Manufacturing News

Industry program designed to boost productivity

THE new Australian Industry Productivity Centre (AIPC) program is now officially up and running and it presents a great opportunity for SMEs to lift their productivity and performance and become more globally competitive.

I have a great sense of ownership about this program as it really grew off the back of research and a report from Ai Group.

Over a thousand of our members spoke to us about how they saw their businesses going forward … and the results were very interesting.

They honed in on the concept of global integration and global competition — particularly from the engine room of China.

The real emergence of China at that stage was not just beginning to affect the Australian markets, but the structure of the manufacturing industry as a whole and that in turn was having second and third round affects on Australian companies.

The companies were telling us they knew they had to be globally integrated and globally competitive, but that they needed a bit of strategic advice along the way.

From the study which we named: “Manufacturing Futures, Achieving Global Fitness,” Ai Group recognised an industry program that offered practical advice from experienced advisers was absolutely essential.

We pushed the government hard on this issue, the concept grew legs and became part of the Federal Government’s Industry Statement.

The Government made a commitment to fund an Australian Industry Productivity Centre program which involved employing 45 advisers, including 14 hired by Ai Group.

The program was designed to deliver a really valuable contribution for years to come, regardless of which party is in office.

Simply, the program works like this. Business Advisers undertake free reviews of the operations of eligible SMEs and help them benchmark their business and performance against world’s best practice.

Following the assessment, eligible businesses are able to access tailored, professional advice on critical issues such as business planning, process improvement and lean manufacturing.

Advice like this can often be just too costly for many smaller businesses but under the AIPC scheme, up to 50% of the cost of the service will be met, up to a ceiling of $20,000.

The aim of the program is to produce 2000 more competitive companies Australia-wide every year… companies that can take their place on the world stage.

I am extremely confident that our 14 advisers will deliver exactly what is expected of them and nurture appropriate businesses.

The issues facing industry aren’t going to go away and with our dollar sitting at levels not seen for around 23 years, many companies realise they can’t just keep cutting costs: they need to review their business model. And this is where Ai Group can help.

Ai Group’s Business Advisor Services can be accessed in capital cities and major regions across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

In Queensland, Ai Group is working with QMI Solutions and in South Australia, with the Engineering Employers Association of SA.

For further information contact Anne Younger on 03 9867 0172.

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