For Manufacturing To Have A Future In Australia It Needs To Think Like A Startup

Following Telstra CEO David Thodey’s comments about why startups should be supported this week, Coca-Cola Amatil has jumped on board, saying big business can learn from small, innovative companies.

Speaking at Vivid Ideas in Sydney on Thursday, Coca-Cola Amatil supply chain director Bruce Herbert said manufacturing can learn a lot from startups.

Pointing to manufacturing’s downturn, Herbert said Aussie consumers stopped buying Australian products, primarily because foreign goods are cheaper, and for the sector to have any sort of future it needs to be innovative and think like a startup.

“We need smart help,” he said, adding Australian manufacturing needs new ideas and fresh thinking to survive.

“We need to get our costs down to a point where we are competitive.”

Herbert said there’s a significant opportunity within big industry for startups to solve issues, finding a market but also potentially tapping into a source of funding from big business outside venture capitalism.

“I’d be talking to [business] in trouble,” he said.

Regardless of whether you think Australia needs a manufacturing sector or not, Herbert said it’s the loss of IP that is going to hurt and no one is asking the question ‘what needs to be done to make locally made goods cheaper?’

He said part of the problem is the divide between the “high rise and the high vis,” adding, high vis are the blue collar workers and industry which isn’t that “sexy and exciting” while the high rise are the suits and those in the cities making the deals.

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