Fixing manufacturing woes
(published by Australian Financial Review, 23rd
As a scientist, nuclear engineer and former
national president of the Manufacturing Society of Australia, and a
consultant to the manufacturing industry for more than 30 years, I'm
pleased at last that we are suddenly showing some interest in
manufacturing, the most creative of all industry endeavours.
But I'm disappointed by the poor quality of the debate
and the singular lack of leadership over the last decade by the
Australian Industry Group and the Institution of Engineers and others.
We urgently need to formulate a strategic plan to
service the global economy focusing on those industries where we have a
defined comparative advantage. We want a second group focused on design
and innovation where the innovation is controlled from Australia. This
could be integrated to sources of research and using rapid digital
controlled logistical supply chain.
The strategic plan we could use as a model is one
implemented by Japan for it's manufacturing after World War Two, and the
designs and global market plan could use the Zara retail chain model. It
is the manufacturing powerhouse of Germany that is supporting the whole
of the EU. Other models can fall in between but not be as profitable.
Unless interest rates are reduced substantially the Australian dollar
will remain high. Fiddling with procurement policy and the AIG or
offering bail-outs are temporary solutions. We need better leadership.
Blakemore Consulting International
North Ryde NSW