The “Site Shepherd” app streamlines the often tedious business site selection process

Have you ever had to make a decision and the data was in multiple places?

For Global localization strategies Founding Director Didi Caldwell, having to update multiple model data for her clients was a common problem.

“Over the past 23 years, I have been doing site selection for companies and the data is contained in several models held in different Excel spreadsheets,” Caldwell said. “It’s very laborious and inefficient. Each time a data changes, you must update it in several models.

With other industries – including the residential real estate market – going digital, Caldwell said she believes the selection of industrial and commercial locations must come out of the 20th century.

Founding Director of Global Location Strategies, Didi Caldwell

The shepherd of the site is born

Once Caldwell and his team identified the technology need, they set out to develop the Site Shepherd app about five years ago.

After initially working with another tech company to develop the app, GLS pivoted and hired Kopis, a Greenville-based software company, in November 2019. Together, the two companies worked to bring Site Shepherd to life, said Caldwell.

After working on four versions, GLS officially launched Site Shepherd at the US Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA virtual conference in June 2021.

What does the app do?

Since deploying 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 filter, rate and financially rate the pros and cons of location data from anywhere in the world.

“We have clients who are considering global locations,” Caldwell said. “They can consider locations in the United States but also in their own country or in other countries.”

While the app is intended for businesses, business development organizations, architects, engineers, contractors, real estate brokers, real estate developers and site selectors, Site Shepherd can also be used to enable clients or stakeholders to see the site selection data earlier and collaborate as they explore their options, Caldwell said.

In addition, Site Shepherd allows the user to fully customize the rating scales, the types of criteria to be rated and how the rating works.

“The ability to customize within the app really opens up limitless possibilities,” Caldwell said. “We designed the app to allow location decision makers in companies considering new capital investments to choose locations that best meet their cost and quality requirements. But the flexibility built into the app ultimately means you can use this app to make any decisions where you weigh the trade-offs in cost and quality. Everyone wants high quality, but at what cost? For example, you can use the tool to decide which house or car to buy or which university to attend.

The Shepherd site is available on any Internet platform but is not designed for mobile use.

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