Geographic location can make or break a business and is a consideration that businesses, manufacturers specifically, ignore at their peril. Strategically positioning a company in the most appropriate location can bring significant benefits and contribute greatly to achieving your business goals. When done right companies not only become benefactors of local innovation, but key contributors to the growth and evolution of their industry network.

Geographical advantages

One of the most critical aspects to consider when choosing a location is proximity to the supply chain. It is crucial to find a location that is as close as possible to the suppliers and customers that your company intends to buy from and sell to. Transportation plays a key role in this regard. Highways, railway lines, and international airports are key drivers in trade, and being based in close proximity to such robust transportation networks is a major advantage to any business.

“We’re fortunate in Mississauga because we are the location of Canada’s largest international airport,” says Susan Amring, Director of Economic Development for the City of Mississauga. “It is definitely a key driver for business and trade for our city. In fact, it connects directly to 65% of the world’s economy.”

“The market is competitive in all sectors. You need to be extremely innovative. Having research centres close by can help companies to innovate and maintain their competitive edge.”

In assessing a region’s suitability, access to human capital is also a major consideration. It is vitally important, within all manufacturing subsets, to have access to a capable and appropriately skilled workforce. Operating in a region with a large employment pool and a comprehensive network of educational institutions, with strong pathways to industry, puts a business in prime position to attract the best and most qualified talent.

Thinking ahead

It is true of any industry that skill requirements will change as technology develops, but this is an especially pressing matter in advanced manufacturing. Ensuring that the pool of talent keeps up with the pace of innovation is crucial to any forward-thinking organization that is fully focused on future success.

“The market is competitive in all sectors. You need to be extremely innovative,” says Josée Fortin, Executive Director at Sherbrooke Innopole. “Having research centres close by can help companies to innovate and maintain their competitive edge.”

It’s essential that cities work closely with their universities and colleges to try and connect the future needs of business to the pipeline of talent coming through their doors.

“You want to make sure that you will be able to get the skills that you need and that’s why it is so important that you can pull from a really large job market,” says Amring. “It’s important to know that this talent will be available to businesses when they need it.”