The 5 biggest manufacturing stories

Last week emerging workplace technologies, new factories,
lean manufacturing, caravan production and the hope of local car making beyond
2017 were the most popular topics at this website, according to your clicking habits.

Below are the five biggest stories of last week.

5) New technology

Jo-Anne
Ruhl, General Manager Australia with Infor ran us through some of the tech trends that have transformed and will continue to transform the way we work.

Increased
connectivity, new opportunities and changed business goals are what the future
will deliver. The impact of real-time monitoring, cloud services, remote work
and social collaboration (and how they will shake up our businesses) were all
featured in Ruhl’s observations.

4) New Dulux factory

Paint maker Dulux will build a new factory in Melbourne and a new distribution centre
in Sydney, closing its Padstow and Moorebank distro facilities, it said last week. It’ll also be
cutting its Rocklea workforce by as many as 140 once the new Melbourne site is
up and running in late-2017.

The
new factory north of Melbourne will be worth an estimated $165 million to build and create 64 full-time jobs once it’s up and running, according to Dulux..

3) Leaning into it

A
short video from Uttana Online giving a crash course on Lean Manufacturing
gained plenty of views last week.

Generally
credited as a Japanese invention, and made famous by Toyota, the video goes
back as far as 16th Century shipbuilding in a breezy explanation of
how Lean philosophy has changed the way we make stuff.

2) Caravans: something we
can still produce successfully

New stats released by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) showed a strong result last year for RV producers, the second-best result ever.

Reader
Ron wondered why we could make caravans but not cars.

“Why are we prepared
to buy locally made caravans, but not locally made cars?
price?, flexibility? choice? quality? support? or an assumption that Au made
will handle the Au environment?” he asked.

Last
year 21,300 caravans and motorhomes were manufactured in Australia, up 4.4 per
cent on 2013’s figure.

Stuart Lamont, CEO of CIAA, said, “In the context of failed
car manufacturing, it’s great to see our industry punching above its weight,
producing product that Australians want to use.”

1) Ethan – a new hope
or the next big waste of taxpayers’ money?

The most popular biggest story last week (by far) was one in the
context of car manufacturing. An interview with Dr Brigid Mahoney of start-up carmaker Ethan Automotive was one of the most commented-on stories in the history of Manufacturers’ Monthly’s website.

Dr Mahoney told us a little more of what Ethan’s bold plans
were to continue Australia’s century-plus history of automobile manufacture.

The story was a polarising one, with comments generally
falling into two categories. These were congratulations for trying to keep car making
here beyond 2017 and doubt over whether it could be done successfully. The
latter generally included criticism over Ethan’s request for federal assistance:
hardly novel as far as the nation’s auto industry is concerned.