Inbound Logistics | January 2024

Choosing intermodal-adjacent sites, like this CenterPoint Intermodal Center outside of Chicago, helps reduce drayage transportation costs and cut emissions.

Courthouse, in Fayette County, Ohio. “The plant is not near much, but it is near a lot of labor,” Coyne says. And the new factory will need that labor to ll an estimated 2,200 new jobs. In addition, Honda is retooling existing plants in Union, Logan, and Shelby counties for EV production, and adding another 300 or so jobs there. Workforce issues are especially critical now. “It used to be power, utilities, the cost of construction, and incentives, but since the pandemic, it’s labor, labor, labor,” Coyne says. Look toward markets with large university systems, which produce “a heavy pool of young labor, and that tends to attract employers,” he advises. These markets also fuel future growth. “People move to where the jobs are,” he says.

3 Steele adds that site selection decisions typically involve at least the following four steps: • Dene the company’s business strategy and the success parameters for the new or relocated facility. • Develop the site selection criteria, usually phased in such a way as to allow a progressive evaluation from broad to specic, for example from country to region to community. • Examine the communities and sites directly. • Involve three to four sites and communities in detailed discussions and negotiations. Site selection is “very much a systems exercise,” Steele says. “There is no one factor that determines it. There has to be a holistic answer that is good for multiple reasons.” BUILD CONSENSUS Site selection can be completed within three or four months, whether you’re considering a new distribution center, warehouse, or manufacturing facility. Meeting that timeline, however, depends on rst building consensus within your organization so that team members—even with some internal disagreement—are all ultimately on the same page.

Edward (Ned) Hill, professor of economic development in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, proposes the following key 10 steps to build consensus: 1. Assemble your team (internal and consultant). 2. Dene goals, objectives, and key operational concerns. 3. Establish consensus on steps 1 & 2. 4. Dene your business model and corporate culture. 5. Create a project timeline. 6. Establish consensus on steps 3 & 4. 7. Identify factors and variables critical to the company’s success. 8. Establish consensus on step 7. 9. Rank the regions under consideration. 10. Establish consensus on step 9 before commencing to identify specic potential properties. CONSIDER THE LABOR FORCE Deciding where to put your

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS The three rules of real estate— location, location, location—still apply, especially if your customer base is regional and labor is local.



facility “starts and stops with one word—labor,” says Terry Coyne, vice chairman in the Cleveland

That’s why Camrett Logistics, a Wytheville, Virginia-based third- party logistics company, invested more than $2 million to expand its Dublin, Virginia, facility with new construction. It also renovated existing space and purchased new forklifts and electric trucks.

ofce of Newmark, a global commercial real estate advisory and services rm. “Labor completely drives everything.” Coyne points to Honda’s decision, in 2022, to build a $3.5-billion EV battery plant in the small town of Washington

146 Inbound Logistics • January 2024

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