Evaluating a Location

Consider a company that has a facility located in your local area. This could be a big-box store like Walmart, an automobile manufacturer like Kia, a financial services group like Citibank, or any other company of interest.

Why do you suppose the company chose that location? Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of that location, and be sure to describe how the location affects other facets of the company, its trading partners (i.e., the supply chain), and the local/regional area.
It is certainly true that the three most important rules of real estate are location, location, location. The same can be said about the locations chosen for manufacturing or service operations, sales facilities, or other supply chain functions such as distribution centers and warehouses. There is a wide variety of criteria that must be considered when deciding where to locate a certain facility. Is transportation available nearby? Is there a qualified workforce in the local area? Is it within a reasonable proximity to the end-customer? Is the area businessfriendly (e.g., are corporate taxes high or regulations unreasonable?). These are just a few of the qualitative and quantitative criteria that need to be considered.

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Facility layout will also be discussed in this module. In essence, it is necessary to follow similar principles when designing the layout of a facility as would be followed when choosing a location. For instance, one needs to make sure that key areas are accessible and that the flow of products and services is smooth and uninterrupted. There are also certain layouts that are best suited for certain types of operations. These different layouts and other ways to maximize the revenue per square foot metric will be discussed.

Considerable ground has been covered in this course already. The topics might seem diverse, but hopefully you see how topics such as forecasting, project management, location decisions, and others come together to support a firm’s operations. The completion of Milestone Two in this module will help to reinforce the material learned from the readings by providing the opportunity to apply these concepts to the context of the case study.

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