Manufacturing Report: Infrastructure, policy and innovation are essential

Private Matters, June 2012

Manufacturing Report: Infrastructure, policy and innovation are essentialA new report from Deloitte and the World Economic Forum lists a series of issues that will drive manufacturing success in coming decades.

The recent report The Future of Manufacturing: Opportunities to Drive Economic Growth outlines some clear and important new trends emerging that will define manufacturing and competition over the next 20 years. These trends will require the attention and collaboration of business leaders as well as government and policy makers.

According to the report, innovation will play a key role in determining which countries and companies can succeed in global manufacturing, looking two decades down the road.

The report highlighted how critical it is that manufacturers innovate to stay ahead of competition, and that the pace of innovation is as critical. Manufacturers must also be better enabled by having infrastructure and a policy environment that better supports university and research breakthroughs in science and technology.

Damon Cantwell, Manufacturing Partner at Deloitte Australia highlights that success through innovation is evident at both the company and country level.

"Those companies seen as more innovative recorded increases in net income far in excess of their competitors, while more innovative countries outgrew others in both GDP and GDP per capita," he says.

The report also stressed the importance of effective collaboration between policy-makers and the manufacturing industry across a range of areas, including trade, tax, labour, energy, education, science, technology and industry policy.

Cantwell says the report indicates that Australia has much to offer in the areas that will define future manufacturing success. 

"Opportunities present themselves in infrastructure, market access, innovation, clean energy and human capital. Australia is not alone in the substantial realignment that is going on in manufacturing.  The findings of this Report can assist companies and policymakers best understand how to position themselves for the future." he says.

The Future of Manufacturing report is the result of a year-long effort combining primary and secondary research, including a review of academic and industry literature, interviews with more than 30 manufacturing businesses, academia, and policy leaders, and 'virtual' taskforce meetings.

As the report describes, 'over the past several decades, the globalisation of the manufacturing ecosystem has driven more change and impacted the prosperity of more companies, nations and people than at any time since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Nations around the world have taken part in and benefited from the rapid globalisation of industry and expansion of manufacturing. Globalisation of manufacturing has been a key driver of higher-value job creation and a rising standard of living for the growing middle class in emerging nation economies. This has dramatically changed the nature of competition between emerging and developed nations as well as between companies'.

Damon Cantwell concludes, "While significant change is currently impacting Australian manufacturing, this report reinforces what the picture of a sustainable manufacturing industry in Australia looks like.

"Like manufacturers themselves, governments will increasingly find themselves in a competitive situation against other countries to create the circumstances that drive the best outcomes for their business sector."

For further information please contact:

Damon Cantwell, 
Partner, Tax
Tel: +61 3 9671 7543