Manufacturers Adapt to Coronavirus, But Want Consumers, Governments to Help Them
Instead of shutting down when the pandemic hit last year, a manufacturer in Adelaide decided to fill gaps in the international supply chain with its own locally made parts.
- Union launched campaign calling for more consumer and government support for locally made products
- The campaign has the support of manufacturers who adapt their business models to market research
- SA, Federal Governments Say They Are Doing All They Can To Support Manufacturers During Pandemic
Matt Hastings’ employer, the Electrolux plant in Adelaide, was initially forced to shut down in March 2020 when the coronavirus hit.
The kitchen appliance manufacturing site closed for almost four weeks because it could no longer source the components it needed from overseas.
Mr. Hastings has been in manufacturing for 20 years and currently operates a “robotic cell” at the Electrolux plant in Dudley Park, making stove doors.
To reduce costly transportation costs, the company looked to source the parts locally, but then decided to manufacture them itself.
“The press shop started making parts, which helped us with the steel components,” Hastings said.
“It was a lot of hard work, but we got the plant through some really tough times.
Adelaide’s packaging company, Detmold, has also changed its operations in response to the pandemic.
It began making millions of medical masks to fill orders from state and federal governments just weeks after cases were first recorded in Australia.
Mr Hastings said that while businesses have adapted, he hopes the pandemic will encourage long-term changes in consumer behavior.
Union launches “Buy Local” campaign
The call comes as the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) is launching a campaign today calling for more consumer and government support for locally made products.
“[Electrolux] is a classic and a good example of why we have to make things in Australia, ”AMWU Secretary of State Peter Bauer said.
“A lot of businesses have suffered during the pandemic and some have had to close their doors.
Mr Bauer said many manufacturers, including those that make household appliances like ovens, are struggling to balance growing demand for their products with severely constrained supply chains.
“We’re on the verge now, where we start to see things improve when it comes to manufacturing, but we have to try and find supply chains in Australia as businesses recover,” he said. -he declares.
“We are sending a message to our state and federal governments to support the purchase of products made in Australia.
“We need the government to start investing in products made in Australia.”
Mr Bauer said he wanted to see more Australian content included in all major projects and for sourcing processes to be tightened so that Australian manufacturers and suppliers are used at every possible opportunity.
An “increasingly strong” sector
Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni said the South African government was “ahead” of the union’s calls and underscored its support for Detmold and other initiatives.
“We are actively supporting companies in South Australia in purchasing their products,” he said.
“One of the things that came out of COVID was that we realized that there are important things that we need to manufacture here in South Australia and Australia, and there has been a shift towards doing so. “
Federal Industry Minister Christian Porter said the Commonwealth government launched a $ 1.5 billion modern manufacturing strategy last year to help manufacturers weather the pandemic.
He said the government is committed to investing in “projects that will transform our manufacturing sector, create jobs and increase scale, growth and competitiveness.”
“By supporting local manufacturers and encouraging the growth of new manufactures, we are strengthening the ability of local industry and manufacturers to compete for large procurement projects, both in the public and private sectors.