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While in Chicago over the weekend, I picked a copy of the Chicago Tribune, one of the better daily newspapers in the country. The Sunday business section featured an interesting article about 17 tool-and-die makers in Michigan who've teamed up to learn about lean operating tactics and collaborate on new ways to approach the traditional automakers in the Detroit area.

As automotive production slows, tool-and-die shops — the folks who make the parts that make the cars — are especially hit. And despite long-standing competition, the collaboration is already bearing some fruit. "Shops that are overwhelmed with work regularly pass along what they can't handle to other coalition members with free capacity," Michael Oneal writes. Are there other solid examples of such coopetition in old-school industries?