2019 CEO Insights: David Hegarty
What key trends do you predict will have an impact on the growth of your industry in 2019?
Digitalisation and energy management are the key trends I see positively impacting the growth of our industry in 2019.
When it comes to digitalisation, the future of manufacturing and Industry 4.0 are well-documented areas of potential growth. While Industry 4.0 was primarily developed around advanced manufacturing capability, we’re beginning to see those technologies and skill sets influence broader industry, which presents genuine productivity and growth opportunities. Beyond manufacturing, digitalisation is enabling intelligent infrastructure and I expect continued investment in smart devices for optimising core civil functions. The result is more technology into more projects. This is exciting not only for our industry but the wider public who will experience the benefits.
As globalisation continues to drive global supply chains, there is increased need for global standards to enable cohesion. These standards will cascade down to the solutions our industry provides and businesses will need to adapt where they may not have been required to previously.
The cost of energy has risen significantly in recent years which we all see and feel. I believe the higher prices are here to stay and that the sustainable answer is to use energy more efficiently — and the best way to do that is to monitor and manage. The natural flow-on from that will be more investment in technologies, devices and the engineering expertise around it.
What are the three biggest challenges facing your industry in 2019?
Opportunities also present challenges and energy management is no exception — it’s a challenge today and it will be tomorrow. An organisation’s ability to navigate the cost and reliability of energy will continue to challenge Australian industry and drive innovation.
The same can be said for digitalisation and Industry 4.0. While I see both as tremendous opportunities and necessities for Australian industry, the challenge is for businesses to take the first step. I think people know it’s an opportunity, and they know to some extent it’s unavoidable, but they don’t know where to start. In addition to the technology there’s also the added layer of cultural change that needs to be understood and managed.
That idea of culture leads into the third challenge, which is skills and expertise planning and resourcing. This means acknowledging the new skills and expertise that businesses require and welcoming them into your organisation. The classic adage ‘never do today what you can put off until tomorrow’ exists here, but my advice would be to work out your field of travel, partner with proven experts and get started.
What is your industry doing to attract, upskill and retain talent?
The first thing I would say here is probably not enough. That certainly doesn’t mean nothing; however, there are some really positive activities around early engagement of STEM skills throughout our industry.
The catalyst for technology revolutions is often industry investment, and APS Industrial’s core manufacturing partner, Siemens, is responsible for many leading examples of that. Whether it be the ‘Code Camps’ they host for the children of staff to learn coding skills during the holidays, the Industry 4.0 Apprentice Program or the more than $1 billion in software grants they have awarded to universities in 2018 to expose local students to leading global technology. It’s all about education and exposure to new technologies that will maximise the size of the talent pool for the jobs of the future.
It’s also important to note that the learning never stops. APS Industrial are privileged to be partnered with the world’s leading industrial manufacturers and sharing that knowledge and expertise with the industry is a core focus.
How is your business preparing for changes in standards and regulations in 2019?
The launch of APS Industrial in March involved the acquisition of two existing companies which required standardising internal processes and systems. With that in mind, we are evolving our current ISO accreditation to reflect the new business in 2019 which is exciting for our team and our customers.
On the technology front, we’re also extremely well placed to respond to any impending or future industry standards and regulation changes by virtue of our partnerships with the leading global manufacturers — who are members and drivers of global standards committees.
From the outset, we’ve made it clear that we will bring the world’s best products and technologies to the local market and wrap local customer service and support around that. While the obvious upside to that for our customers is reliability, quality and peace of mind, the added bonus is the readiness of the products to not only comply with current standards, but the ones after that.
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