Be the disruptor, not the disrupted

HERA is launching our Future Forum series next year on 21 February 2020.

-Brian Low, HERA conference organiser.

HERA to launch Future Forum series

The third industrial revolution changed the way previous generations worked – and very soon, the fourth industrial revolution will do the same again for us.

Inevitably, we’ll have the ability to access powerful resources previously unavailable or uneconomic. Our members in the engineering and manufacturing sectors now need to innovate and change to understand and counter or utilise those resources.

Why the need to care?

The rise of technologies – such as machine learning, automation, augmented reality and virtual reality looms over the horizon. In other words, ‘business as usual’ will soon be ‘business no longer’.

But we get it. Some of these technologies seem too far out of reach to ever affect our industry. Or just plain overwhelming, expensive or impractical to uptake. And although innovation can be promising, it has several aspects which makes it challenging to be implemented in different systems or organisations.

What we can say, is that Industry 4.0 and digitalisation are the future of manufacturing. Companies may not survive in a competitive and fast-changing market if they aren’t agile and flexible. That means understanding these concepts and eventually finding ways to adopt them is critical.

Governments and some academic institutions are already struggling to keep up with the changes Industry 4.0 is bringing. In order to cope, our members need to step up and be more agile. Be they fabricators, consultants, product suppliers or services providers.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will affect strategies, structure, business models and operational processes in the engineering sector.

Even we at HERA have aligned our vision and mission to keep up with changing contexts. Our structure, training and research have and will continue to adapt as well. Especially as we find ways to serve our membership meaningfully and effectively.

Similarly, our members will need to adapt to survive.

HERA Future Forum

That’s why HERA is launching our Future Forum series next year on 21 February 2020.

It’s about getting all our metalheads in a room together! Because we know the best ideas, experiences and adoption of new concepts happen better when there’s critical mass – and with the right people!

The day is split into three key events.

Kicking off with our Nation breakfast. A forum that connects our current workforce and its leaders, with our future generation of engineers. It’s a dynamic mix designed to spark open conversation, and to build a tribe of metalheads. It’s also the first time we’ve ever hosted an event like this!

Next will be the main event for the day – 20/20 VISION. Come to gain insights into what will affect you in the next three years, understanding of what you’ll need to do to pivot or prepare and what as an industry we need to do to futureproof ourselves.

You’ll learn how a steel pedestrian bridge on the other side of the world was 3D printed, how a pioneer in Australia has turned his fabrication business into a profitable digitally enhanced business, and how HR innovations attract new blood to our industry.

We’ve handpicked experts to speak on topics that absolutely have the potential to disrupt your current business. These experts have been there and done it. They’ve either owned traditional businesses that they’ve pivoted in a completely different way or explored new ideas from the start.

Their brief? To share their real-life experiences and…

  • how they adopted these innovations into their business,
  • the challenges they had to overcome,
  • the value of doing so, and
  • how it was all possible.

Des Watkins from Watkins Steel shows us how he implemented an end-to-end digital process to enhance his steel fabrication business. Futurist Chris Riddell shows us what’s in store for our industry in the coming years.

Gijs van der Velden lets us into the secrets of large-scale 3D printing of steel components. Alia Bojilova tells us how we can retain and attract staff. Mike Hutcheson helps us understand how to build a culture of innovation and vision`.

And lastly, we’ll close out the day in celebration at our Nation Dinner. A night of recognition, celebration and connection. Plus, it’ll be different to what we’ve done in the past! Our goal is to make it fun, exciting and inspiring as well.

It’ll be held every three years… so this is also another reason to make sure you’re there! And if you’re in the industry or work with the engineering industry, and are not a HERA member, let’s fix that! Email or visit


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