Digital transformation forecasts for Australian manufacturing

Posted Feb 8, 2018 by Tim Sandle
Industrial practices are changing in order to match niche consumer demand. For companies to remain competitive a transition to smart manufacturing. A new report looks at how Australian manufacturing can develop this practice.
Automation has transformed the productivity of manufacturing since industrial robots first started p...
Automation has transformed the productivity of manufacturing since industrial robots first started painting, cutting, welding and assembling in the 1960s
Digital transformation is disrupting many sectors in many parts of world. This includes the manufacturing sector in Australia. While the Australian industry is strong, it lacks the ability to react to shifting consumer demand as flexibly as other countries. This is because much of Australia’s manufacturing is built on a large-scale, mass production model.
This is the headline finding of a new report from ReportLinker titled “Digital Transformation of the Australian Manufacturing Industry, Forecast to 2024.”
To maintain global completeness, the report states, Australian manufacturing needs to embrace and develop technologies like robotics, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and digital manufacturing. These will enable companies to design and manufacture complex, customised products. Moreover, such technologies enable companies to react to short lead times with fast turnaround, and they require fewer tools and help to minimize wastage. For companies that are concerned with employee costs, the technologies also lead to a lower labour demand.
While these technologies are important, there are other technological aspects of digital transformation that are called out as being of even greater importance. These are better use of data analytics and the application of the Industrial Internet of Things.
Here the use of big data analytics allows companies to analyse information in order to improve processes in production, logistics, and supply-chain management. As an example, machine downtime can be reduced and thus time savings on the factory floor can be made. Here analysis can help to predict when machine breakdowns are likely to occur, allowing preventive maintenance actions to be put in place.
With the Industrial Internet of Things, this enables various production processes to be accessed and controlled via the Internet, cloud, or other network servers. This particular area of growth is supported by IoT Alliance Australia which considers IoT technologies to potentially deliver $116 billion of potential upside to the Australian economy by 2025. This is mostly applicable to the electronic-health, smart cities, agriculture and the consumer sectors.
An obstacle to what is required in terms of digital transformation, affecting smaller and medium-size enterprises more than the bigger players, is with obtaining the funding necessary to investment in digital technology.