The fate of Australia’s diminishing manufacturing industry has long been hanging in the balance – and then?
BIBRA LAKE, Perth, Western Australia , 23-Nov-2020 — /EPR INDUSTRIAL NEWS/ — Along came COVID-19. For a sector that had been neglected for decades, while the pandemic wasn’t quite the final nail in the coffin, it certainly brought with it the shock wave that made our government sit up and take notice.
And maybe – just maybe – the situation might bring the stars into alignment that will help close the country’s chasm of a skills gap.
Manufacturing is Crucial for Our Economic Recovery
Change is always hard to come by, especially at the extent manufacturing needs. But there are some green roots showing. Thanks to the new government taskforce set up in response to an industry-led recommendation plan, the desperately needed funding for investment and growth is beginning to trickle through.
So what does this mean for the industry, and in particular the small and medium-sized businesses that make up the majority of the sector?
To fully comprehend this we need to drive deep into the rot that’s now endemic throughout. Only by understanding the mistakes that’ve been made and why we have such a major skills crisis, can we begin to turn this unfortunate turn of events around.
By far the most effective way of doing this is to lay bare the biggest error of all, and it all boils down to this: we’ve forgotten the value of local business and manufacturing capabilities. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this occurred, but if COVID has brought about anything, it’s that we’ve had a hard, sharp lesson as to the importance of local support and expertise. Suddenly the crucial need for home-grown supply chain capabilities has become vital for our businesses and industries, and this can only be brought back up to scratch with a long-term strategy and, most importantly, the necessary funding.
Manufacturing Provides the Building Blocks from which All Other Industries can Grow
The world desperately scrabbled for commodities (ventilators, PPE, toilet roll!) and we were among them. Once upon a time our powerhouse nation boasted some of the best skilled workers on the planet. Today we are but a shadow of our former selves.
So has COVID achieved what many industry experts have failed to do over the previous few decades, and forced the hand of our government to invest in the sector? Perhaps so… What has definitely happened is the following:
- We’re beginning to understand the many benefits of local support and expertise
- We’ve realised that the value of local business and manufacturing capabilities is more about quality and service, and less about price
- The importance of great B2B relationships is something our economy relies on
These are the reasons that, at last, the funding is starting to be put into place for SMEs to be able to upskill their workers and invest in advanced manufacturing processes. It’s only through initiatives such as these that we can become competitive on a global scale. In addition, it gives these companies the opportunity to innovate and commercialise new technologies.
So… Is 2020 the year that manufacturing turns the corner and provides the bedrock necessary for our country to begin to close the skills gap? Only time will tell for sure. But what it has meant is that companies such as SixDe have begun the slow uphill climb – and long may it continue.
An example of this is SixDe’s expansion in preparation of the commercialisation of Magneto, a robotic platform that is the future of inspection robotics. The industry relies on such innovation. With such projects and advancement, we not only get the chance to retrain our current workers, but we lay the foundations that will attract the brightest young minds from around the world to come and live, study and work in our wonderful country. So perhaps, just perhaps, we can drag some positivity from the awful situation that is COVID, and use it to bring about a greater good for Australia.
To find out more about Magneto and the home-produced precision machine components from SixDe, visit www.sixde.com.au or call 08 9434 1112.