There is Strength in Numbers
Bluewater Wood Alliance is a wood manufacturing cluster.
A cluster organization is of a group of companies and associated institutions, in a common industry and geographical area, linked by the same interests, needs and challenges. In southwestern Ontario the seeds of the cluster have been in existence for decades.
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.
The advanced wood manufacturing sector in southwestern Ontario alone accounts for approximately 1,400 SME companies representing 22,500 employees with $5.2 billion in revenues out of the total $6.6 billion for all of Ontario. As a consumer and further processor of Canadian wood bio-mass products, this sector is extremely important to the economy of Canada for job and wealth creation in our communities. Exports from this sector in this region also touch $3.5 billion (Conference Board of Canada, 2016).
The advanced wood products manufacturing industry includes: home, office and institutional furniture; solid wood flooring; veneer production; kitchen and bath cabinets; millwork. The BWA cluster aims to bring as many of these companies into the cluster as would like to join, as well as interested companies from the surrounding regions.
Our members have access to resources and events that focus on growth and success.
Learning, Plant Tour & Networking Events:
Our events focus on a variety of topics such as continuous improvement, new technologies, social media, finance and lean principles. Networking events provide a venue for members to develop strategic industry relationships.
Export Development Initiatives:
The Bluewater Wood Alliance seeks out export opportunities and explores them for the betterment of our members. We continue to be successful in accessing government support to attend trade missions in new markets overseas.
Collaborative Project Funding:
We develop and facilitate projects for our members to support their sustainability, growth, and continuous improvement. We work together with our government partners to support these projects.
A key to being competitive, both locally and in global markets, is the ability to learn about and adopt new technologies. The Bluewater Wood Alliance is committed to monitoring and sharing technological advancements in wood processing and wood-related IT.
Training & Skills Development:
Working with the community colleges, high schools and independent providers in the region, the Alliance is creating programs for training and skills development. The beneﬁt to members is to enhance employees skills, and provide access to new workers with the right ones.
The Bluewater Wood Alliance website offers access to our members form to talk with other members online as well as access to information on events, collaborative projects, programs and training sessions.
Watch a recent wood industry video featuring BWA Executive Director Mike Baker to learn more about the BWA and the industry:
Benefits of working as a cluster include:
- Access to specialized training, services and workers.
- Participate in collaborative projects.
- Sharing of information and expertise.
- Information sharing facilitates faster innovation.
- Innovation fostered within a cluster increases competitiveness in local, national and
How does this cluster work?
The Bluewater Wood Alliance is a not-for-profit corporation that coordinates and facilitates the needs of the cluster. Governed by a Board of Directors consisting of the members, decisions on direction and projects come from the bottom up, as this is truly a “member-driven” organization.
The Alliance is supported and funded by a combination of membership fees plus federal and provincial partners on project basis. We serve as an intermediary, working with government to articulate the cluster’s objectives and create partnerships that provide funding on a project basis.
Bluewater Wood Alliance Board Members
President, Creative Woods Unlimited
President, Vokes Furniture Incorporated
President, West Bros. Furniture