Have you ever had to make a decision and the data was in multiple places? For Global Location Strategies founding principal Didi Caldwell, having to update data across multiple models for her clients was a common problem.
“For the last 23 years I have been doing site selection for corporations and the data is contained in multiple models kept in different Excel spreadsheets,” said Caldwell. “It’s very labor-intensive and inefficient. Any time one piece of data changes, you have to update it in multiple models.”
With other industries — including the residential real estate market — going digital, Caldwell said she felt industrial and commercial site selection needed to come out of the 20th century.
SITE SHEPHERD IS BORN
Once Caldwell and her team identified the technological need, they set out to develop the Site Shepherd app about five years ago. After initially working with another technology company to develop the app, GLS pivoted and hired Kopis, a software company based in Greenville, in November 2019. Together, the two companies worked to bring Site Shepherd to life, said Caldwell. After working through four versions, GLS officially launched Site Shepherd at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s virtual SelectUSA conference in June 2021.
WHAT DOES THE APP DO?
Since rolling out globally, Site Shepherd has eliminated the need for a site selector or site selection company to use spreadsheets to compare site-specific data. The app will allow users to screen, score, and financially assess a location data’s advantages and disadvantages from anywhere in the world.
“We have clients that are considering global locations,” Caldwell said. “They may be considering locations in the U.S. but also in their own countries or other countries.”
While the app is geared for corporations, economic development organizations, architects, engineers, contractors, real estate brokers, real estate developers, and site selectors, Site Shepherd may also be used to allow clients or stakeholders to see the site selection data earlier and collaborate as they explore their options, said Caldwell. addition, Site Shepherd allows the user to fully customize what the scoring scales are, the types of criteria to be scored, and how scoring works.
“The ability to customize within the app really opens up limitless possibilities,” Caldwell said. “We designed the app to allow corporate location decision-makers considering new capital investment to choose which locations best meet their needs on both cost and quality criteria. But the flexibility that is built into the app ultimately means you can use this app to make any decisions where you are weighing the tradeoffs of cost and quality. Everyone wants high quality, but at what cost? For example, you could use the tool to decide which house or car to buy or which college to attend.”
Site Shepherd is available on any internet platform but is not designed for mobile use.
Written by Jeannie Putnam and originally printed in Upstate Business Journal’s July 2021 Magazine (Page 31)