A reputable site consultant at a business services company working around the world approached me in recent weeks with concerns about the location analytics business. He had just been involved in lengthy meetings abroad with a multinational company about to make substantial investments, and government and investment promotion agency staff hoping to win that investment. Looking back on those meetings and recalling other discussions between investors and their project partners, he sees potential disconnects that could easily jeopardize projects — or land them in the wrong place.
One of the concerns is the overreliance on data and algorithms when analyzing costs (labour, real estate) and other factors. As useful as they may be, do they necessarily paint the best picture of a site’s long-term viability? Should they replace on-the-ground expertise in labor supply and other critical needs?
Now more than ever, says the consultant, companies investing in facilities want two things: certainty in an uncertain global business climate and a close partnership with their service providers and on-site representatives. Certainty is elusive, of course. Black swans like the pandemic are virtually impossible to predict. But investors can come together if all parties working on the localization equation work as a team, not as experts in their own silos. To the second requirement, haven’t investors always wanted strong and productive working relationships with project participants? Yes, but maybe it’s time for a wake-up call on this.
Some of the qualities he sees as being in high demand by investors include clarity of location options, old-fashioned kicking rather than reliance on data modeling and other tools, and an increased willingness to team up to find creative solutions under difficult deadlines. In other words, they want risk managers more than computer programs, although computer programs have a role to play. We will come back to this subject in due course. The consultant has agreed to amplify his concerns in our pages so that investors can consider them when choosing partners for capital investment projects – and have a higher degree of confidence that these projects will succeed on all fronts. .
In the meantime, we salute in this issue the successful projects in Canada that have helped make certain provinces and metropolitan areas the best locations for 2022. We cover Canadian projects all year round, but this report recognizes the regions of Canada that are working so strong to attract them. . This issue also recognizes Top Utilities and their economic development teams who have played a vital role in bringing investment and jobs to their service areas.
Until next time,
Mark Arend, editor