From February issue of NZ Manufacturer
“AMA is committed to working collaboratively towards a system that works smoothly and supports a sustainable, prosperous future.” -Catherine Lye, CEO, Advanced Manufacturing Aotearoa (AMA)
New Zealand has a strong manufacturing sector, but it could be better, stronger, more productive. Technology is a key enabler.
When it comes to boosting productivity in the manufacturing sector, small is indeed New Zealand’s superpower. Despite New Zealand’s size, our manufacturing & tech sector has capitalised on this characteristic to drive efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness.
“New Zealand’s small market allows us to develop and market-test in a small scale before scaling up to export to larger markets. Manufacturing onshore means we have more control over quality and our IP, and we support local suppliers, which all helps grow the economy.” Nick Coubray, CEO (New Zealand Advanced Manufacturing Report 2023).
Our manufacturing and tech sectors have many great individual players, but we lack the coordination necessary to realise their full potential. New Zealand needs growth. New Zealand needs companies that are going global and internationalising, growing prosperity and potential for all NZ. But we could do better.
Through modernising our manufacturing, we can continue to foot it with the best in the world.
“Buckleys is embracing Industry 4.0 with its ongoing investment in CNC machines which are bigger, faster, more accurate, and can process more than one job. Continued development with senior operators on their use of digital tools is an ongoing programme, ensuring the investment is fully realised. Additionally, the business has purchased an enterprise resource planning system, enabling better data-driven manufacturing and processing improvements. This digital investment enables Buckley Systems to maintain its growth trajectory.” Arron Sands, CEO.
There is opportunity for enhanced production through improving coordination and awareness across manufacturing, tech, agritech, aerospace, and energy. Silos develop naturally, but management theory tells us that silos inhibit innovation, production, and efficiency.
In a networked ecosystem, knowledge sharing, and collaboration drive collective learning and innovation faster than if we work individually. SMBs can learn from the successes and failures of their peers, adapt best practices, and co-create solutions to common challenges.
For SMB’s, embracing advanced manufacturing is not without its hurdles. Limited financial resources, lack of expertise, and concerns about the ROI of new technologies can often deter smaller manufacturers from investing in innovation.
However, these challenges can be overcome through collaboration. By tapping into this network, SMBs can access a wealth of resources, expertise, and support that would otherwise be out of reach.
This tight integration allows for the rapid dissemination of best practices, all of which are essential for enhancing productivity.
“The benefit of the AMA Regional group for me has been networking. The hard part for us is always trying to understand what our next phase is and how that looks because we’re relatively small (20 FTE’s).
“We don’t have the internal expertise needed for that next stage and our growth rates have been reasonably rapid. So, we’ve always been behind the eight-ball trying to understand what’s next and how we increase production and what our technology looks like in 6 – 12 months’ time.”
“Just seeing what everyone else is doing because we’re all about advancing our business every day and trying to find the next thing that will make us better, faster, more competitive. Every time there’s a little gem that you go away with, it’s like, I can make that change and it’s going to make something better for someone – workers, customers, consumers.”
So, the more we can do to help each other out there, the better. We’re not here to shy away from the very real challenges that our country is going to face through the next period. We have amazing capability in business. We just need to explore ways to best optimize the inter-relationships and leverage points.
A small amount of government funding to finance marketing, awareness and coordination activities at the regional level will pay considerable dividends enabling manufacturers to leverage collective insights and experiences, accelerating the uptake of technological advancements such as automation, AI, and additive manufacturing, driving productivity gains, and maintaining a competitive edge in the global markets.
While SMB manufacturing businesses may individually appear modest in scale, their collective impact on New Zealand’s economy is significant. Supporting and fostering the growth of these businesses is essential for ensuring the continued prosperity and resilience of the New Zealand’s manufacturing industry.
Through strengthening NZ’s manufacturing network, AMA aim to support the adoption of new technology, processes and strategies that enable more productive, sustainable, and globally competitive advanced manufacturing.
Solving business problems takes co-ordination – rich networks and community. And it’s our job to help get you connected to those networks faster.
AMA is committed to working collaboratively towards a system that works smoothly and supports a sustainable, prosperous future.
Small can be BIG. Join us www.amanz.nz