To embrace the impact of global manufacturing led by digitally driven products and services, Australian businesses are adopting new strategies and evolving their operations to access new opportunities.
The rise of robotics, big data and machine learning have created multiple applications across many industry sectors which act as ‘disrupters’ and have transformed traditional ‘single sector’ focused manufacturing practices.
This has created fully integrated and diversified global value chains (GVCs) which offer significant opportunities in specialised, high value-add manufacturing for innovative Australian SMEs.
Austrade has been implementing a Cross-Sector Advanced Manufacturing Strategy to help Australian firms access these opportunities.
The Advanced Manufacturing Cross-Sector Strategy is centred on introducing Australian suppliers across the transport, resources and energy and medical sectors into GVCs of major multinational corp.
Strategy identifies multiple sectoral opportunities
Austrade has been engaging with large multinational corporations to help identify supply chain gaps, and then develop tailored ‘customer access programs’ to address demand.
The programs look beyond company names, profiles and traditional areas of focus to instead match capabilities and solutions with the requirements of multinational GVC supply chains.
This approach has helped identify new export opportunities for Australia’s auto industry with car manufacturers in markets where full-scale automotive production is still being undertaken, such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Mexico.
It has also led to opportunities in industries such as aviation, defence or medical technologies for Australian auto sector companies which are able to adapt their existing capabilities and solutions to new applications.
Opportunities in resources, defence and marine unveiled
Across the resources sector, the Mining Technology Access Program (MTAP) saw Austrade engage with senior mine management of a large mine in Latin America to identify Australian solutions for the mine’s specific needs.
The work resulted in Austrade identifying 38 Australian suppliers with experience and applications across multiple sectors able to provide solutions to a priority list of 10 focal areas, which included the mine’s sustainability, productivity, safety and environmental impact. These efforts have also helped numerous Australian suppliers secure sizeable contracts.
Promoting Australian capability at events such as the International Maritime Exhibition (Pacific) 2017, held in Sydney last October, is another example of how this strategy has been applied.
At Pacific 2017, Australia’s advanced manufacturing and defence industry sectors – namely Australia’s commercial and defence maritime manufacturers and service providers – were showcased to key global defence prime integrators and their Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers.
These efforts resulted in 15 site visits for international buyer delegations – from France, Indonesia, Japan, Qatar, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates – which took place after Pacific 2017. These visits provided key players a better understanding of Australian industry capabilities and direct access to potential Australian partners.
On a broader scale, this strategy helps foster sustainable business growth, secure and enhance local job creation, while attracting investment to Australia’s innovative advanced manufacturing sector.
Strategy receives global recognition
In 2016, Austrade’s Advanced Manufacturing Cross-Sector Strategy was shortlisted by the International Trade Centre for the Trade Promotion Organization Network Awards - Developed Country Category.
Austrade’s shortlisting demonstrates how the agency is taking innovative and effective practices and procedures in export development initiatives.
Sharon Wilson, BAE Systems General Manager Global Access Programs, said Australian suppliers are talented problem solvers and their engineers provide great solutions that save time and money.
“As a multinational corporation (MNC) and a defence prime looking to stay ahead of the game, we are keen to include more Australian capabilities in our global value chain,” said Ms Wilson.
“We are working with Austrade because their cross-sector advanced manufacturing initiative allows us to gain insights into solutions from other sectors that are adaptable to our projects in defence.
“Austrade is in the best position to assist global Primes and MNCs who may be seeking a particular technology or product but don’t know about the capabilities of other sectors; while their cross-sectoral knowledge has proved to be invaluable when trying to integrate SMEs,” she added.
To-date, more than 10 peak associations have endorsed and agreed to collaborate with Austrade on the advanced manufacturing cross-sector initiative and has involved leading MNCs like Volkswagen, Airbus, Siemens Healthcare and Bayer.
To learn more about the accessing these global opportunities contact Austrade.