13th September 2012
Why Australian Industry can’t compete – Sustainable Competitive Advantage Part 1
What is it going to take for trade and industrial based companies to remain competitive and successful into the future? Some would say opening up new markets or creating new and innovative products. They would be right, however to do these things there is one vital ingredient missing – Trade Skilled Workers. You can open up new markets but you still need people to produce your product and deliver the services. You can be innovative and come up with new products but you still need someone to make it, fix it if breaks or service it so it doesn’t. So, there’s a big problem facing Australian Industry RIGHT NOW.
It makes sense that the companies with the most capable, highly skilled and well trained people have the competitive advantage over their competitors. In an industry where skilled labour is very tight and in massively short supply, production capability is significantly reduced. Put simply, when you don’t have enough of the right people to make it, install it, service it or fix it – you put a lot of pressure on the existing staff that are there, and this puts product and service quality at risk. Things are rushed, time deadlines aren’t met and overall quality declines. So too do the number of customers. Add to that the increased wage demands caused by the shortage of skilled workers. Is it any wonder Australian business struggles to compete domestically and globally? We are already seeing this as many manufacturing contracts are lost to overseas companies able to produce quicker with equal quality at a lower price. In Western Australia it has been quoted that only 20% of mining infrastructure manufacturing is done by Australian companies. A lot of this is due to capacity.
The development and retention of skilled workers is critical and the company that has a dedicated plan to do this has without doubt a competitive advantage in their respective market. Why? Well if your business has the opportunity to grow and you have no Trade Skill development and retention plan – people with the skills to be productive in your company simply leave, to be picked up by a company that does. For every person you lose you have to find two more potentially in order to meet the needs of your growing market opportunities. Now you’re short of skilled staff, you can’t meet your contract demands as well, or can’t produce as efficiently. Maybe you miss that tender or you win it and then can’t fulfill it because you don’t have the skilled staff to do it.
Skill shortages are top of the news lately, and for good reason. Some of the country’s major projects are short 20-30,000 skilled workers; a glut that won’t be fixed locally in the short term.
Employing more Apprentices is the answer, and in Part 2 I’ll show you how you can create a Sustainable Competitive Advantage for your business by having more apprentices.
Read Part 2 now: Sustainable Competitive Advantage Part 2
National Business Development Manager
Sustainable Competitive Advantage