The diminishing impact of clusters in global supply chains

An article in the Economist (April 16, 2011) describes the diminishing fortunes of clusters in Italy – cotton fabrics, jewelry, brass fittings etc.  Italy has over 100 such clusters, developed around generations of skill development and access to natural resources. Clusters were prized as aiding productivity improvement and innovation by Michael Porter.  But the dwindling fortunes of such agglomerations as their buyers turn to global sources demonstrates their fragility. As individual firms move away from focused industries to a portfolio of products to ensure survival, the question arises: Are clusters too fragile to be justified in a global supply chain ? Is there an alternative grouping of companies with differing skills that may be more appropriate in a global supply chain context than firms with similar skills ?  How should clusters in Italy evolve to survive their current challenges of higher cost and not enough intellectual property to be globally competitive ?

About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Global Contexts, Operations Management, Supply Chain Issues and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s