A future for making things

Global trends in manufacturing Image source: Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap
28 November 2016

Australian manufacturing is gasping for air, and CSIRO is ready to provide fresh oxygen for its survival.

Its Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap is the first in a series, each of which will be aligned to Industry Growth Centres. It was written in collaboration with industry, government and researchers, and identifies growth opportunities, and how manufacturers can realise them.

The document canvasses the changes that are taking place in global manufacturing markets, and finds that they may play into Australia's favour. They include trends towards increasing levels of customisation, blurring lines between manufacturing and the delivery of services, and advances in digital connectivity and analytics.

The roadmap also notes an increasing need for sustainable operations.

Australia's comparative disadvantages such as high labour costs, geographical remoteness and a small domestic market could become less important. Meanwhile, comparative advantages may become more important, such as our access to Asia, the high level of education and skills in this country, and our political and economic stability.

The report identifies a series of opportunites but they will require significant investment in technological innovation by public and private research communities. Promising areas Australian manufacturers should focus on include:

But the report also notes that manufacturers in this country are failing to capitalise on their advantages.

"Australian manufacturers must proactively transform the way they run their businesses, investing in new knowledge and practices."

Manufacturing is more and more a global game, which means that integrating into international value chains is vital, and requires that manufacturing in Australia transforms into a highly integrated, collaborative and export-focused environment producing high-value solutions.

CSIRO's vision for Australian manufacturing: Over the next 20 years it will evolve into a highly integrated, collaborative and export-focused ecosystem that provides high-value customised solutions within global value chains.

The sector will focus on pre-production (design, R&D) and post-production (after-sales services) value-adding, sustainable manufacturing and low volume, high margin customised manufacturing.

The report urges leaders in the sector to

More information: www.csiro.au