Materials handling specialist Industrial Conveying (Aust) believes that the current mining boom and an impending agriculture sector boom will create huge opportunities for home grown manufacture in the supply chain.
According to the company, despite claims to the contrary, Australian manufacturing has a very competitive labour cost base to supply to these sectors, so long as it is done in regions where the advantages can be enjoyed.
Industrial Conveying (Aust) Managing Director, Mr Don Erskine says that the thriving crops, fruits and vegetables sector is enabling managers to spend money on much needed capital infrastructure, which is expected to lead to very high demand for capital equipment right across Australia, particularly in Western Australia and Queensland.
To be effective, a local solutions provider "has to combine both fast turnaround as well as affordable labour content," he says. Affordability is a key concern especially in Western Australia, where Mr Erskine notes that the mining sector has ruled out the potential of a local workshop to service its needs due to the prevailing high wages in the state.
Industrial Conveying (Aust) operates from a manufacturing base in central Victoria with a more competitive labour rate, allowing them to easily manufacture to a greater level of affordability and eliminate the labour component risk.
Mr Eskine suggests that players in these two booming sectors consider a local manufacturing association, which will deliver not just speed efficiencies but also a very affordable labour component.
He believes that these sectors will be able to meet major equipment requirements by having a proven, capable and reliable manufacturing capacity at their disposal.
Industrial Conveying, for example, provides mines, quarries, agricultural companies and their suppliers with engineered and tailored materials handling solutions from its manufacturing base in Bendigo, central Victoria. This base employs more than 150 personnel with in-house engineering design and electrical control capabilities.
Mr Erskine notes that the company has been able to service projects in Uzbekistan, Indonesia and Malaysia in addition to several remote areas of Australia, although traditionally it has manufactured equipment for the general industrial market in the Eastern Australian states.
"The high Australian dollar has slowed down projects in the eastern states. However, due mainly to the lower labour costs and stable workforce in Regional Victoria we are able to compete very successfully in the Western Australian market and deliver projects in a very short time frame," he concludes.