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Rebuilding Australia’s Manufacturing Industry

worker in assembly line

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Australia’s manufacturing industry has been on the decline with several products moving offshore. With all the lessons 2020 taught us, one of the biggest eye openers was that more focus needs to go into evolving and rebuilding Australia’s manufacturing industry. 

Last day of production for Ford in Geelong

One of Australia’s biggest blows was Ford closing its onshore factories, leaving hundreds of Australians out of work, and the automotive manufacturing industry barely alive. From 2013 to 2017, the offshoring of Australia’s final three car makers – Ford, Holden and Toyota – wiped out jobs on a scale rarely seen before.

Further factory closures across other industries have led to manufacturing only contributing 6% to gross domestic product (GDP).

The CEO for the National COVID-19 Commission Advisory Board, Dow Chemical stated, Sovereign risk, “national interest, and value-add of high-quality jobs mean manufacturing should be a big piece of the economy.”

Manufacturing onshore is desirable for the economy providing jobs and expanding the middle-class, while also helping Australia rebuild our supply chains internally to ensure our national security and safety. 

During the pandemic, many businesses have adapted to resolve COVID related challenges, as offshore supply chains were suddenly halted. At Black Lab Design we utilised our skills in metal fabrication to solve clients high volume, sanitiser station design problems.

There is a noticeable gap between ideas, inventions and innovation and the capabilities to bring them to life onshore. Managing Director for Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre Jens Gonnemann said “we’re going to be looking at business models that are advanced, but products that are very rich in IP. And when you’re able to have a business that is based around products that are rich in IP that you own and can protect, then you have a very strong value proposition.”

In order to create businesses that are rich in IP, manufacturers must prioritise their data to anticipate customer demand and create a roadmap for new product developments or rethinking existing products. By mining data that they already have, manufacturers can identify customer needs that they might not otherwise have captured. 

“Successful manufacturers will be the ones that can adapt and move faster than their competitors using big data to give them the insights they need to make the right call.”

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