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Get smart and get sorted for the next evolution of manufacturing trends

Manufacturing is unfairly labelled as a slow-moving industry. In reality, the opposite is true: a globally connected economy is driving change at an incredible pace.

On the factory floor, and right across the production cycle, Australia’s manufacturing industry is not just preparing for change. We’re already experiencing it.

So, what does the future hold for manufacturing? And what should you be doing now to prepare for tomorrow’s clever, customised, connected world?

Manufacturing trends forming at home and abroad

Last year the Federal Government announced $1.3 billion to help our manufacturing industry scale-up, compete globally, and create more resilience in the supply chain. Called the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI), the funding came after the sector stagnated.

Meanwhile, CSIRO Futures, working with the government and industry, laid down a roadmap for manufacturers to seize the upcoming opportunities.

Here are the trends they identified.

Big data (and small data)

Industry 4.0 will see nanotechnology, automation and data permeate every part of the manufacturing industry. You might think the technology revolution is a way off, but it’s already here:

  • Sensors and sensor control devices
  • Internet of Things (remote-controlled equipment)
  • Automation across the production cycle
  • AR and VR
  • 3D printed parts

The MMI will boost investment in science and technology. But manufacturers need to pull their weight too, investing in training and education, smart systems, software and continuous improvement.

Sustainability and climate change

Climate change is disrupting the value chain more every year. Whether it’s raw materials (including water and energy) becoming harder to source, or rising calls for our industry to adopt low-carbon production methods, sustainability is now a consideration for every company.

CSIRO Futures and the ABC predict that customer demand for sustainably made products will keep climbing. For manufacturers, this means adopting low-emissions methods and earning sustainability credentials that prove a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Niche markets are popping up all over the place. Why? Because customers are looking for personalised products at affordable prices. Made-to-order is the new standard in a world where everything from running shoes to steel for submarine hulls can be customised to meet specific demands.

Innovations in areas like 3D printing and downstream processing capabilities enable this kind of personalisation at scale. At the same time, manufacturers who pivot from delivering products to creating solutions can capture more of the market.

This requires a mindset shift and data-driven insight to capitalise on market opportunities. But when you think beyond producing widgets to packaged solutions, customers respond well.

Revisit our blog on value-added activities for more on this topic.

Global market outlook

Australia might have closed the borders to combat COVID-19, but we’re still part of a globalised economy. In fact, we’re so connected with international markets that CSIRO says our traditional disadvantages – remoteness, high labour costs, relatively small and conservative market – are no longer barriers to success.

Embrace the global economy. By expanding your horizons beyond our borders, you can find customers in an enormous market hungry for our high standards.

How Jobman helps you prepare for the future

Jobman is a browser-based ERP system for Australian manufacturers. With all the data you need to make strategic decisions available at your fingertips, from anywhere in the world, Jobman provides the answers to questions you’re not even asking yet.

Our team can help you integrate an ERP system with a future focus. Get in touch to find out more about our tailored packages or discover all the features on our website.

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