Future-proofing the Australian SMEs with futuremap

David Chuter presenting futuremap™

The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, Innovative Manufacturing CRC and Entrepreneurs’ Programme are jointly taking futuremap, a business diagnostic tool developed by IMCRC, to market to help SME manufacturers on their journey to the Industry 4.0 transition. 

Australian manufacturers across the country have an opportunity to get on board with the transition to what is referred to as the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) and to assess the current state of their businesses with regards to the benchmark characteristics for advanced manufacturing.

The futuremap workshops, jointly developed by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC) and the Entrepreneurs Programme, are designed specifically for Australian SME manufacturers to help foster cooperation among research and industry.

According to the AMGC managing director, Jens Goennemann, this industry engagement program using futuremap intends to achieve three main objectives: first, to help Australian manufacturers get an insight on the opportunities and challenges of digital and advanced manufacturing; second, to act as a mirror for the participants to analyse the current state of their business and compare this to where they aspire to be in two years’ time; and third, to help businesses understand where they can seek assistance on their transition to digital manufacturing.

“The futuremap workshops provide an opportunity to share with the participants outcomes from AMGC’s research on the advanced characteristics of globally successful businesses, as well as to connect and build relationships with manufacturers throughout the country,” Goennemann told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

As part of the workshop, the participants answer a number of questions that help them map the current state of their businesses and their future aspirations by comparing them against 13 key areas to become an advanced and digital manufacturer. At the end of the session, participants receive an immediate online assessment report, showing their current state in all of the 13 key areas, as well as their aspirations and ambitions going forward. The report also connects the participating SMEs with further educational materials and access to a broad eco-system of supporting government organisations and programs.

“This is a confidential exercise, which means the companies continue to own their data. These futuremap workshops act as a marketplace, to connect the businesses with other like-minded companies, as well as to the relevant organisations and growth centres. If, for example, the outcome of the self-assessment tool indicates that a business would like to become more globally competitive within the next two years, we would connect the company to representatives from Austrade. If a company would like to have a holistic review of their business strategy, they can connect with a representative from the Entrepreneurs’ Programme,” Goennemann said.

The first series of the futuremap workshops were held in parallel with the National Manufacturing Week from May 9-11. The AMGC, the IMCRC and the Entrepreneurs’ Programme plan to hold similar workshops throughout the country over the next 12 months to reach out to a broader audience, not just in the metropolitan areas, but also in the regional areas.

“I would like to see that those who participate become part of our constituency and form an on-going relationship with our state directors in their journey to become part of the transformation in manufacturing,” Goennemann said.