New Industry 4.0 report says  ‘call to action’ needed for Australian manufacturers

A new report containing research by Siemens, PwC, Swinburne University and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has been released, identifying the ways Australian manufacturers can transform to seize the opportunities presented by the global Industry 4.0 movement.

The report is titled Transforming Australian Manufacturing: Preparing businesses and workplaces for Industry 4.0. It offers seven recommendations for government, industry, unions and educational/research institutions, and says that “Australian manufacturing businesses urgently need a ‘call to action’ to understand why they must invest more in their workforces, research and technology to thrive in the next industrial revolution.”

Industry 4.0 – the digitalisation of and data integration throughout value chains, enabled by connectivity, artificial intelligence, communications and other technology – is estimated to be worth an extra $US 15 trillion to global GDP by 2030. Some Australian manufacturers are evolving, but the majority are still understanding how they should act, according to the research.

The report comes out of work by the Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum (previously the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce) and its Testlabs and Future Work, Education And Training Workstream, co-chaired by Professor Aleksandar Subic, Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development), and Andrew Dettmer, National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

“In order for Australian companies to access global value chains and associated benefits within an emerging Industry 4.0 world, our businesses and government must actively encourage and support new skills development in advanced industrial digitalisation across the entire continuum, from vocational training to higher education and PhDs,” said Subic in a statement.

“This requires disruptive innovation in education and training based on new models of public and private sector partnerships.”

The seven recommendations are

–  Commonwealth Government to facilitate the development and release of a manufacturing Industry 4.0 strategy.

–  Develop a new online portal that provides consolidated and easy to access information on government incentives and programs for manufacturing businesses.

–  Establish hubs for Industry 4.0 commercial manufacturing activity focused on priority industry sectors.

–  Continue to remove barriers between Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher Education in Australia’s tertiary education system to facilitate collaboration opportunities and seamless learner pathways.

–  Establish a workforce transformation leadership program.

–  Create funding and accreditation models to support lifelong learning, reskilling and upskilling throughout the work lifecycle.

–  Enhance the integration of manufacturing business supply chains through strategic procurement.


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