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Microsoft Industry Blogs – Australia

Two stalwarts of the Australian economy – manufacturing and resources – are being heavily influenced by digital change.

Already geographically isolated and with a small local market, these industries are facing additional challenges such as changing consumer behaviours, increasing global competition and rising operating costs.

The convergence of these factors has made it difficult for some organisations to perform at historical levels. However, others have managed to evolve and carve out exciting new markets. What sets these successful organisations apart from their peers is their willingness to learn and adapt to the new environment.

Microsoft is deeply committed to helping the Australian manufacturing and resources industries to re-invent themselves to survive in the digital age. To this end, we have partnered with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS) to explore what successful transformation looks like for organisations in manufacturing and resources. You can access our findings in this report: Manufacturing transformed: a digital agenda for Australia’s manufacturing and resources industries.

Start simple

According to the HBR-AS research, manufacturing and resources are embracing digital transformation more slowly than other industries. They may find it challenging to craft a compelling case for change, especially if it becomes clear that whole new skillsets or significant expenditures are required.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, the key to successful transformation for these industries lies in taking it one step at a time. The HBR-AS report suggests organisations start by addressing their pain points, such as automating inefficient processes, to reap immediate benefits.

On the back of initial successes, companies can then take further steps. In manufacturing, this might include using real-time analytics to improve access to information and respond faster to product quality issues. Insights from analytics can also lead to quick wins in resources – from improving visibility along pit-to-port supply chains to reducing exposure to hazardous working environments.

Learn from the forerunners

Progressive companies are already recognising technology is the key to continued growth and success. In particular – according to the HBR-AS report – they are harnessing the power of the Internet of Things, machine learning and data analytics to better understand and meet customer requirements.

One such organisation is Redback Boots, an Australian boot manufacturer that has doubled it’s production since investing in new technologies. These investments include leading-edge automation technology to optimise its leather cutting and boot manufacturing, and a powerful marketing and administration platform in the form of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365. You can read more about Redback Boots’ story here.

Sodexo, a global facilities management firm, with leading solutions for the mining sector has harnessed Microsoft technologies to underpin a major digital and business transformation. Efficiency gains unleashed by the initiative have already saved one of Sodexo’s mining clients tens of millions of dollars in the start-up phase. You can read more about Sodexo’s digitisation here.

You can learn more about how the Australian manufacturing and resources industries are transforming in our report Manufacturing transformed: a digital agenda for Australia’s manufacturing and resources industries.