competent site selection experts, like SDG, is an investment with profound payback. Our approach to site selection is based on decades of experience in the private and public sector and is focused only on what drives client success, not commissions, political goals, or upselling other services. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to projects completed without a site selection expert. Imagine the cost of operating with some of the following disadvantages, year-over-year, during the life of a facility because of a less than optimal site selection process:

  • An unqualified labor force with high turnover, poor quality management, and inability to adapt to new technology. 
  • Risk of unionization
  • Lack of competition related to electricity or rail service
  • Poor logistics network that can results in additional travel miles, delays, and higher costs
  • A site that costs millions of dollars more to develop than anticipated due to a lack of site due diligence
We think you will enjoy these reflections on the most common mistakes we observe in site selection today and hope you’ll give us a call or send an email to speak with us about your next project. 

SDG’s Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility: Focus on Workforce 

SDG remains active in philanthropic activities that advance education and promote the well-being and success of children as they prepare to move into the workforce. 

Today's advanced manufacturing facilities have little resemblance to those from a generation ago. Each year, to help ensure that South Carolina’s teachers and students are aware of the quality jobs that exist in manufacturing, SDG sponsors a day-long teacher bus tour to strategic partners in South Carolina’s manufacturing family. Bridgestone's Aiken Off Road Tire Facility hosted the event in July and did a fantastic job of briefing teachers on the latest workforce needs at their Aiken operations and showing these educators what a modern manufacturing floor actually looks like.

Copyright © 2018 Strategic Development Group, All rights reserved.

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