Australian Paper Calls for Further Governmental Support despite Contract Renewal
Australian Paper has welcomed the recent announcement that the Australian Government will continue their contract for security passport paper to June 2015, while noting that broader support for Shoalhaven’s unique range of recycled and value-added papers is needed for the Mill to remain viable.
“We thank Federal Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis, for her efforts in ensuring that the Australian Government continues to purchase passport paper from Shoalhaven,” Mill Manager, Bruce Borchardt said. “Shoalhaven Mill makes some of the best special purpose papers in the world - including watermarked security paper, recycled papers, coloured papers and heavy weight papers - and support for the entire range is needed.
“Australian Paper calls on the Australian Government to recognise the sustainability advantages of Australian made speciality paper when organising the printing of reports, gazettes, business stationery, ballot papers, business cards and brochures. Australian Government procurement for printed materials utilising recycled papers from Shoalhaven would be in line with its own ICT Sustainability plan, and would create an example for others to follow in mapping out a positive future for the Shoalhaven Mill.
Mr Borchardt added: “Without broad recognition from printers, paper merchants and Government of the value that local paper manufacturing adds to our communities, there is a very real risk that Shoalhaven Mill will not remain in operation.”
Shoalhaven Mill directly supports close to 100 local jobs and provides a unique range of papers, including recycled papers, chemically sensitised and watermarked security papers, which are not available from any other manufacturer in Australia.
The Shoalhaven Mill is part of Australian Paper, a vital part of Australia’s manufacturing industry, contributing $754 million in value-add to the Australian economy each year and directly and indirectly supporting around 6,000 full time equivalent jobs.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.