Six expert predictions for manufacturing in 2018

What does 2018 hold for Australian manufacturing?

Matthews Australasia asked six industry experts for their thoughts on the big changes ahead and where manufacturers’ priorities should be in 2018.

Meet the experts 

  • David Chuter, Managing Director and CEO, Innovative Manufacturing CRC Limited
  • Chris Henderson, Industry Fellow, UQ Business School
  • Travis Meade, General Manager, CMTP
  • Brett Wiskar, R&D and Innovation Director, Wiley
  • Mark Dingley, Managing Director – Matthews AustralasiaChairman – APPMA


Here, a short excerpt from, and a link to the article highlighting what the industry experts predict for 2018:


Digitisation, automation and the cloud

Will manufacturers be investing in automation and digitisation systems and technologies in 2018? The answer was a resounding “yes” from the experts.

According to IMCRC’s David Chuter, manufacturers need to continuously create and exploit digital technologies to deliver new products of customer value and increase their operational agility. “Digital technology has transformed the market context for every business, and the pace of change is accelerating. By utilising these enabling technologies effectively, Australian manufacturers are able to meet the challenges and opportunities of the global economy.”

Brett Wiskar predicts that 2018 will see more manufacturers look to automation for bottom line returns. “Increasingly powerful automated solutions are allowing reduction in human muscle. Autonomous systems from AGVs to the ASRS category and a range of other mechanised solutions are now able to provide irrefutable business cases for bottom line returns,” he says. “The era of humans performing the heavy lifting is gone and increasingly we see specific capital investment in an efficient future of fully mechanised product movement – regardless of where the manufacturer sits in the adoption curve.”

Data will also play a growing role in this story, according to industry expert Chris Henderson. “Opportunities in procurement, more flexible access to skills and knowledge and real-time inventory control have been apparent over recent years. Competition for customers is growing as international supply chains deepen. But SMEs in particular need to consider how data can be used to accelerate product and service development, reach new customers and offer high quality service to existing customers.”

Mark Dingley says the need to build the foundations for sustainable growth will prompt some manufacturers to shift towards the cloud. “We see industry clouds emerging and manufacturers connecting with other supply chain players for better collaboration. Manufacturers that manage data-intensive production and supply chain processes will leverage cloud-based execution models.”