Digitisation and sustainability drive manufacturing

Digitisation

Australian manufacturing is thriving despite cost pressures, supply chain issues and labour shortages. A new CommBank report shows how digitisation and sustainable practices are reshaping the sector.

CommBank’s inaugural Manufacturing Insights Report shows that the Australian sector is in great shape.

A strong 84 per cent of those surveyed said they had adapted well to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, particularly those in regional areas. Sixty-five per cent are focused on growth over the next 12 months, 74 per cent are boosting investment in technology and 83 per cent consider sustainable manufacturing an important part of their business strategy.

Technology investment will focus on process control, supply chain and logistics, data management and human resource management.

Setting and reaching sustainability targets is more of a mixed bag. A manufacturers’ workplace and its people attracted the most significant focus, with more than 75 per cent of manufacturers improving workplace safety, supporting employees’ wellbeing, and promoting a diverse and inclusive culture.

While transition is going to have a significant impact on business and the economy in the coming years, it was interesting that reducing emissions and carbon footprint did not rank among manufacturers’ top 10 sustainability initiatives. Some 25 per cent of those surveyed do not intend to set an emissions reduction target while 25 per cent plan to but are yet to do so.

The report also highlighted the different experiences between regional and metro-based manufacturers. Regional manufacturers experienced higher revenue growth than their metro peers and were more likely to be focused on growth than their city peers (72 per cent versus 64 per cent). On sustainable manufacturing, 16 per cent of regional companies rated it as extremely important versus 41 per cent of their metro peers, while 63 per cent view it as moderately important compared with 43 per cent.

“It is pleasing to see that most manufacturers adapted well to the persistent supply chain disruptions, rising operating costs and labour shortages, and now expect higher revenues and profit in the year ahead,” said Mark Couter, executive general manager of Commercial Banking at CommBank.

“To capture these growth opportunities, manufacturers are prioritising investment in their people, supply chain efficiencies, and technology. The vast majority also agreed that sustainable manufacturing is crucial to business strategy.”

You can find the full Manufacturing Insights Report here.

Find more information on manufacturing and the economy at CommBank Foresight – insights for future-facing businesses.