Federation University in Ballarat was the ideal setting for the 2016 Victorian Manufacturing Showcase. With the stage set in the university engineering workshop, the smell of machine coolant and laser cut steel got the attendee’s senses amped for what was an interesting morning of unique key-note presentations and stories about the speaker’s experience in manufacturing, focused around the theme of the event – ‘leveraging opportunities in growth sectors’.
The opening address came from the honourable MP for Industry and Employment Mr. Wade Noonan who emphasised the importance of advanced manufacturing in Victoria and how the work we do in this sector is vital in unlocking growth opportunities for businesses locally and globally. This is something SPN Consulting supports greatly as we believe everyone has a part to play in shaping the future of sustainable manufacturing in Australia.
The first session saw speakers from Thales Australia/NZ, Haymes Paint, Australian Turntable Company and Gekko Systems. Even though seemingly these different companies work to produce different products and/or services, they spruiked a similar message of collaboration, investing in your capability and being fast and agile in delivering those products or services was vital in having success in today’s manufacturing landscape.
Mr. Gerry Ryan OAM from the Jayco Corporation mentioned that “Big won’t beat small anymore. The fast will beat the slow”. This means that the traditional advantage of larger companies essentially dominating smaller and medium size businesses in service and product delivery due to their size and resources has been changed by organisations that can innovate new technology, do it to a high quality and deliver it quickly to market. This has seen companies such as Thales outsource specialist jobs such as design and development for projects like their Hawkei army vehicle which has seen 80% of their work outsourced in collaboration with other engineering partners, a seemingly big increase compared to only 40% of work outsourced for their previous Bushmaster vehicle project.
The second session saw further interesting presentations shared by Albins Performance Transmissions, Austeng and local Maryborough-based company True Foods. The message of continuous improvement and providing value-add engineering solutions that provide not only a “pay this, provide this” business operation but focuses on going the extra step and taking a holistic approach to provide a solution that caters for a full system solution and not just the components or service items that may be provided in isolation. Albins Performance Transmissions CEO, Stephen Macdonald said try to “see things through your customer’s eyes” which allows you to really hone in on what they need in an ideal situation so then you can work out the engineering solutions to deliver them to that beneficial stage.
Further discussion involved SRX Global, Integra Systems and Australian Precision Technologies executives discuss their collaborative work they have undertaken since the 2015 manufacturing showcase that has allowed them to be more flexible and agile in the projects they can deliver for their customers. This idea of leveraging complementary services is one that we believe at SPN will be crucial in sustaining a manufacturing industry that is constantly trying to be leaner, more innovative yet cost effective.
True Foods Managing Director, Jim LeSage said David had been faster, more intelligent and had superior technology when beating Goliath on battle day. Essentially this was the best way to summarise the overall message that all speakers wanted to convey from their experiences during the various presentations that were dished out.
SPN Consulting would like to thank all the speakers including ICN and the Victorian Government for putting together an interesting and useful event for local manufacturing companies and associated SMEs and we look forward to next year!