// Even before COVID, the manufacturing industry was stagnant. Can we revitalise it?
The pandemic has affected all economies around the world. Over the decades, our manufacturing industry had declined to the point where COVID seemed like it could be the death knell, interrupting supply chains and forcing costs skywards.
The government has recently set up a taskforce in response to an industry-led recommendation plan. It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s important to realise that success relies on a strategic shift in the sector’s way of thinking. The best way to do that is by thinking locally.
Manufacturing could play an important role in our economic recovery, and it’s essential that the industry gets the recognition and resources to do so.
The role of SMEs
Small and medium manufacturers make up the majority of the industry. For a long time, they have not received the investment and focus needed to grow, but the new government drive is aimed to change that.
To maximise the industry’s potential, it needs to embrace the constantly advancing technologies that can streamline production. We need to encourage effective collaboration, as well as targeted research into science and technology.
Manufacturing SMEs need to become attractive not only to investors, but to our brightest minds and graduates who are interested in the sector. We need to provide opportunities that entice them to stay in Australia, rather than go overseas for opportunities.
Rebuilding also needs to focus on the end-game. For too long, the mind set has been that of short term reward. Now there needs to be a shift towards a long term strategy. That way local economies will be rebuilt, the industry will be revitalised, and Australia can retake its place as a global powerhouse of manufacturing.
A wealthy nation stumbles
The failure to invest properly in the manufacturing sector has led to its output to be disproportionately low as compared to our GDP and population size.
When COVID hit, the serious flaws were exposed. But there’s a silver lining. It has led to what manufacturing leaders have always wanted, the attention and investment from our government that the sector really needs, especially now.
With the recently announced government plans to stimulate manufacturing, this may finally become a reality, hopefully bringing about the changes necessary to improve the sector.
While our economy can and will recover, we must have a strong local manufacturing industry. This provides the basis upon which all other industries can benefit. Our nation was built on building from the ground up, and there’s no reason we can’t do it again.
Main image source: Industry 4.0 News