Top 3 digitisation outcomes for Aussie manufacturers

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As the Australian manufacturing sector faces the challenges and transformations that come with rapid globalisation, the role of digital technology within the industry has never been more critical. 

Jon Young Flores, Group Owner for agribusiness, manufacturing, logistics, and retail at Telstra, sat down for an exclusive interview with Australian Manufacturing and spoke about how Telstra is partnering with Aussie manufacturers for a more connected, efficient, and sustainable future.

We spoke about digitisation outcomes and challenges and what Young Flores sees as the most common technology challenge to unlocking Industry 4.0. When asked, here are Young Flores’ top three digitisation outcomes for Aussie manufacturers.

  1. Better effectiveness and value

With external competitive, economic and supply chain pressures, it’s little wonder a recent report from ADAPT (2023) cited 92% of manufacturing CIOs in Australia rank “Improving operational effectiveness” as their number one business priority.

During the interview, Young Flores emphasised that in a rapidly evolving global manufacturing landscape, the optimisation of information and operational technology systems emerges as a fundamental step toward achieving enhanced productivity and cost-efficiency in factory operations.

Another source of value exists beyond the boundaries of the manufacturer – it’s held in supply chains. A report from Gartner has estimated that 80 per cent of companies will suffer significant value loss due to a failure to merge their digital supply chain twin and control tower initiatives through 2024.

The convergence of digital solutions and the need for connectivity has never been greater, according to the Telstra executive.

Young Flores says, “Our experts can work with you to connect business applications and machinery across facilities, warehouses and supply chain partners and then identify and automate tasks to improve the precision, consistency and speed of your processing, assembly, quality control and distribution.”

  1. Creating a safer work environment 

Safety hazards have been a constant unwelcome element in the traditional manufacturing sector, accounting for almost 10 per cent of workplace fatalities in Australia, according to SafeWork NSW.

Automation has introduced a wide range of sophisticated monitoring and control systems designed to pre-emptively identify and help to mitigate potential safety issues before they escalate into accidents.

Young Flores highlighted Telstra’s services that are focused on creating a safer working environment for skilled workers, extracting better outputs out of existing assets, and providing a distinctive competitive advantage to customers.

The Telstra Executive gave the example of deploying IoT sensors to automate monitoring and alerting for air quality, temperature, noise and intruders. In another example, he spoke about the power of bundling managed video surveillance with advanced AI-powered analytics, security services and communications.

One of Young Flores’ personal favourites is the potential of smart wearables that can record skilled workers’ blood oxygen levels and skin temperature, and area access privileges, in helping to boost workplace safety in the manufacturing industry.

“All of this can only work with connectivity. Reliable, fast connectivity, this needs to be right at the core” Young-Flores said.

  1. Competitive edge

According to a recent KPMG report, 78% of manufacturing CEOs feel pressure to be quicker to invest in digital opportunities. But how do they prioritise amongst all the digitisation opportunities ahead of them?

When asked about the most powerful catalyst to innovation within global manufacturing, Young Flores’ answer was clear. “Cloud is where it starts and where it ends, you can’t effectively transform without a really well built and solutioned cloud architecture” Young Flores said.

And cloud modernisation can be done cost-effectively. A recent example of this is Telstra partnering with one of the world’s largest manufacturing firms to deliver accurate and insightful information about its cloud infrastructure in real-time, helping it to reduce unnecessary costs and reinvest this capital and deliver improved services for its customers.

The results of the implementation have been staggering, with thousands of dollars’ worth of cost savings per month. This includes a macro cost saving that was achieved in under 5 months of 20 per cent of total cloud expenditure, which is the equivalent of US$300,000 per year.

Partnerships and ecosystems

Staying ahead in a highly competitive global manufacturing landscape amid Industry 4.0 requires the right combination of technology, professional services, and industry insights.

There are some big challenges to solve and even greater opportunities. However, manufacturers don’t need to do it alone. Jon Young Flores emphasised the power of strategic technology services partners such as Telstra who brings all of this together to help customers and industry solve their business challenges through digitisation.

Find out more on how Telstra is enabling Australian manufacturers at Intelligent Manufacturing by Telstra Enterprise.