The latest Sensis Business Index came out today and again it was sad news for the manufacturing sector. As someone who has lived and breathed industrial marketing, communication and PR for over 20 years this is not what I want to see. I’m passionate about helping Australian companies compete well and increase domestically and internationally.

The SBI says SME’s in the manufacturing sector have the lowest confidence of all sectors… @ 0%. Flat lining. The survey involved 1800 companies so I assume that is a reasonable cross section representative of the national manufacturing community. Compare that to the confidence in cafes and restaurants +14%, accommodation +14%, construction +18%, health and community services +18%, finance +41% and insurance +41%.

At times like this it is important to look at your brand and your purpose.

Find your niche… create a marketing strategy to own that niche. Then build your brand profile so that it attracts customers to you in that niche.

I hear of manufacturers crying in their beer about work going to China. Yes it is true that because of many factors outside their control (blame Canberra!!!) Australia has priced itself out of the market. However I work with smart manufacturers who have analysed the markets, had the courage to move on to new sectors, developed new skillets and as a result picked up new customers. And they are flat out.

China is taking commodity manufacturing off Australia – with the steep rise in costs in China and the emergence of its 200,000,000-strong middle class it will no doubt lose ground to the next ‘China’ that comes along – but I keep hearing that their quality is not 100% yet. It is improving but at the same time I’ve heard enough anecdotal evidence to know that sourcing manufactured goods from China does involve some risk. So, if you are involved in manufacturing look out for niche complex design/precision engineering opportunities and gravitate towards them. The volumes might be lower but the profitability should be higher. Develop a point of difference.

Source: Manufacturers Monthly