From Industrial Roots to Strategic Imperative: The Evolution of Corporate Site Selection

by King White, on May 8, 2024 8:00:00 AM

In today’s rapidly changing corporate location strategies, the importance of site selection cannot be overstated. Corporate site selection, once a basic task focused merely on logistical convenience and cost-effectiveness, has transformed into a sophisticated discipline that integrates multiple facets of corporate strategy and planning. This blog explores the evolution of site selection, from its industrial age origins to its current role as a strategic function within global businesses.

The origins of site selection

The concept of site selection began during the Industrial Revolution when the proximity to raw materials and the availability of labor were the primary concerns. The simplistic criteria of the past were sufficient for the needs of industries during that era. However, as the global economic landscape expanded dramatically after World War II, so too did the factors influencing site selection. Access to markets, logistics and transportation infrastructure began to play critical roles.

An evolution through the decades

By the 1970s and 1980s, as companies faced an increasingly competitive international market, the need for a more methodical approach became apparent. The introduction of quantitative models and demographic data allowed companies to make more informed decisions, integrating demographics, economic forecasting and competitor analytics into the site selection process.

The 1990s ushered in an era of globalization, with advances in technology and the internet reshaping the corporate landscape. Companies began to look beyond their national borders, making site selection an integral part of global strategy. This period also saw the beginning of significant outsourcing and the offshoring of manufacturing and call center jobs, influenced heavily by site selection strategies.

From the 2000s onward, site selection has increasingly relied on advanced analytics, geographic information systems (GIS) and new platforms driven by artificial intelligence. These technologies have refined the accuracy of site analyses, allowing companies to align their site selection with broader strategic objectives, including market reach, talent acquisition and operational efficiency.

Modern site selection: A strategic function

Today, site selection transcends mere cost considerations; it involves complex demographic and economic trend analysis, evaluating political stability, economic incentives, supply chain modeling, environmental factors and cultural fit. This holistic approach ensures that chosen sites support not only immediate business needs but also long-term strategic goals. 

How Site Selection Group emerged as a leader in the industry

At Site Selection Group, we understand the multifaceted nature of modern site selection. As one of the largest private firms specializing in global site selection consulting, economic incentive negotiations and corporate real estate services, we bring a comprehensive, tailored approach to each client. Our expertise spans various facility types including manufacturing plants, distribution centers, headquarters, call centers, data centers, retail and corporate real estate types.

Our clients, such as T-Mobile, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Canadian Solar, Humana and Medtronic, trust us to provide not only insights but also actionable solutions that drive their success. Whether navigating complex economic incentive negotiations or aligning site selection with corporate sustainability goals, Site Selection Group is equipped to guide companies through the intricacies of the modern site selection process.


The field of corporate site selection has evolved significantly, influenced by economic, technological and societal changes. In this complex environment, having a knowledgeable and experienced partner like Site Selection Group can provide your company with the strategic support necessary to thrive. We invite you to leverage our expertise and track record of success to optimize your site selection strategy.




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