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Video: Rethinking Australian manufacturing in a post COVID world

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The Australian manufacturing industry is undeniably highly dependent on overseas markets, a position that could be changed with the right capabilities in place, BDO Adelaide’s David Fechner explains.

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Achieving self-sufficiency in the market, identifying growth opportunities and being competitive globally are key issues for the industry, and were the subject of a recent panel discussion including experts from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre and BDO.

The panel, which consisted of BDO Corporate Finance Partner David Fechner, AMGC National Director of Industry Michael Sharpe and BDO’s Ryan Pollett and Bill Cole, acknowledge complex challenges are facing the sector, but say opportunities for innovation and growth exist, particularly for specialised manufacturers.

Fechner said the secret of success for Australian manufacturers will be their ability to innovate and quickly adapt their products and services while deeply understanding the market they’re supplying.

He said there had been a resurgence in manufacturing within Australia in recent months as manufacturers work to shorten supply chains, become less reliant on a single trade partner and pivot to answer critical needs in the market.

“The pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in our supply chains and also our ability to thrive in niche manufacturing for broader markets,” Fechner said.

“With this resurgence, we are seeing deeper discussion and interest in re-shoring or near-shoring manufacturing in Australia but does it make sense to do this?

“With growing geopolitical tensions across the globe, a rise in protectionist policy does seem to be the trend.

“However, for the Australian market, a look back at history shows us from World War II right up until the 1970s and ‘80s, protectionist tariffs hurt the Australian economy and resulted in decreased innovation.

“There’s no escaping the fact that Australia needs overseas markets to survive but the question remains, what capabilities do we need to ensure self-sufficiency in the market and where can we grow and be competitive globally.”

Watch the full discussion:

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