Austmine, the body representing METS or mining equipment technology and services says that smaller more specialised (“niche”) manufacturers can find work in our ailing mining sector.
It says manufacturers which are smart, flexible, reactive, adaptable, able to listen and work directly with their customers, innovative with new designs and use of different raw materials are best suited. Austmine suggests looking at oil and gas as well as mining for new projects. Not just on our shores but overseas as well. The organisation mentioned how certain mining companies on the Asian mainland which could source low cost products from China preferred to do business with Australia because of the reputation and standard of our work.
Austmine is saying…diversify, offer similar products to different industries, be smart and be different to your competitors.
One Australian company doing well despite the slowdown in the sector is Keech Australia, a manufacturer of ground engaging tools for machines such as excavators, shovels, loaders and drag lines. They looked offshore as well as supplying the local market. It says whilst our dollar is a lot lower it is not a silver bullet. It provides a better position for bargaining but at the same time we are an expensive manufacturing nation. To push back against this Keech has decided to move more into product development. Between 7-12% of its revenue will be invested into product and production development. It says more and more customers are ringing up asking for specific products. They don’t want “off the shelf”. This is a real benefit for manufacturers.
The future is about creating a dedicated packaged solution which is easy for the customer to install and operate.