The coronavirus pandemic has placed stress on global supply chains at unprecedented levels. There are many factors that have contributed to this including increased demand, Covid-related labour shortages, and a scarcity of raw materials, and what started with bottlenecks at international shipping terminals has reverberated throughout supply chains, all the way down to warehouses and distribution centers.
The strain created by these overwhelmed systems are causing developed countries to now rethink their dependencies, and Australia is no exception. Even as economies rebound and businesses reopen across the globe indicate the search for a return to normalcy, the ramifications of a weakened domestic manufacturing sector are still being felt.
However, where there is weakness there is also opportunity. This is the viewpoint of Vik Bansal, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of InfraBuild, Australia’s leading integrated steel manufacturing, distribution and recycling business. During his time there, Mr. Bansal worked to transform not only the business, but the waste management sector as a whole, advocating for Australia to build recycling infrastructure that would see it create a circular economy. He has similar aspirations for the state of Australia’s manufacturing sector, and believes that with hard work it too can grow in strength, creating a path to long-term sustainability and self-sufficiency.
Australia has roots in strong manufacturing
According to Bansal, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted that Australia has let its manufacturing sector languish to the detriment of all. During the mid-20th century in the post-World War II era, one in three Australians worked in the manufacturing sector, whereas today that figure is just one in 13. Even just 50 years ago in the 1970’s the manufacturing sector made up 30 percent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product, but today it is as little as six percent. Instead, the country would choose to export raw resources to other countries who then added value themselves, only to then import the finished products back into the country.
The Australian government introduces the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI)
In October of 2020 the Australian government announced the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI), a $1.3 billion fund meant to drive lasting change for Australian manufacturers. The MMI is a key factor in the government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy, its plan to harness Australian manufacturing capability and drive economic recovery as well as future resilience. By changing the view of Australia to that of a high-quality and sustainable manufacturing nation, the government hopes to create a more strong, modern and resilient economy.
Read the full article CEO Spotlight: InfraBuild CEO Vik Bansal Believes Australia’s Manufacturing Sector Can Thrive Post-pandemic on CEO World Magazine.