29 Aug Innovation in Production
We hear a lot of commentary today on the push to innovate our products and services to bring something new to the market. Our sales and marketing people always want something new. The dictionary definition of innovation is to change, alter, transform or metamorphosis.
A product providing a function and customer feedback pushing for new functionality and features, this is usually the drive for continued innovation. What is so often forgotten is to innovate the way the products are made and assembled. While this will not produce a new product, it can often result in reduced costs and time to manufacture.
There are many technologies that function very well but their costs make them financially unviable against lower cost options. We see this in the green energy sector. Innovating to reduce production costs and increasing life expectancy will have a very positive impact. Once we see carbon pricing impacting currently lower cost solutions, this will make more costly solutions more competitive.
With the realisation that the relationship between Australia and our traditional low-cost manufacturing partners continues to deteriorate. The very real possibility is that product will need to be manufactured here in Australia. The continued deterioration results on import/export delays and raising costs, add in the potential for carbon costs due the freight to Australia. Manufacture here may end up being the only viable option. I for one, would be delighted. This is nothing but positive for the country, it does create design problems. Our very high rates of labor can make a product very costly.
Often in the design process complex labor intensive assemble is not a problem when the labor costs are <$1/hr. This is a massive problem here with basic labor rates of $30/hr+. Revisiting the product assembly process with the target of minimizing the labor cost portions can help to make product viable here and still not have too big an impact on the end price.
We can do it here. Innovate for a better tomorrow.