Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ers in­crease in­vest­ment in au­toma­tion

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - MAINTENANCE MATTERS -

Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots can­vassed the views of mem­bers of var­i­ous on­line groups ded­i­cated to com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ing com­mu­nity. These groups in­cluded the Aus­tralian Man­u­fac­tur­ers Fo­rum, the Aus­tralian Fur­ni­ture As­so­ci­a­tion In­dus­try Fo­rum, the First 500 group of SME busi­ness own­ers, the Aus­tralian Ad­vanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Coun­cil and The AiG Aus­tralian Man­u­fac­tur­ing LinkedIn group.

The re­sults showed three quar­ters of re­spon­dents were look­ing to in­vest in au­toma­tion in the fu­ture, sug­gest­ing an in­creas­ing fo­cus on in­no­va­tion within the Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, backed by con­tin­ued growth[1] and busi­ness con­fi­dence.

Amongst those re­spon­dents look­ing to in­vest in au­toma­tion, an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity (57 per­cent) plan to in­vest in ro­botic so­lu­tions in the fu­ture, while 36 per­cent plan to in­vest in au­toma­tion via ma­te­ri­als han­dling. A quar­ter of re­spon­dents plan to spend on In­ter­net of Things so­lu­tions, while just over one fifth will in­vest in on lo­gis­tics.

Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots’ re­sults re­in­force re­cent re­search from Tel­syte, which found that one in three or­gan­i­sa­tions in­tend to use robotics and 25 per­cent of large or­gan­i­sa­tions are al­ready us­ing Ro­botic Process Au­toma­tion[2].

Ac­cord­ing to the find­ings, the top rea­sons for Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ers to au­to­mate pro­cesses in­clude; im­prov­ing busi­ness ef­fi­ciency, re­duc­ing pro­duc­tion time, im­prov­ing qual­ity, re­duc­ing staff costs and free­ing up staff to work on value add tasks, as well as to sat­isfy grow­ing or­ders.

“In the face of high lo­cal labour costs and the need to drive ef­fi­cien­cies, au­tomat­ing pro­cesses is now con­sid­ered es­sen­tial in order to com­pete both on a re­gional and in­ter­na­tional level,” said Sher­mine Got­fred­sen, Gen­eral Man­ager, Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots, South­east Asia & Ocea­nia.

While the vast ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ers are con­fi­dent in their busi­ness growth and plan to in­vest in au­toma­tion, the re­search also in­di­cated that a lack of funds and in­for­ma­tion avail­able con­tinue to be a bar­rier to achiev­ing in­no­va­tion.

The top five bar­ri­ers to in­no­va­tion were iden­ti­fied as a lack of bud­get, in­abil­ity to raise funds, lack of knowl­edge of what prod­ucts are avail­able, un­sure where to start and too busy with day-to-day oper­a­tions.

“The up­take of au­toma­tion in the ANZ mar­ket has not yet reached the scale of adop­tion of Asian neigh­bours. As our re­search shows, a lack of in­for­ma­tion and aware­ness of avail­able au­toma­tion op­tions is still a sig­nif­i­cant hin­drance to Aus­tralian and New Zealand man­u­fac­tur­ers achiev­ing greater lev­els of in­no­va­tion. Lo­cal in­dus­try play­ers are not widely in­formed of where they can find in­for­ma­tion and help with their au­toma­tion and busi­ness needs,” said Got­fred­sen.

Other key find­ings from the sur­vey in­clude:

• Over 80 per­cent of busi­ness are ei­ther con­fi­dent or ex­tremely con­fi­dent about sales in the com­ing year. This is de­spite of a clear lack of con­fi­dence in the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s man­age­ment of the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor of the econ­omy, with 83 per­cent of re­spon­dents iden­ti­fy­ing it as be­ing ei­ther man­aged ei­ther poorly or not very well. • To fund au­toma­tion, the ma­jor­ity of man­u­fac­tur­ers (63 per­cent) rely on cash re­serves, fol­lowed by as­set fi­nance (29 per­cent) and ei­ther a busi­ness growth fund or state aid/grant (23 per­cent). • 95 per cent of or­gan­i­sa­tions ex­pect a full re­turn on in­vest­ment on an au­toma­tion so­lu­tion after 12 to 24 months.

The full sur­vey re­sults can be found in Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots’ new whitepa­per, ’State of In­no­va­tion and Au­toma­tion in Aus­tralian Man­u­fac­tur­ing’ here.

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