Manufacturers in Australia, like many other businesses, have faced major disruptions since COVID-19. With an eye to the future, manufacturing companies need to think of innovative ideas to meet a resurgence in customer demand.
An important factor to help drive innovation and ensure the survival of product manufacturing companies as well as businesses involved in providing manufacturing services is to place a strong emphasis on Research & Development (R&D).
Once the economy stabilises, manufacturing will need to respond to a shift in customer demand. This will require a flexible approach from manufacturers, one that embraces digital capabilities.
Here we explore three reasons why it is important for Australian manufacturers to gear towards Research and Development.
1. Manufacturers in Australia – Employers of the Future
The growth and stability of the manufacturing sector in Australia, relies to a large extent on embracing innovation which is essential for producing quality products at competitive prices.
To foster growth and innovation, the manufacturing industry needs to invest resources in research and development. Each dollar invested in R&D will help in the modernisation of the manufacturing industry, encourage customers to procure Australian made products and boost employment.
According to the 2016 Australian Innovation System Report, innovative Australian businesses contribute to over 60% of sales and employment. These businesses are also 40% more likely to experience higher profits. This clearly indicates that innovation will lead to more job opportunities for highly skilled workers in the manufacturing sector.
Besides helping employees acquire new skills, user experience is an important consideration and a challenge manufacturing companies face on a regular basis.
This is because workers in the manufacturing sector are accustomed to working with control systems and machines. High-quality user experience is critical for workers who interact with machines and control systems to produce products efficiently. Research & Development for improving user experience plays an important role in delivering better, effective and efficient products which enhances user experience.
2. Keeping Abreast With Global Innovation Driven By Technology
Digital manufacturing has ushered in a new area of manufacturing – the fourth industrial revolution.
Embracing digitisation has resulted in a massive transformation of the manufacturing sector. It makes the industry more efficient and strengthens the bond between suppliers, producers, customers, as well as the relationship between humans and machines.
Automation, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are some of the products of the 4th Industrial revolution that will help manufacturers diversify through mass customisation enabling a competitive edge.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows manufacturing companies to explore new and creative ways to manufacture products. In recent years, it has contributed significantly to improving product quality, operational efficiency and productivity. Process automation, integrating machines and processes, improved data analysis, agile delivery and technology are key areas which should be the focus of R&D.
3. The Key Role of Product Lifecycle Management in R&D
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is one of the most important components of the manufacturing process. It helps manufacturers and fabricators accelerate product deliveries, generate more revenue and reduce production costs.
PLM quickly identifies shortcomings in the manufacturing process so it can be rectified before a situation spirals out of control, resulting in cost blowouts.
It comes as no surprise that manufacturers in Australia need to allocate a significant amount in their budgets each year to carry out improvements which can be directly attributed to the PLM.
PLM can yield huge financial benefits to manufacturers and fabricators, as well as help in increasing R&D efficiency. R&D makes it possible to improve technological capacities, fosters product innovation, and production processes.
In the post-pandemic economy, product development initiatives will rely increasingly on advanced information technology (IT) tools such as PLM. Collaborative software will enable stakeholders involved in product design to share updates and streamline manufacturing processes.
Investment in R&D delivers enormous gains in a company’s technological growth, employee satisfaction and capabilities. Improved processes, innovative products and quality service are reasons why it is more important than ever for manufacturers in Australia and businesses providing manufacturing services to invest in Research and Development.
As leading welding and fabrication specialists, LA Services are committed to investing in R&D to meet the needs of a changing economy. Our key focus is on optimising product experience for end users as well as developing a skilled workforce capable of thriving in a modern manufacturing environment.