The Summit provided a focus for discussion on Australia’s Manufacturing future.
Four workshop streams looked at globalisation, investment, innovation and skills. These determined that more flexibility is needed in training options; Australian manufacturing needed to be promoted to overseas purchasers; practical support is required for companies employing older workers; better access to risk capital is required; a review of the tax system is needed; and greater promotion of government subsidies and grants is necessary.
There was a clear message for all manufacturers regardless of whether they export or just supplying the domestic market: "understand and recognise the intensity of the global challenge", whether this be skills, finance or customers.
A number of themes from successful manufacturers (large and small) kept coming through, including:
* Competing on time is a key success factor (reducing inventory, turnaround times).
* Become globally competitive (even as a domestic supplier).
* Keep investing in workforce skills.
* Integrate product and service.
* Mass production is inefficient.
* Build capability in agility - ability to react quickly.
* Reputation and trust are critical.