Specialisation makes a market small. Globalisation makes it big. Imagine the possibilities if you combine the two. That’s what’s on offer for manufacturers who find a niche in the global supply chain.
We live in a global marketplace – as the arrival of Amazon has confirmed. And it’s quickly becoming apparent that the Australian market alone is too small for manufacturers to survive against global competitors.
But that doesn’t have to mean game over. In fact, there’s a growing number of manufacturers who are zoning in on the global value chain – the series of activities that create or add value at every stage of making a product. For many, this means partnering with global companies to bring them a solution to a highly specialised area – something only they can provide.
With about 70 per cent of world trade structured within the global value chains of multi-national corporations, this represents a huge opportunity for manufacturers. They simply need to know how to unlock the value.
There are five keys manufacturers need to zone in on the global supply chain and global value chain:
Globalisation needs digitalisation. Australian manufacturers need to be ready to take advantage of the enormously connected global supply chains using digital technologies, especially Industry 4.0 and cloud-based systems.
Supply chains will continue to shift and move with new technologies, so those who readily adapt using digital manufacturing will be best positioned for success. Be constantly on the lookout for new technologies and systems that can improve and help grow your business. (Here’s a practical guide to the technologies driving Industry 4.0 and you can read more about digital manufacturing here)
Find your specialisation and zone in on it. This doesn’t mean becoming a niche supplier, but a global supplier. Austrade works with multinational companies, such as Volkswagen, Airbus, Siemens Healthcare and Bayer, to identify particular gaps across their value chains where Australia can provide specific expertise and capability, and then identifies and introduces the right Australian suppliers to fulfil these requirements. Rather than choosing those with big names and company profiles, Austrade looks for an exact match of capabilities and solutions.
Manufacturers need to be willing to invest – not only in the right digital technologies but, most importantly, in R&D. In this era of disruption, the desire to invest will distinguish forward-thinking manufacturers from the rest. (You may find this blog on “lean” manufacturing combined with Industry 4.0 as the next potential level of operational excellence interesting. Think you can’t be in it because you can’t afford new technology? Think again: buying is not the only answer. )
The fourth key that manufacturers need is hunger: a hunger to succeed. Globally successful companies are increasingly set apart by their vision for growth, and the motivators that drive that growth. There may be many hurdles on your journey to global success, but with the right values, the world is ripe for the taking.
- Consumer trends
Consumer needs are changing. An eye on constantly emerging consumer trends can help you identify emerging opportunities. (I wrote about 3 trends for manufacturers to watch here. You’ll find a host of other blogs on trends here.)
Along with the challenges from increased globalisation come great opportunities. Granted, not all businesses are suited to global supply chains, but many are. Using these five keys, you can unlock new avenues for growth.
You may also find this information on a bimodal supply chain interesting too; and this could be a good place to start exploring the global supply chain idea for your business. Quite simply, a “bi-modal” supply chain is the practice of managing two separate but coherent styles of work: one focused on maintaining the status quo and managing day-to-day operations; the other on exploring new ideas and innovations. You can read more here.
Looking for some more resources? Matthews’ huge large resource library is packed with highly informative case studies, whitepapers, presentations we’ve done to industry bodies, infographics for manufacturing, articles from our thought leaders, vids showing solutions in action, lots of detailed of brochures and more! And it’s all free to download!
Image credit: iStock / Gumpanat