Leadership in Factory Automation – The Automation Race


Simon Dawson, Source: IMCRC

Simon Dawson who knows first hand that many Australian manufacturers are running the automation race. And for those still in the pre-race warm up, he shares in this article how to lead out of the starting blocks.

It’s no secret that the world of manufacturing is changing.

Not only is technology advancing, but adoption rates of robotics, automation and other assistive technologies are accelerating at a rapid pace.

Even if your sector isn’t currently technology and automation driven, it will be.

As a manufacturing leader, you hold the key to making sure your business is ready for this acceleration – ready to adapt and run with ideas that will help you automate and compete in the new world.

Understand the potential for your organisation

In my role as Director of Industrial Transformation at IMCRC, I lead the CRC’s futuremap program, designed to help manufacturing leaders assess their current and aspirational business capabilities and maturity and chart their transition to Industry 4.0.

Insights from more than 650 manufacturers who participated in futuremap show that although 100% say they will increase their investment in key enabling technologies (such as smart robotics, sensors and data analytics) in the next two years, close to 40% admit that they currently do not have the strategic plans in place to deliver on this ambition.

The futuremap data also reveals a possible explanation. Across the same group, less than a third are confident that they understand the competitive advantages of Industry 4.0. If we consider the many challenges faced by manufacturing SMEs, particularly in the last two years, it is perhaps not a surprise that without understanding the benefits of enabling technologies and automation, it is difficult to move from a stated ambition to a deliverable plan.

So, as a first step it is important to fully understand the potential of Industry 4.0, link it with your business’ vision and strategy and establish where automation and technology can deliver value to you and your stakeholders.