An international survey of Australian manufacturing companies confirms that good managers are the key to successful businesses and highlights where Australian managers need to improve.
The results come from a Management Matters in Australia survey of 439 medium and large firms and compares Australia’s performance with 15 other countries. The study commissioned by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research found many companies were weak when it came to looking after their staff, including attracting and retaining employees.
“The report tells us that there is a direct link between management practices and productivity in companies and that the more skilled and educated the managers are, the better their businesses will perform,” said Innovation Minister Kim Carr.
“Australia rated sixth out of 15 in the survey of management performance. We lag behind other advanced economies, and over half our firms are outperformed by many of their competitors in India and China. There is clearly considerable room for improvement.”
The study found multinational firms are best managed and larger operations are often better managed than small and family-owned businesses.
“Of the three areas assessed, Australia performs well in operational management, but is less strong in people and strategic management,” said Carr.
“If Australian manufacturing and other businesses are to thrive, we must lift the standard of everything we do – from the shop floor to the front office.
Manufacturing accounts for nine per cent of Australian jobs and generates 40 per cent of exports.
Senator Carr believes the Australian manufacturing industry has become complacent and is under the impression it is performing better than is actually the case.
“If we don’t put in a strong run, we can kiss the living standards and the way of life we cherish goodbye.”