Global manufacturing has been shaken by the pandemic. It’s not just the social distancing restrictions that have been placed on workplaces, which have forced them to operate in non-standard ways, the border closures and surge in demand for speciality goods (think toilet paper, hand sanitiser and PPE) laid bare just how vulnerable global supply chains can be.
Given these issues, local manufacturers were both relieved and excited to hear that the new Federal budget sets aside $1.5 billion over four years for their industry. The highlight item is the $1.3 billion ‘Modern Manufacturing Initiative’, which will send targeted funding to national priorities such as medical products, recycling and clean energy and defence. In the Government’s words, the money will help companies “scale up, compete internationally and create more jobs”.
But what does scaling up and competing internationally look like in a practical sense? Two words: digital transformation. It’s no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ for businesses, it has become the means to survive and thrive in the future.
Many businesses had already embarked on their digital transformation journey before COVID-19, often driven by internal employee demands. But the disruption of the pandemic has created a burning platform for the Australian manufacturing industry to demonstrate its agility and creativity.
A recent report showed there has been more technology investment since COVID-19 than many companies have made in the last 10 years. This is crucial, as those making such investments will not only secure their standing