AAMC Chairman John Pollaers explains the rationale behind the AAMC video and social media campaign aimed at correcting misunderstandings about advanced manufacturing, and encouraging students to enter it.
The Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (AAMC) has taken action to redress harmful misconceptions about advanced manufacturing by partnering with the Australian Industry Group to produce a video that forms the centerpiece of a social media campaign.
AAMC Chairman John Pollaers explains the campaign was undertaken to correct a void between perception and reality, which is hampering the industry.
“When a sector suffers from an image problem, it has knock-on effects in terms of attracting new investment – and new talent in particular,” Mr Pollaers says.
“I want Australians to know that we DO have a thriving advanced manufacturing sector – one that is participating in global supply chains and/or opening up new opportunities for Australian ingenuity in the world.”
Australia has an estimated 2500 advanced manufacturers who are not only surviving, but prospering. These companies are leveraging the latest thinking in design, technology and materials, and producing for global markets.
“So while the headlines continue to proclaim the death of Australian competitiveness, companies are making their way in the world; they are finding new opportunities and becoming the best at what they do,” says Mr Pollaers, who defines an ‘advanced manufacturer’, simply, as one that is globally competitive.
“An Australian manufacturing company, in order to compete in the world, must be advanced – because the conditions are tough; they are unforgiving,” Mr Pollaers says.
The AAMC also wants to get the message out that the accelerating pace of change globally is transforming industries and business models. To succeed, Australia needs to ramp up its own adoption and adaption of new skills and new ideas.
“It’s not an option,” Mr Pollaers says. “A prosperous Australia depends on supplying high value solutions to the world; a successful Australian manufacturing sector is critical to this future.
The manufacturing sector suffers when governments, and the public, are not aware of these challenges from global competition, and misunderstand what it takes to be truly viable in a global sense.
An example of this is the importance of scale, and Mr Pollaers and the AAMC warmly welcomed the recent decision in the Federal Budget to raise the definition of a small business to turnover of $10 million.
This ensures that these major employers enjoy small business support and the lower company tax rate acknowledges the challenges they face in investing heavily in skills development, in process technologies, in new marketing, and helps their growth and viability, Mr Pollaers said.
“These industries might produce the next Apple or the next Qualcomm – or they might create an entirely new industry with new science – like Cochlear, the bionic ear manufacturer, has done.”
While the focus shifts towards higher tech manufacturing – either digitalisation of the manufacturing processes, or technology and science embedded in products – Mr Pollaers says traditional manufacturing is the perfect place to engage and support innovation because you can make iterative changes.
To preserve our standard of living and comparatively high wages, Australia must produce high value products, he says.
“High tech potentially, but definitely high margin – and that means creating something that the world wants and needs, “ he says.
To be competitive, Australia needs to be at the forefront of developing and using cutting-edge technologies, and the establishment of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce puts Australia at the head table with other global leaders.
After offshore meetings, the AAMC is looking at ways to support that work locally, potentially through the development of test labs here in Australia.
“The PM’s Taskforce crucially links us into the international collaboration on global standards for the industrial internet,” Mr Pollaers says.