September 7, 2012
Why is Memphis home to hundreds of motor carrier terminals and distribution centers? Why does the tiny island-nation of Singapore handle a fifth of the world’s maritime containers and half the world’s annual supply of crude oil? Which jobs can replace lost manufacturing jobs in advanced economies?
Some of the answers to these questions are rooted in the phenomenon of logistics clusters – geographically connected sets of logistics-related business activities. In this book, supply chain management expert Yossi Sheffi explains why Memphis, Singapore, Chicago, Rotterdam, Los Angeles, and scores of other locations have been successful in developing such clusters while others have not.
Sheffi outlines the characteristic “positive feedback loop” of logistics clusters development and what differentiates them from other industrial clusters; how logistics clusters “add value” by generating other industrial activities; why firms should locate their distribution and value-added activities in logistics clusters; and the proper role of government support, in the form of investment, regulation, and trade policy.
Sheffi also argues for the most important advantage offered by logistics clusters in today’s recession-plagued economy; jobs, many of them open to low-skilled workers, that are concentrated locally and not “offshorable.” These logistics clusters offer what is rare in today’s economy: authentic success stories. For this reason, numerous regional and central governments as well as scores of real estate developers are investing in the development of such clusters.
Yossi Sheffi is Elisha Gray II Professor of engineering systems at MIT and Director of the MIT Center for transportation and logistics. He has worked with leading manufacturers and logistics service providers around the world on supply chain issues and is an active entrepreneur, having founded or cofounded five successful companies since 1987. He is the author of The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage (MIT Press) and Urban Transportation Networks.