Future-proofing the Australian SMEs

IMCRC CEO, David Chuter, guiding the participating manufacturers through an interactive session at FUTUREMAP workshop.

The first series of FUTUREMAP workshops, a business diagnostic tool designed to help small and medium enterprises’ transition to Industry 4.0, was held in parallel with the National Manufacturing Week from May 9-11.

The three-day workshops were facilitated in collaboration between the Australian Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC) and the Commonwealth Entrepreneurs Program.

The interactive FUTUREMAP workshops provided Australian SME manufacturers with an opportunity to identify areas of focus and potential investment to transform and future-proof their business in a rapidly digitalised world.

As part of the workshops, IMCRC’s CEO, David Chuter, guided the participating manufacturers through an interactive session to map the current state of their business and identify where they can lift their awareness, competitiveness and build resilience against 13 key areas of industrial and advanced manufacturing competitiveness.

He noted that the objective of the FUTUREMAP is to help companies map their current state and also to understand where they aspire to be in two years’ time. The program also highlights areas for development and investment and introduces further support opportunities.

At the end of the 90-minute interactive session, wherein the business-owners answer to questionnaires designed specifically for the Australian SME manufacturing sector, the participants receive an assessment report, showing their current state in all of the 13 key areas. The report also connects participating Australian manufacturing SMEs with further educational materials and access to a broad eco-system of supporting government organisations and programs.

Jens Goennemann, the managing director of AMGC, said the idea of a cooperation between the IMRCR, the Entrepreneurs Program and the AMGC was to help change the trend in Australia’s manufacturing sector and empower the businesses to grow in areas of advanced manufacturing.

“Australian manufacturers cannot compete globally in terms of cost. Australia is not good at that, and we will never be. They need to compete on value, rather than on cost,” Goennemann said.

“Our study of more that 3,000 global businesses has found that the top 25 per cent of successful global businesses invest highly on research and development. They also offered something in addition to manufacturing, be it an additional service or research and development or something else,” he said.

The FUTUREMAP workshops facilitated at NMW were the first of such workshops organised in Australia. Similar workshops are planned in other states and territories.

Australian manufacturers interested in participating in one of the FUTUREMAP workshops, or in knowing more about the program, can register their interest by visiting the FUTUREMAP website.