The idea is to bring like-minded companies together for the purpose of joint projects in skills development, technology transfer, export development and experience exchanges in a bottom-up driven association.

What is a cluster anyway?

Industry clusters involve one industry, in a defined region, focused on manufacturing.  They embrace supply chain, work with local academia for workforce development, and government partners to fund projects and activities, to help the industry thrive.

Clusters have been successful in Europe for the last 30 years. They are new to North America, where few true industry-led clusters exist. The Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario is the only cluster for the wood industry in Canada.

Articles on Clusters and WMCO: Must Read!

WMCO has curated this library of articles, interviews, and reports to help give more insight into what clusters are and what they can do. This is a perfect place to continue learning about the benefits of clusters.

International Wood clusters. Click to download report

Global Wood Clusters: What the World is Doing

Report: Wood Manufacturing Cluster – International Case Studies

Prepared for:
Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service
Ministry for Primary Industries – Manatū Ahu Matua Wellington
Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, Cluster Navigators Ltd, Nelson
Mats Williams, WilConsulting, Karlstad, Sweden

1 February 2022

This report reviews the experiences of thirteen countries that are taking very different approaches in adding value to their forestry resource, centred on regional clustering. Download the full report.

Woodworking Magazine Logo

Culture change: Our wood cluster industry revolution

March/April Issue 2022
Written by Mike Baker

In my previous column, I spoke about the importance of industry collaboration and how industry-led cluster networks are contributing to the success of the 10 leading global GDP countries (Canada is #11).
Companies in Canada and our governments are starting to learn about the value and power of cluster ecosystems to drive the economy. But how are those countries really doing it? What makes the companies in those countries different from us? Is it technology and automation? The latter certainly makes a big difference. But the biggest reason, is culture change within the industry. Click here to continue reading this article.

Woodworking Magazine Logo

Industry Cluster Countries Lead the Pack on GDP

January/February Issue 2022
Written by Mike Baker

In my previous column, I spoke about the importance of collaboration within an industry being the key to future success. Industry clusters in the EU are the hub of innovation and company growth and development. The idea is that the focus is not only on individual companies, but also on the development of the collective “whole” to be locally and globally competitive.
In industry clusters, concerns of domestic competition are put aside as minds and doors are opened to new ideas and ways of doing business. Synergies from sharing ideas and best practices and solutions merge into a collective sense of being on top of the “latest thing” that can move your business forward. Click here to continue reading this article.

Building Unity at the Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario

Written by Matthew Bradford
Published: February 1st, 2022

Mike Baker is a firm believer in gathering strength through numbers. That’s why, in his ten years a Chief Executive Officer with the Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario (WMCO), he has endeavoured to unite wood industry leaders and partners, addressing the obstacles and opportunities in their path. Click here to continue reading this article.

Woodworking Magazine Logo

Collaboration: The key to our industry's future success

November/December Issue 2021
Written by Mike Baker

In my previous column, I addressed the definition of industry clusters, what they are, how they operate, and how they are different from associations. I also explained how clustering is new to North America and not as well established in our economic development framework as it is in Europe. In the EU, industry clusters are common in most countries, and they are the hub of innovation and industry growth and development. Click here to continue reading this article.

Woodworking Magazine Logo

Clusters Around the World

July/August Issue 2021
Written by Mike Baker

In our last column we introduced the Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario (WMCO). We offered some background and context on the evolution of the cluster and how it got to where we are today. Representing all segments of the value-added wood manufacturing industry, we are industry-led by a very engaged volunteer board of directors consisting of 10 manufacturing members, and three supplier associate members. In June this year, our board completed a five-year strategic plan. I will explain more about that later in the article. But first, what is it about this word “cluster”? What does it really mean? Click here to continue reading this article.

Woodworking Magazine Logo

Introducing the Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario

May/June Issue 2021
Written by Mike Baker

On behalf of the WMCO board of directors and its manufacturing and associate members across Ontario, it is our pleasure to have been invited to contribute a regular column for Woodworking Canada! We hope you will enjoy our column and find it valuable. But let’s start with some introductions and a bit of history and context. Click here to continue reading this article.