Oh what a feeling – Toyota takes out Manufacturer of the Year Award

Despite tough economic times, this year’s Endeavour Awards demonstrated Australian manufacturers are up to the challenge. Katherine Crichton reports from the gala Award’s ceremony in Melbourne.

Despite tough economic times, this year’s Endeavour Awards demonstrated Australian manufacturers are up to the challenge. Katherine Crichton reports from the gala Award’s ceremony in Melbourne.

“The world is going through some very tough times right now — and when times are tough, it is the manufacturing sector we look to for new ideas and new hope.”

This was the message Industry Minister Senator Kim Carr delivered at the sixth annual Endeavour Awards gala dinner ceremony held in Melbourne last night which saw Toyota Australia take out the prestigious 2009 Manufacturer of the Year Award.

In a special video-taped address to a packed room at the RACV Club, the Industry Minister congratulated the record number of Endeavour Award finalists and winners on their outstanding achievements and for “rising to the challenge of increasing competition and constant change”.

“We all know that manufacturing is under a lot of pressure.

“The good news is that people are responding to that pressure by getting smarter about the way they do things.

“They are become more productive and more creative. And they have the Australian Government’s total support,” Carr said as he outlined Government initiatives such as Enterprise Connect, Retooling for Climate Change, the new green car plan and the creation of industry innovation councils across the country.

According to the Industry Minister, the Government’s stimulus packages will also directly benefit the manufacturing sector.

“We want this sector to prosper and grow — and we believe it has a great future.

“The Manufacturers’ Monthly Endeavour Awards are proof of that.

“The record number of finalists this year reminds us yet again just how good our manufacturers are, and how much they have to offer,” he said.

As well as taking out top honours, Toyota Australia was also named winner of Exporter of the Year Award and was awarded highly commended in the Safety Scheme of the Year and Environmental Solution of the Year categories.

Other highlights of the evening included an engaging keynote address by Craig Milne, Executive Director of the Australian Productivity Council (APC), who looked at the affects of economic reform on the manufacturing industry and examined how the current financial situation presents an opportunity for manufacturing to get back on to the front foot.

Manufacturers’ Monthly editor Alan Johnson said he was very pleased with the record number of nominations, despite all the reports of doom and gloom resulting from the global economic crisis.

“While the mainstream media generally talk of our manufacturing industry in negative terms, what they fail to recognise is the sheer depth and breadth of our industry and the pivotal role it plays,” Johnson said.

“The reality is our industry remains a force to be reckoned with, and as such, deserves recognition for its innovation and desire to keep pace with world’s best practice. Hence we developed the Endeavour Awards back in 2004 to applaud industry’s achievements,” Johnson said.

He went on to congratulate the 2009 Endeavour Award finalists on their success and hard work, welcoming them to a growing line of successful Endeavour champions.

“Your nominations are an inspiration for other manufacturers, and clearly show Australia’s manufacturing industry is well blessed with so many globally competitive companies.

However, the evening wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Endeavour Award 2009 sponsors which included: overall sponsor BlueScope Steel (also sponsor of the Steel Innovation Award) and category sponsors Intercad, Atlas Copco, Sick, EFIC, Momentum Energy, Advance Metal Products, ICN and Skilled.

The 2009 panel of judges who had the hard task of determining the winners of each category included: Dr John Blakemore, president of ManSA (Manufacturing Society of Australia), Dr Ivan Cole, deputy chief of CSIRO Manufacturing and Materials Technology Division; Mark Goodsell, NSW director of the Australian Industry Group (AiG); Derek Lark, executive director of the Industry Capability Network (ICN); and Margaret Sullivan, associate director of TAFE NSW.

Click here to see all the 2009 Endeavour Award winners and highly commended.