What are Location Strategies?
Location is all about place.
On this site, "Location Strategies" in particular is about the business place (vs. living and leisure places).
We spend a great deal of our waking hours at work of some type, and while the form and nature of the
traditional work place is certainly changing, having a place to work is not.
Even in this increasing digital world, the physical place still plays an important role
Location is also about the space-time continuum.
Very little happens at a single place anymore, so location is also about the relationship between places, even
the integration of physical and virtual locations.
Work flow is just that - a sequence of activities that create something of value to someone else, somewhere else.
Whether the work entails making a widget, creating digital information, delivering a physical good, or providing a service doesn't really matter.
All these efforts require not just a place to do it, but connections between the place(s) the work is done,
the source of the work inputs (materials, information, skills, energy) and the destination of the work output (customer in the broadest sense).
Your organization's work locations (facilities, buildings & grounds, properties, field work...) are a major expense item, probably second only to your people so they deserve some strategy. In addition to the direct financial impact, the physical work environment provided by your locations either helps provides your organization with a competitive advantage, or gets in the way.
Strategy is about clearly understanding your goal and taking proactive steps to get there.
The most common objectives for most businesses have to do with the quality of their product or service,
their ability to satisfy their stakeholders, their profitability (efficiency, longevity),
and their social/environmental impact (community benefits, environmental sustainability).
Sometimes the goal is to optimize one of these objectives, but most often it is a "balanced scorecard" that
has to consider multiple, competing requirements.
Operational strategies also include the tactics used to execute the larger strategy.
These tactics will reflect the constraints of the day:
How good is your information? What resources are available? Who will take action? When does it need to be done?
What are the consequences? What else has to be done at the same time with the same resources?
Your organization's location strategy will reflect both the larger organizational goal and strategies, and the implications associated with the locations themselves (facilities, buildings & grounds, properties...). The strategies around facilities are typically related to asset management and operational excellence.
Alignment of the facilities strategies with the business goals is the best way to leverage these
assets and provide value to the organization.
By applying methodical approaches to the physical work place, you can project the organization's image inside and out,
provide attractive and productive enviroments for workers and customers, and even drive or re-inforce changes in the organization.
Having a Strategic Facility Plan is the best way to be document your projected needs and coordinate facility activites towards the desired direction. The more explicit your plan, the easier it is to communicate, but also the more effort required to create and update it. We believe it is so important to have a plan that you need to develop one with whatever level of time and resources you have available. You can start with a high level assessment of your location assets with repect to your anticipated needs, and improve from there. After all, if you don't have a GPS to guide you, even a compass can be handy.