AMTIL is currently having discussions around the development of a Position Statement. The purpose of the Position Statement is for AMTIL to be able to clearly articulate our members’ views on industry issues and what AMTIL aims to do about them. It will assist us to develop clear strategic objectives for AMTIL, help identify how to effectively work with, and support stakeholders and give guidance to Government on how it should work with our industry for best outcomes.

We need more feedback from industry, not just around the issues but more importantly what could be done to address them. I would encourage anybody who has something to get off their chest to drop me an email. Remember though, solutions are what we need, so some thought around that aspect is required.

Some of the interesting feedback on issues is listed below, in no particular order, with some questions that have been raised.

Perception of manufacturing

We need to market and brand our industry better. We need to promote the success stories and showcase to the world how good we are. We need to influence the Government on the importance of manufacturing as a contributor to our economy and employment. We need to show leadership and develop high level global positioning strategies.

Supply Chain Development

We need to become more “product” oriented rather than “component” oriented. We need to develop products that we export to the world. We need to grow more first tier suppliers to major international OEMs and develop stronger supply chains underneath these companies. We need to better understand how SMEs can tap into major projects and assist in this process.

Research/IP

We need to promote and support mechanisms for connection between industry and research providers. We need better success rates at commercialising intellectual property. We need solutions to address funding of commercialisation. We need research to be more industry-driven.

Government procurement

We need encouragement from our Government that we are good at making things and that they will buy them. We need to be stronger in our commitment to Government Industry Participation Policies. We need to better understand what the drivers are for Government decisions that we currently see and don’t understand.

Skills and training

We need better management and leadership skills. We need to work out ways to replace the knowledge that will be lost when the baby boomers move on. We need better engagement with training organisations to help them with development of trade teachers. We need better “job readiness” of our younger generation. We need to look at the training requirements for tomorrow, not today.

Investment

We need mechanisms to encourage investment in technology. We need to reduce the average age of equipment so we are globally competitive. We need non-competitive incentives that are structural rather than competitive grant processes. We need better access to finance. We need to raise business confidence and look to the future.

Structural costs of business

We need to stop referring to “red tape” and identify specific costs of business that can be reduced. We need Government support to understand programs around knowledge, access and getting relief. We need to reduce input costs where possible.

Export development

We need to take more advantage of FTAs. We need trade mission activity. We need to develop high-tech, high-value-added products and market them internationally. We need to secure greater work for existing exporters. We need to better promote schemes such as Export Market Development Grants. We need to work better with Austrade. We need more collaboration on trade activity and assistance to “open doors”.

We need a lot of things! One of the biggest issues I think we have is a need to better co-ordinate the efforts that are being made to address these needs. We could take any of the “needs” above and come up with a whole raft of energy and resources that are being engaged to address them, yet we continue to raise them as issues. I would appear that despite the best intentions from many stakeholders and individuals, we struggle to resolve many of the important issues that are impacting on Australian manufacturers’ ability to grow their businesses.

I don’t think any of us believe nothing is being done. It is about how we can do things better. So, if you think something can be done better, please email me at sinfanti@amtil.com.au