After somewhat of an absence from my regular posts I have been stirred into sharing some pertinent thoughts about what the ‘Future’ will look like and what business will need to do so that they keep in front of overseas opposition.

There is no doubt that after spending an inordinate amount of time in Asia/China, Europe and USA, I believe Australia still has the capabilities to more than compete in engineering/manufacturing/distribution. There will need to be a strategic re-invention of the way in which business is conducted but Australia still has a bright future providing the strategic business strategies are established and then managed properly through the transformation process.

Yes, jobs will change and there will need to be the appropriate support training programs to support the necessary changes. Australia must become known for innovation and in particular excel in ‘Research & Development’. Australia must adopt an attitude to respect Asia/China competition but definitely not be intimidated by it. This will require companies, small, medium, and large to commit to capital investment based on economic justification, and stay well abreast of technology and automation.

When I speak about growth capital investment, I am pointing up some direction relative to R&D in proprietary products, acquisitions, JV’s, Licensing and technology agreements.  Australia must also re-invent itself as a ‘skills-based’ country with capabilities that set them apart from all other competition.

Businesses will need to also get back to partnerships with governments, statutory authorities, and unions to optimise future outcomes where management and employees work closely together and then share in the results.

Could I suggest we re-visit ‘Best Practice’ and include ‘Lean’ principles in our forward thinking and strategic business planning:

BEST PRACTICE

  • Strategies = Global Competitiveness
  • Factory Practice = Identification and elimination of waste
  • Work Systems = Skill acquisition and flexibility
  • HR resource management = Motivation

LEAN

  • Reciprocal obligation between management and employees
  • At the heart of lean = Dynamic work team

I have had the privilege of being part of a team which was accredited as ‘Best Practice’ under the Federal Governments Best Practice program and there is one extra important message which I can convey through experience and success because I have been there and made it work –

  • The product and processes of a company may differ but the principles of success are all the same. I have seen this on many occasions and also made them work.