Over the past two decades, the greater prevalence of global supply chains has had contrasting effects on Western manufacturing clusters. While some of them dwindled, others proved resilient. Contributing to the recent literature on co-located clusters and clusters’ linkages, we focus on the impact of lead firms’ strategies on the competitiveness of a pair of ‘twin’ clusters located in Northeast Italy. Our findings suggest that production remains ‘sticky’ when leading firms pursue ‘process-embedded’ innovation by integrating global market and local technical knowledge. We refer to this type of firm as a Knowledge Integrator and discuss how its strategy supports the competitiveness of localized suppliers.