New Smart Enough Factory program to help Victorian SMEs enter defence supply chains

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The Victorian Government has announced a $1.36 million package to help local defence industry companies transform their operations by deploying digital technologies to drive value and productivity.

In announcing the $1.36 million Smart Enough Factory program, Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said the funding would support local defence industry SMEs to modernise design and manufacturing processes in order to gain competitive advantage and create opportunities to participate in multi-billion-dollar defence programs.

“We’re supporting our defence industry to become ever more responsive, adaptive and connected – ensuring we lead the way in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology,” the Minister said.

“This program will help defence businesses to grow and transform, supporting jobs and economic growth and cementing Victoria’s status as the advanced manufacturing capital of Australia.”

The pilot program, which is delivered by DMTC Limited (formerly the Defence Materials Technology Centre), is underway with Victorian small businesses Australian Precision Technologies, APV Corporation, A.W. Bell, Heat Treatment Australia and Ronson Gears.

According to Minister Pakula, the full-scale program will run from the end of the year for an initial period of three years, with up to 20 Victorian defence businesses each year to reap the benefits of the program.

“The program will also take on up to eight undergraduate or postgraduate interns a year from Victorian universities through a scheme administered by the Defence Science Institute (Victoria) to provide technical support, offering them valuable work experience, defence industry exposure and possible future employment,” the Minister continued.

“By embracing advanced technology, the program will ultimately boost participating businesses’ prospects of participating in multi-billion-dollar defence programs, meaning more jobs and investment for Victoria’s defence sector.”

DMTC Limited chief executive Dr Mark Hodge said the Smart Enough Factory program would assist participating businesses to adopt digital technologies, overcome barriers such as costs, skill shortages or security vulnerabilities, and create opportunities to enter defence supply chains.

“This program is not just about getting companies to the starting line, it’s about putting companies in a better position to compete and win work,” Mr Hodge added.

“It’s about tangible actions to put industrial capability in Australian hands.”

Image credit: https://dmtc.com.au/our-activities/industry-capability/