A cluster is a geographical concentration of companies, organizations and related institutions, which operate and develop their activity in a determinate sector.
A cluster includes all types of companies, organizations and institutions that participate in a sector, from producer companies such as manufacturers, suppliers, distributors ... to various companies and institutions that support and facilitate the activity of the primary as specialized technology centers, financial organizations specific, etc ... all interconnected giving rise to a specialized business network within the sector.
Within our globalized market we can observe the existence of various business clusters or industrial clusters located in different areas throughout the planet, the cluster of computer technology in Silicon Valley, the automotive cluster in Germany, the cluster of the electronics industry in Japan, the financial cluster in the City of London or the Hollywood film cluster are examples among others.
All these clusters are made up of a series of companies / institutions that are dedicated and specialized in the sector, providing a series of advantages that make the companies / institutions them more competitive.
Among the various advantages that occur within a cluster we can mention:
The clusters promote and stimulate the creation of new companies in order to provide goods and / or services to existing or future needs of the sector.
At a global level, the creation of new companies within a cluster is much more likely than in an isolated way. Likewise, the average life expectancy of the companies created within a cluster is higher than those that have been created in isolation.
The creation of companies within a cluster has as main advantage the access of all the existing facilities within the same cluster, these companies immediately access the infrastructure, the financial institutions established within the sector, the support of technological institutions ... all this will ensure a market and customers close to their location with which to maintain close ties of collaboration and commercial agreements.
This model of creating new companies within the same cluster has a positive feedback effect making the cluster grow, expand and increase its competitiveness.
On many occasions the creation of these new companies is carried out by workers in the sector who have a good knowledge and experience which allows them to detect new market niches.
The clusters promote both cooperation and competitiveness among the various companies and institutions that comprise it.
Generally, cooperation occurs between vertically related companies (supplier - client company) where cooperation projects between the two result in improvements of any aspect within the sector.
On the other hand, competitiveness usually occurs between horizontally related companies or, what is the same between companies with similar objectives, this competitiveness allows companies to remain in continuous improvement programs.
Both cooperation and competitiveness improve globally the competitiveness of the cluster.
A cluster improves the productivity of the companies that integrate it, given that in a short range these companies have greater access to specialized information in the sector, greater access by qualified employees, greater access to specialized institutions such as universities or technology centers , better infrastructure provision (highways, airports ...), greater access to public aid for the sector and even greater power of pressure and influence.
All this improves the productivity of the sector in such a way that the performance of the cluster as a whole obtains greater benefits than the isolated sum of the companies that compose them.
Within the competitive, cooperative, productive and high value of knowledge environment that develops within the cluster, it promotes the detection of new needs of the clients, forcing towards a continuous improvement of investment, research and development of new technologies, all supported by organizations both financial and educational that promote innovation as a pillar of sustainability and development of the cluster itself.
This innovative base is what gives the true competitive advantages of a sector, ensuring its competitiveness and its future.
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