Thinking about Manufacturing Clusters

Manufacturing clusters started forming a long, long time ago. Firms located nearby, and working in a given market benefited from building strong local relationships. But shouldn’t globalization change all that? Well, according to this Forbes article, it has and it has not. In some cases, clusters have fallen apart. In others, they have thrived. What is going on?

The answer is that the thriving clusters have a “knowledge integrator” That is a firm that connects the cluster to the global market and keeps innovation moving.  This is pretty interesting. It opens a field of inquiry – role differentiation in business partnering.

Here is a lesson learned.

When making supply chain decisions, executives need to understand it’s more nuanced than global versus local. “In some cases global means everything is scattered, and nothing has to be close to each other. But in others you are global in terms of supplying a global market but from a clustered location,”

And I think this way of thinking applies to development of human resources as well.


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