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June 28, 2022

WMCO: Success through cluster ecosystems: Our industry’s future

Mike Baker WMCO CEO

Success through cluster ecosystems: Our industry's future

By Mike Baker, CEO, Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario

In my last article, we discussed how the culture of our industry is beginning to respond to the need for change.
Today I am going to discuss more of what else is being done globally with wood industry clusters, and some real-live results of cluster ecosystems.
A recent global case study was completed on wood industry clusters that exist all around the world. This is an amazing document worth viewing, and I urge you all to do so. You can read it here through this link: Global Wood Clusters: What the World is Doing. It was completed for the New Zealand Forest Service by Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, Cluster Navigators, and Mats Williams, WilConsulting.

In this document, 17 global wood industry clusters are profiled (including WMCO) and compared. 

First, it is interesting to see how many wood industry clusters there are globally, and so few here in North America. It is also specifically worth noting what some of our global competitors in the wood industry are doing:
Sweden and Austria have two wood industry clusters, and Finland has four; all serving various segments and their ecosystems in their countries. You will see in this report that WMCO is the only wood industry clusters in Canada, and actually in North America by definition. So, lets talk about results; here is an excerpt from this case study report:
A reminder of the cluster definition: Clusters are industry-led and managed organizations that represent one industry, its supply chain, academia, government partners, in one region.
“The European Commission highlights that such clusters matter. It is within these clusters that a region has the better paying jobs, the higher growth businesses, and the more successful start-ups. This is because clustering fosters localised competitive pressures and simultaneously enables better access to pools of skilled labour and specialised infrastructure. Active clustering also facilitates knowledge spill over and the coordination of supply chains. As the international case studies demonstrate, physical co-location is an asset for many of the clusters. Social proximity is essential.”


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