REPORT: Australian manufacturers not prepared for the future

By Glen White
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne has found that most Australian manufacturers are failing to take the steps needed...

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne has found that most Australian manufacturers are failing to take the steps needed to withstand the industry's steep decline.

The report – commissioned by the federal government - surveyed more than 1,050 small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses and found that fewer than 37 percent were actively implementing management practices to boost profit, productivity and market share.

Peter Gahan, director of the Centre for Workplace Leadership at Melbourne University, said the national survey of manufacturing businesses with 5-199 employees found that low demand in the Australian marketplace and the nation's uncertain financial future were the two greatest challenges facing the industry, closely followed by the cost of doing business.

He said the findings showed “significant room for improvement.”

“Whether the business has five employees or is a 500-person operation, the basic principles are essentially the same for getting outcomes and developing high-performance work practices,” said Gahan.

He also went on to say that best-practice measures such as developing the knowledge, skills and abilities of employees were implemented by a minority of Australian manufacturers.

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