Mining may be Western Australia’s specialty, but it’s the manufacturing industry that converts those raw materials into useable products. For a long time, Australia has supplied raw materials to manufacturing economies, such as China, while its own industry has declined as a result. Australia’s manufacturing industry now amounts to 9% of the GDP where it was once 27%.
Economists agree that this trend needs to reverse, or Australia’s economy will suffer in the long-term. It needs to focus on establishing a powerful manufacturing industry in its own right, rather than continue to rely on others to do the building, as an economy’s potential for growth is determined by what it is able to produce for itself. As a result, the Australian government is looking to invest in manufacturing, and in 2013 they announced an AU$1 billion package to promote job opportunity and small business growth in the industry.
Being the source of the bulk of Australia’s mineral wealth, Western Australia could become a hub of manufacturing, as well as mining activity. There’s been much discussion about the benefits information technology can bring to mining, whether in the form of robotics technology or specialized mining software. So too can the implementation of business enterprise software be of significant aid in optimizing the complex procedures of the manufacturing industry.
Links in the Chain
The manufacturing supply chain is long and intricate, often involving materials or components sourced from separate, far-flung locations. Such materials go through several stages before the finished product finally ends up in the hands of the customer, and each of those stages requires careful coordination and monitoring.
Supply, inventory management, customer order management, and distribution are all importance parts of the process. The source location of the raw materials, the factory floor, the warehouse, and the shelves of retailers are all important links in the chain, and each needs access to any important information pertaining to the manufacturing process.
So manufacturers have to manage affairs spread out across multiple locations, and they have to be in contact with all their various affiliates. Suppliers, distributors and the customers themselves need to be kept informed, and data needs to be available when it’s needed.
Enterprise Resource Software products, such as MYOB, improve efficiency and provide adaptability. For example, they enable manufacturers to track products through their serial numbers, ensuring that information on their whereabouts can readily be made available to all interested parties.
Software provides manufacturers with easy access to all the relevant data, allowing them to keep up to date with changing prices, supply, and demand. It enables more efficient stock management, and it can help a company ascertain the performance levels of its various departments.
It can help coordinate every stage of the manufacturing process, improve performance in every department within the company, whether it is finance, human resources or customer service, and facilitate communication between manufacturer, supplier and customer.
Australian concrete manufacturer Slate-Crete implemented MYOB EXO within the space of six months, after deciding that their legacy systems weren’t providing the required visibility. Benefits included a system that would alert them if stocks were running low, and that could provide them with an average sales statistic for any business cycle, allowing them to better determine realistic targets for future cycles. Using MYOB EXO, they can instantaneously obtain detailed reports on the performance of any department at any time, whereas in the old days they would have to forward the request to the accounting department and wait for a reply.
Meanwhile, musical instrument manufacturer Maton Guitars credits MYOB EXO with providing a helping hand in their attempts to expand into international markets. Critical to that success was its ability to simply the process of issuing invoices in foreign currencies, and to provide salespeople anywhere in the world with information on order status and stock availability. The ease with which they could process online orders also enabled them to provide better customer service.
These are just a few examples of the impact Enterprise Resource Software can have in Australia’s manufacturing industry. With ambitions to establish itself as a rival to manufacturing powerhouses in Asia, Australia will need to invest heavily in upgrading its capabilities, and the implementation of information technology is one way that can be achieved.
Matthew Flax writes for Now Learning Australia, an education portal that promotes higher learning opportunities in Australia, including MYOB courses in accounting to help manufacturers make better use of their software systems.