Innovation is the key to survival for Australian Manufacturers

March 17th, 2015

A recent manufacturing showcase in Dandenong, Melbourne, hosted by the Industry Capability Network and the Victorian Department of State Development, Business and Innovation brought together more than 550 representatives from various manufacturing sectors to discuss future changes and opportunities in the manufacturing industry. The event provided a valuable forum that focused on how manufacturing businesses are evolving through innovation in areas such as product design, R&D, information and communications technology and leadership.

There was a strong focus on the importance of diversification to deal with the structural shift occurring in the manufacturing industry, with particular reference to the automotive supply sector. While most were optimistic, there was an overall recognition of the challenges set to confront Australian manufacturing companies over the next few years. There remains a distinct need to clearly identify future industry opportunities and to understand the requirements for marketing entry into new sectors, particularly understanding the regulations and supply chain requirements.

General Manager of SRX, Jeff Malone, discussed his strategy for overcoming the changes in the industry. “We partner with both domestic and overseas designers and innovators relating to a diverse range of industry sectors including medical, defence, telecommunications, automotive and security. In the last 5-10 years we have transitioned SRX from a focus on the automotive sector and diversified into providing services to other sectors, including medical devices, which now accounts for some 50% of production. Australia has a strong capability in the development of intellectual property with some of the best industrial design firms located in Melbourne”.

According to Malone, the Australian manufacturing industry needs to focus more on adding value to production. “Why should we directly ship our intellectual property overseas the way we ship our mineral wealth for value adding,” he said. “Let’s leverage our local capabilities to add value right here at home”. Diversification and the development of new markets and skills can be powerful strategies in assisting a company to move to the next level.

Lovitt’s Manufacturing Director, Bruce Ramsay, stated companies today need to be prepared to change and adapt, and look for a market that can be identified as within reach and where existing people and machinery can be steered in that direction. “There is no motivation like desperation.”

Source: Manufacturers Monthly