Cluster-boys get another kick in the pants

For everyone of you cheese-eating, just-in-time inventory, integrated logistics, cluster-loving negative, uncreative economic developers out there, this one’s for you.

I would be a millionaire today if I got a dollar for every time an economic developer, politician or Joe Q. Public said to me “why would company X ever locate in a place like New Brunswick?”.

The naysayers creed looks like this (why company x would never locate in NB):
-We are too far from major markets
-We don’t have the transportation infrastructure
-We are not a ‘right to work’ province as a place like Alabama
-We don’t have access to high end engineering and management talent
-Shipping costs are too high for manufactured goods
-Americans don’t like investing ‘nearshore’ – it’s China or inside the USA
-We don’t have other firms in that sector here (the cluster effect)

Well, Wellington, Florida-based B/E Aerospace has their global manufacturing and R&D for aircraft seats in Northern Ireland – they moved it from Connecticut. Now, which of those naysayer points above does a Northern Ireland location address? None.

B/E is in Northern Ireland because the UK government pursued them and got them to go there. Period. There were incentives on the table (there almost always are). Who knows, may be the British Airways contract was somewhere in the mix. But the bottom line is that you can throw out all that crap (above). Companies will locate in provinces that have a good business environment and that are really, really, really interested in them going there.

You can take that Michael Porter crap and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

And to all the folks that say company x would never locate in New Brunswick, have you ever asked nicely?