Manufacturing News

Ford closure marks an end but also the beginning of a new era

Today heralds a very new era for manufacturing in Australia – and it is not all bad, according to the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (AAMC). 

Chairman of the AAMC, Mr John Pollaers, today paid tribute to the Ford employees whose talent and dedication have contributed to a world-class industry here in Australia, renowned for its technical and creative skill.

“If there is one thing the auto industry has taught manufacturers in Australia, it is lean practices and efficiency expertise – and there is currently a huge demand and need for that pool of talent,” Mr Pollaers said.

“Many of these automotive-trained experts will, I hope, find their way into our small and medium sized companies who haven’t had the time or the knowledge till now to transform their processes,” he said.

“Ford represents as much about the future of advanced manufacturing in Australia as it does the past.

“Ford’s vast, growing Ford Research and Development operation across Victoria is one of only three of the company’s global hubs in the world.  This is a great credit to Australia.  It recognises we have the engineers, the designers, the research community, that enable our advanced manufacturing to be globally competitive,” he said.

“More than 80 per cent of world trade occurs within the global value chains of Multinational companies,” he said.1   “Australia is finding a place in the high-value end of that chain – and we can make much more of that.

“A Deloitte and Austrade project mapping Australian capabilities to meet international MNC demand estimates that 10,000 Australian SMEs are ‘internationally ready’.

“About 2500 companies were identified as producing high value, innovative solutions across sectors including aerospace, Mining Equipment, Technology and Services, oil and gas, and infrastructure.

“We have 2500 companies that are turning their focus to new areas of growth and tapping into multinational supply chains. They are making their mark on the world stage – not as Australian companies – but as global companies,” Mr Pollaers said.

“The advanced Ford operation will be globally sustainable – and will have the country’s most extensive product development capability from design, engineering and proving facilities spread across Victoria, leveraging major investments in test tracks, a wind tunnel, and world-class emissions laboratories,” he said.

“While Falcons and Territorys no longer will be built in Broadmeadows, designers and engineers on that same campus will continue creating future Ranger utes and Everest SUVs for Australia and the world.

“And, many of their suppliers are innovating and diversifying to be part of that new global automotive future,” he said.

Mr Pollaers said the past two years had seen important changes, not only in the way Australians think about manufacturing, but in the way we see the world.

“There is a major shift in understanding about what is possible for manufacturing – that Australia can compete in high value products and using innovative processes.  And we can win.”

1 OECD, WTO, UNCTAD Report Aug 2013

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