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It’s Coming Home Down Under – The Potential of Digital Work to Overcome Australia’s Challenges in Reshoring Manufacturing

PUBLICATION DATE: 4 April, 2023
PUBLICATION AUTHOR/S: Guertler, M; Sick, N; Deuse, J

Over the past decades, the world has seen a continuous increase of globalisation and interconnectedness – in part supported by advances in digital communication and production technologies. In the case of industrial production, this trend has led to global, integrated supply chains in order to provide the most competitive and innovative products utilising the most competitive market conditions. In Australia, due to its remote geographic location and socioeconomic conditions, such as high labour costs and negative economics of scale, this has resulted in a loss of domestic manufacturing capabilities. With recent changes in the geopolitical environment (trade wars, actual wars, Covid-19, climate crisis etc.) calls to produce local are becoming louder again. In this article, we therefore explore the potential of digital technologies to overcome Australia’s challenges in reshoring its manufacturing capabilities. Findings indicate that a highly skilled digital workforce is needed to leverage the country’s potential in world-leading niche manufacturing. The Associate Degree of Advanced Manufacturing, developed and delivered by the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), is presented as an example of how to upskill the manufacturing workforce.

RELATED PROGRAM/S:
Designing Socio-technical Robotic Systems
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