How Manufacturers are Using Technology to Meet Old and New Challenges

Rob Cheesman, 5 min read

Manufacturing is a vital sector of the Australian economy, contributing to 5.4% of GDP1 and employing almost 900,000 people in 2022.2 Though in July of this year Australian manufacturers reported pandemic-era lows. This can be attributed partly to some of the challenges facing the industry, as I discussed at the end of 2022.

However, the industry is facing additional pressures, with customers wanting more for less and higher quality output at a faster rate. The problem for manufacturers remains: How to meet these challenges in a cohesive and efficient way.

qad redzone

Labour demands and shortages continue

Despite a contraction in the industry, labour demands have remained solid, with manufacturers not wanting to let go of good workers even as activity slows3. Increasingly, employers are seeking those with digital skills to help support innovation on the factory floor. State and Federal Governments are responding with various grants and programs, including the Manufacturing Industry Skills Alliance. We also see manufacturing software companies plugging the gaps with comprehensive and engaging learning, development and training, which has the added benefit of attracting and retaining employees who feel empowered to do their job well.

Supply chain disruptions lasting long after the pandemic ends

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of global supply chains, and it’s a topic that remains front of mind for manufacturers. Geopolitical events, trade disruptions, increased costs and changing government regulations mean manufacturers must continue to build resilience and flexibility in their supply chains. Manufacturers faring better are leveraging advanced technologies to increase visibility and respond faster to events.

Customer demands increase as technology improves

As software gets more sophisticated, so are customer expectations and demands. They want higher quality, faster delivery, greater customisation, and a positive buying experience. To remain competitive and deliver on these needs, Australian manufacturers are adopting agile and lean methods and implementing technology that creates a unified workforce, where every person contributes to the business’s overall goals.

Quality standards present double the challenges

All areas of manufacturing, but especially food and beverages, come with strict quality standards and regulations, both locally and internationally. Manufacturers face two challenges in this area. Firstly, their quality systems and processes must be robust and highly accurate. Secondly, they must be able to solve problems on the factory floor as fast as possible to avoid downtime, delays and a direct impact on the bottom line. Manufacturers with best-in-class quality standards use automation and digitisation to ensure compliance and avoid recalls. They have a connected workforce that can collaborate seamlessly to address any issues early and continually find ways to work more efficiently.

Using technology to overcome hurdles

Having been in this industry for over two decades, I’ve seen, and continue to see firsthand the difference the right technology makes to a manufacturer. I’m really excited about a SaaS platform new to Australia, QAD’s Redzone Connected Workforce. I believe this is a real game-changer for manufacturers who can see the benefit of connecting and unifying the production, quality and maintenance in their factories. Used widely in the US, it has results that almost don’t seem possible.

QAD Redzone

What’s really exciting about this technology is its collaboration capabilities—directly linking frontline teams to leadership, removing barriers and making it faster and easier to solve problems. I’ll be diving deeper into Redzone next month but in the meantime you can check out what manufacturers are saying about it.

Don’t let your manufacturing challenges hold you back

Atturra and QAD have a well-established partnership. We have over 70 QAD manufacturing clients across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji who benefit from Atturra’s extensive manufacturing experience, deep technical skills and strong client focus.

Contact us to discover how QAD Redzone can transform your manufacturing performance and create a community of workers driven to achieve the same goals.

About the author

Rob Cheesman is General Manager, Manufacturing at Atturra. He has over 15 years of process improvement and ERP implementation experience in the manufacturing industry and is a QAD subject matter expert. He can be reached at or on LinkedIn.


[1] Ceicdata

[2] Labour Market Insights

[3] Forex

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