Relationship Builder

Are logistic clusters competitive?

Can business benefit from co-location with other businesses in their same industry?  This is the question that Dr. Sheffi poses in his book “Logistics Clusters: Delivering Value and Driving Growth” which he also presented in a webinar sponsored by UPS and Harvard Business Review.

He uses many examples to support his argument, particularly Silcon Valley.  The clustering of the technology industry in this area attracts top talent to the area, supported by top universities, and because the top talent is in the area the natural consequence is to promote innovation which drives growth and profits.

In Canada, as I listened to Dr. Sheffi, the obvious example that came to me is the trucking industry located in Winnipeg.  There are many national and international trucking companies located in Winnipeg mostly because it is central to Canada and the USA and has access to the rail system so it can keep costs competitive for customers.  Based on what Dr. Sheffi’s thesis, lets say these same trucking companies decide to co-locate in Winnipeg.  The advantages of this arrangement include:

  1. The amount of real estate needed can be reduced when shared.
  2. Some logistic costs can be shared as well (warehousing, loading trucks, etc).
  3. Public roads can be developed for main routes, minimizing the congestion of trucks on several city roads.
  4. Utilizing fewer public roads will also minimize the cost of upkeep of roads not being used by the shipping companies.
  5. Co-location encourages customers of this service to also locate in Winnipeg driving growth and development in the local economy, not just the trucking industry.

Disadvantages to the cluster model include:

  1. Competition to retain talent within the organization will intensify when co-located.
  2. Increased competitive environment can erode mark ups.
  3. May not fit for every industry.

While the mark up percentage may decrease due to increased competition, profit margins will increase due to lower overhead costs and increased growth that the cluster generates.

Is the logistics cluster transferable to other industries?  Non-profit for example, health, or technology?  I think we already see this system in the technology industry.  Vancouver for example is home to many video game design companies and in that mirrors the Silcon Valley example.  If they were to co-locate, could they benefit from economies of scale in some fashion to reduce their overhead and improve profit?  Probably.  In the non-profit sector, clusters are possible as well although not given the same name.  Unfortunately in the non-profit industry, the agencies tend to be risk adverse the likelihood of clustering is minimal.

Logistics clusters certainly are not new although they possess some strength in moving forward in an increasingly competitive environment.  No matter what the industry and no matter what the language is used, “logistics clusters add value” according to Dr. Sheffi.  I agree.

Relationship builder; Helping people by mobilizing partnerships between charity, government, business and communities.
I am an extroverted, energetic and responsive collaborator and team builder with expertise in not-for-profit governance, marketing, PR/communications, finance, fund development, human resources and program development with a focus on mental health and addictions. I have strong business and financial acumen, excellent communication and leadership skills, am committed to lifelong learning and am a dedicated and passionate social advocate and champion. I

I am a capable leader with the skills, resources, passion and ambition to facilitate positive change for not-for-profit organizations and foundations. I remain current of industry changes, stay well informed of regulatory requirements. I am able to analyze and assess complex issues quickly and accurately and can translate them to others in a way that is understandable and develop achievable actions that put the organization on the path to better function and success.

I have a high degree of emotional intelligence and use empathy, humour, caring and passion in all of my relationships which is underscored by integrity, honesty and a willingness to take calculated risks.

Accomplishments include:
• Improved board of director’s efficiency and effectiveness without additional time commitment.
• Improved quality of donor data and increased fundraising ROI.
• Decreased homelessness by 40%.
• Developed an organizational team environment.
• Strengthened stakeholder engagement.
• Improved target public awareness of programs and social issues.
• Improved business performance in finance, IT, HRM and marketing.
• Improved organizational accountability by developing strategic and operational plans.
• Secured a three year CARF accreditation (best available)
• Secured and launched two complex housing programs with BC Housing and FHA.
• Designed fundraising strategies and processes to increase revenue and exposure

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Tony Lapointe provides expert advice, an ability to focus on anticipated and required needs and performs the expectations of his professional position with integrity and compassion. These attributes contribute to a diverse and determined goal-directed personal strategy which emphasizes value toward human needs while addressing the appropriate allocation of resources where they will have the most benefit.
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Tony is an excellent communicator and thought leader. He has a remarkable ability to analyze situations from various perspectives and confidently articulate an insightful and valuable opinion. While his leadership qualities and people skills enable him to effectively adapt to different situations and settings. I learned a lot from Tony as a colleague in the MBA program at Trinity Western University as well as through our various professional encounters since.
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Tony was a member of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters Abbotsford Mission Ridge Meadows. Tony provided guidance and input to the Executive Director as part of his role on the board. The staff had the opportunity to work directly with Tony during a number of planning sessions. With his instruction and guidance we were able to evaluate our goals, strengths and weaknesses as an agency and as co-workers. This training assisted us in setting goals for our agency and for [...]

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