Last year the Launceston Chamber of Commerce partnered with Ausindustry and other stakeholders on a project to map the current manufacturers in the North, to better understand the capabilities of the sector and the challenges they face.
The draft report is to be released today at a briefing with participating manufacturers and other interested businesses at Tailrace at 2.30pm this afternoon.
Maree Tetlow, the Executive officer at the Launceston Chamber of Commerce said that “the project started out of concern about our manufacturing sector and the jobs losses over the past few years. We spoke to Sarah Jones, then at Ausindustry, who briefed us on the success of a manufacturing mapping project in Burnie and the North West. That project mapped the supply chain and inter-dependencies of businesses around a couple of larger manufacturers in the area, one being Caterpillar. The outcome was that training was facilitated, new informal networks were developed, both of which have helped those businesses collaborate in some areas to the benefit of their business and the region.”
Ms Tetlow continued with “The North is in a similar situation where we do have a couple of dominant manufacturers in Bell Bay, and we need to better understand how we can reduce the dependencies on one or two business, and increase the opportunities to further expand our manufacturing sector” she said.
The session being held at Tailrace today will release findings of the report entitled ‘Mapping Capability and Connections – Northern Tasmania Manufacturing’ by Sarah Jones, now at AI Group, as the Report Author and Facilitator. Our other guest speaker is Tony Cade, CEO of the HunterNet Co-operative Limited (a manufacturing Industry group from the Hunter Valley). He will address key findings and reflect on his company's experiences. His region has been responding to changes in the manufacturing sector for many years, offering us the opportunity to share his knowledge and understanding.
Media Inquiries Contact:
Maree Tetlow 0408 825 060 or 03 6331 9364
END MEDIA RELEASE (summary of the report is attached)
Summary of Findings from the Mapping Capability and Connections – Northern Tasmania Manufacturing.
Key points from the report are as follows:
- Manufacturing is operating in an increasingly global environment.
- The manufacturing industry is important to Northern Tasmania as it directly employs almost 6000 people and generates further employment through broader supply chain from retail trade, to freight and logistics to education and training.
- Advanced Manufacturing has been prioritised as a priority sector for Tasmania by the State Government.
- Participants in this study included the larger mineral processors at Bell Bay, smaller engineering firms, and specialist manufacturers, including food and agricultural value-adding production and packaging.
- Many businesses interviewed could see growth opportunities in sectors that they had not previously been involved in – resources, oil and gas, food and agri-business and water and energy.
- There were mixed results on employment trends over the past three years. 39% of businesses reported a decrease in employment over the period as a result of a reduction in workload due to global commodity prices etc. And another 29% reported increasing employment over the same period.
- There was optimism for the future with many businesses reporting they expect to employ more staff in the coming months.
- 39% of businesses reported the lack of skilled staff was the biggest impediment to growth.
- The biggest skills gaps were identified around the Trades (electrical, automation, mechanical) followed by supervisory and leadership skills, continuous improvement skills, industrial blasting and spraying, and engineering skills.
Summary of Recommendations:
- Existing businesses will attract new customers which will fully utilise existing capability and under-utilised capacity (Equipment and People)
2. Existing businesses will jointly bid for work currently greater than what one single entity can attempt.
3. Existing businesses will attract new customers by adding to what they currently offer as a service
4. New businesses will establish themselves because the local region / infrastructure / market provides an “advantage”
5. Bolster the capability of existing businesses “Defensive Strategy” against further reductions
Each recommendation includes a suite of actions such as: providing support for expanding and fine-tuning business plans; training key staff in lean manufacturing; development of websites for business to increase their export and promotional capabilities; and further developing the formal and informal networks to better access intelligence and skills transfers.