Local manufacturing is critical to Australian business to stimulate ideas, diversity and innovation and when it thrives, the country’s long term economic growth and skills are enhanced.
A ready indication of the country’s economic state is construction. Driven by public and private investment, the construction industry is a powerful lever in driving Australia’s economy, to create local employment and boost onshore manufacturing.
The myriad links of the construction industry to other sectors throughout the economy results in manufacturing output stimulating more economic activity across a multitude of industries, including the design and manufacture of associated products and services. In addition, by keeping manufacturing on Australian shores, employment and skills will also benefit. For many local enterprises, keeping jobs and skills in Australia can be highly rewarding, as is the positive effects of collaboration and trust with business partners.
While Australian manufacturing has taken a blow in recent years, such as the closure of automotive companies and its impact on associated industries, Australia’s ability to re-invent itself will see innovation in new industries come to the fore. A key to the success of Australian manufacturing is Australia’s knack of producing and developing innovative, quality fit-for-purpose products to suit our particular set of conditions.
Many in the construction supply chain may perceive value in cheap, off-the-shelf imports, but often the hidden costs become a costly long term decision – as has been seen with devastating results in recent times with cladding.
The risk of cheap imports should not be underestimated as many importers give little regard or are simply oblivious to Australian legislative requirements, quality standards and supply expectation. Often there is insufficient due diligence given to product standards and suitability to application, leaving the construction industry exposed to un-tested and non-compliant products. In turn, these products become expensive and disruptive to replace and in some cases, there may be legal ramifications.
Developing a rapport with customers enables many Australian manufacturers to deliver products to the construction industry that are better adapted for the application and have more agreeable time frames. Additionally, an Australian manufacturer’s ability to collaborate with the customer or liaise and negotiate with other partners is a valuable bonus to the industry. In construction, local manufacturing opens the door for builders to tap into the supply chain which can inevitably result in significant project savings.
ACO, an Australian manufacturer since 1994, is proud to be a local manufacturer and business partner to the construction industry.
John Sordo, head of Marketing and Product Management, expresses it simply, “In order to remain competitive in manufacturing, a sustainable competitive advantage needs to be established. Successful Australian companies tend to know their customers better and are more empathetic to their challenges. They focus on quality, local adaptability, ethics, environmental sustainability and total project cost from cradle to grave.
“These key success factors will define a manufacturer, its leadership in best practices, the supply of premium products, its reputation for service, the way it communicates and the way it troubleshoots”.
A manufacturer of water and cable management products, ACO is embedded in the fabric of the construction industry from hospitals to commercial office buildings to food processing plants, ensuring the integrity of the building and the safety of its occupants and outcomes.
Recognising that research, innovation and design are fundamental to continued production of quality products, ACO continues to provide its customers with bespoke drainage systems for both internal and external applications either to visually harmonise with urban environments or to integrate into wash-down and threshold areas in and around buildings. All ACO systems are designed to address hydraulic performance and specific user and legislative requirements.
“We believe that Australia’s manufacturing strength lies in its ability to commercialise innovation, market its competencies and support the customer,” says John.
“Knowing the Australian construction regulation and compliance landscape, the stakeholders and how the construction industry evolves, allows companies like ACO to cement long term, rewarding relationships. We can design products to suit a specific need, provide technical advice and ongoing support, long after the product has been supplied.”
ACO’s success comes from its commitment to innovation and design. This dedication and ability to bring design to commercial reality was evident in its participation at the International Festival of Landscape Architecture as supporting corporate partner of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA). Furthermore, ACO is also a corporate sponsor of Consult Australia and will continue to participate and support the Australian Consulting Design Community operating in the built and natural environment.
“In such a competitive industry, customers want lifetime value not just the cheapest product”, adds John. “Operating in the same market as its customers allows manufacturers to easily collaborate with all stakeholders. This allows the Australian manufacturer to draw from its competencies and offer customers value-based solutions – Australian owned, designed and manufactured.”