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A vision for Australian manufacturing (Part one)

Over the next three posts, we’ll be exploring the ever-changing Australian manufacturing industry on a global scale and how Australia will thrive with a thorough and clear vision. Our findings are based on the recent report released by the CSIRO Futures team called Advanced Manufacturing: A roadmap for unlocking future growth opportunities for Australia.

Global manufacturing, particular manufacturing in Australia, is changing rapidly, driven by evolving trends and emerging technologies. According to the CSIRO, Australia’s next 20 years will see a massive transformation from playing in a competitive space to a highly integrated, collaborative and export-focused ecosystem that provides worthy, customised results within global value chains.

Australian manufacturing snapshot

  • The industry contributed 6.05% of the national GPD
  • Exports grossed $96.1 million
  • Manufacturing employs a total of 856,000 people
  • The four largest sectors are food, beverage and tobacco products (27%), followed by machinery, transport and other equipment (19%), followed by metal products (17%) and finally, petroleum, coal, chemical and rubber products make up 15%.

What are the major global manufacturing trends?

Made to measure: Innovation in technology and high consumer expectations has driven the need to produce custom solutions, rather than mass production items.

Supply chain transformations: Business specialisations has seen greater collaboration between markets, while technology has enabled vertical integration.

Sustainable operations: It’s no surprise that natural resources are scarce, with the consumer placing greater trust in those with environmental and social credentials.  Businesses are now responsible for encouraging manufacturers to adopt more efficient and sustainable processes and operating models.

Service expansion:  Manufacturers around the globe are honing “service as a product”, transforming from businesses that simply “make things” to developing tightly integrated service-product bundles.

Smart and connected: The ability to easily capture big data and analyse it has made it easier to optimise operations right across the manufacturing chain.

Previously Australia’s manufacturing industry has been hindered by high labour costs, geographical remoteness and a small domestic market. This is now set to change. With advanced manufacturing methods from technology and trends, Australia is getting closer to the world’s manufacturing stage and starting to open new markets in which we have comparative cost advantages.

So, what are the opportunities? CSIRO believes an investment in science and technology will be the key to cracking the code to emerging opportunities. It will help us focus in on global markets, improved recruitment and retention of highly skilled, intelligent workers who are adept at collaborating with other businesses and the research and innovation community.

In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at Australia’s competitive landscape.

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