Manufacturing News

Making manufacturers more efficient [SPONSORED CONTENT]

Australian manufacturers have faced increasing difficulties in their processing operations.

According to the Boston Consulting Group’s Cost Competitive Index, released earlier this year, Australia’s increasingly high-cost environment is unfortunately harming the industry.

In fact, Australia has the highset manufacturing cost structure out of all the nations surveyed, at around 30 per cent higher than the U.S.

The nation has fallen from the 19th to 25th most productive manufacturing industry over the past decade and much of this has been due to a massive drop in productivity in Australia over the last ten years.

A study by consultancy firm McKinsey showed that multi-factor productivity was growing up until 2005; but it dropped 0.7 per cent per year until 2011, when the study was carried out.

Late last year IBM, as part of its Smarter Planet initiative, signalled that the industry is reaching the tipping point for productivity and must innovate.

“This, right now, is the tipping point we believe, where the risk of inaction outweighs the risk of action,” says Andrew Stevens, Managing Director of IBM Australia and New Zealand.

The Reinventing Australian Enterprises for the Digital Economy report considered what the year 2025 might look like for manufacturers operating in a range of industries.

It found that the future relied on how well they adapted to new technology and used it to “deliver unique value to customers and citizens with the speed, efficiency and ubiquity they demand.”

According to Manufacturing Australia’s Ben Eade there is a way for the industry to overcome these problems, and that is by focusing on more efficient and productive methods such as automation and better manufacturing processes.

Australia needed to follow Switzerland’s lead, which has high costs but also high productivity, Eade explained.

Process automation and machinery refurbishment are two major ways that manufacturers are forecasting to address the underlying issues affecting Australia’s competiveness and high-cost operational structure.

New technologies can also be incorporated within the refurbishment that further improve the situation for the industry.

According to Australian company Sentient Automation “ignoring the productivity improvements that can be made by machine and process upgrades means that as production requirements change the process will continually drift away from the ideal, and profitability will suffer”.

By combining automated processes with simple, intuitive human design and interfaces, businesses can do better.

When manufacturers refurbish existing systems it is an opportunity for them to maximise profitability immediately and into the future. Upgrades increase profitability and extend the life, reliability and suitability of existing equipment.

At the end of the day, for all manufacturers, it is about the bottom line and ensuring that all of their equipment is operating at its most efficient and productive levels.

To learn more about how manufacturers can make their production process more efficient click here to download the free whitepaper.

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