Leading site selection firm Global Location Strategies (GLS) has developed a cloud-based analytic platform for location benchmarking. Called Site Shepherd™, the digital app allows users to screen, score, and financially assess location data in an effort to deliver optimal location recommendations from anywhere in the world.
Location benchmarking is the process of comparing location advantages and disadvantages to determine the most competitive regions, sites, or buildings for new business operations.
Site Shepherd is the brainchild of GLS Founding Principal Didi Caldwell who says, “Site Shepherd was developed as a way to tame the big data tsunami that is required to make clear, strategic location decisions. What previously took weeks and multiple spreadsheets to decipher may now be achieved in a single platform often in a matter of days or even hours with Site Shepherd.”
With Site Shepherd, users eliminate the need for spreadsheets by importing site-specific data into their personal cloud-based storage. The smart technology platform analyzes and scores sites based on user-defined criteria and provides visual insights and recommendations on the optimal location for a new business. Using data-driven analytics, Site Shepherd eliminates human bias and strategically mines a high volume of data points to pinpoint potential locations.
For example, a typical location benchmarking analysis of an automotive manufacturing plant could involve evaluating 50 sites from around the world. The project manager may receive as many as 500 datapoints per site for a cumulative total of 25,000 datapoints. In the past, these tens of thousands of datapoints were managed in spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel, requiring data transposition into various analytical models and multiple touchpoints any time a piece of data was updated. With Site Shepherd, the same data is imported to a cloud-based database, reducing processing time drastically. Anytime an update is made to a data point, the information automatically rolls into all of the analytical models – Must Screening, Want Conditional Scoring, and Financial Assessment.
In addition to saving time, Site Shepherd also offers:
- High-volume location data management. Users may upload their own location data or import it from Lasso, a location data collection application.
- Full customization. You determine the locations you want to compare and develop the criteria that are important for your decision.
- Project Templates. Don’t start from scratch. Start with a project profile built-in with detailed project criteria by industry sector and subsector.
- Fatal flaw analysis. Screen locations for fatal flaw first with the “must” analytic.
- Weighted comparative scoring of locations. Compare locations across any criteria and with any scoring scale
- Financial analysis for operating cost, investment cost, revenue, and ESG cost.
- Geospatial visualization powered by Mapbox.
- Site selection analytic visualization powered by PowerBI.
Site Shepherd is geared toward those that prefer to self-perform the site selection process. Primary users include corporations, economic development organizations, architects, engineers, contractors, real estate brokers, real estate developers, and site selectors.
Caldwell says GLS has been developing the technology for the past five years and after 12 months of successful beta testing, she is confident of Site Shepherd’s accuracy and market demand.
“There will still be many enterprise-level companies that require the personal services of a professional site selection consultant for location analysis, but for the vast majority of companies there is Site Shepherd,” she says.
GLS will officially unveil Site Shepherd this week at the virtual SelectUSA conference June 7-11. Registered attendees can find GLS under the title “Site Selection Tech” in the exhibitor section of the virtual conference platform where they may schedule a time to demo the software.