What of the future of Manufacturing in Australia? A leader's thoughts on sustainability, diversification & collab

| Tuesday February 16

Small Biz Matters – #194 Providing the small business community with educational content and advocacy since 2014
with Alexi Boyd, broadcaster, advocate and small business owner.
Date: 2 February 2021

According to our guest Ben Joseph, manufacturing in Australia is the one sector in which you SHOULDN’T niche. With tight margins, a globally competitive industry and fragile supply chains, a lack of diversification can mean you can’t adapt fast. For instance, when a global shutdown strikes how can you pivot your way out of that one? The industry, like all other small businesses, has learned a great deal from 2020. Good, solid processes, tech integration, communication and of course resilience have been necessities for survival into 2021.

Part of Josco’s recipe for success has been solid processes, access to real time data through reliable tech integration but more important than that - communication with key stakeholders. When the world shut down ‘cause of COVID they relied on those relationships to build back up again. And some were in Australia and some overseas. See, diversification in action!

But what of the future of the industry and the reality of being independent in Australia - is it just a pipe dream? Is it the industry which will drive change or does key policy makers have a role to play to shape its future.

Let’s hear from Ben, who has lots to say on the issues of the future of the industry, procedures, tech integration, communication and of course resilience necessary for survival from 2020 into 2021.

  • What would you like to see in terms of the the future of manufacturing in Australia and whether it, in reality, can be sustainable?
    • A “blended” approach and working collaboratively and utilising the skills in which we excel seems to work at the moment
    • But the industry needs to be evolving and adaptable all the time.
    • What did 2020 teach us about globalisation? The fact is there are risks as well as positives
    • What is the Government focusing - innovative manufacturing, reducing the dependency on one nation as our “factory”. Innovation reduces our dependency on nations which provide labour cheaply
  • Describe the affect the COVID crisis had on the manufacturing industry as a whole
    • Disruption of supply chains
    • Breakdown in communication
    • How long did the “panic”last
  • Was it a matter of survival of the fittest or was it something about your processes and procedures which meant you could survive?
    • Why was being aware of your cash flow position and real time data so important?
  • What about the relationships with your suppliers - did they take a beating and did you have to rebuild the trust?
  • What lessons did you learn about business continuity now that you’ve come out the other end?
    • Planning for the future – where do you invest and how do you make those decisions?
    • What do you consider as “Innovation” when reinventing & reinvigorate your business
    • Focus on your strengths
    • Remote working – how to manage staff
    • What are some signs to look out for in for business owners
    • how to use the guide to support the conversation?

To find out more go to their website: https://www.josco.com.au/

About our Guest:

Ben Joseph is the Managing Director of Josco Australia, a trusted Australian owned and operated business supplying hand tools and power tool accessories for nearly 45 years.

Originally from Adelaide, Ben spent his formative years in Perth where he commenced his career before moving back to Adelaide and then ultimately Melbourne 27 years ago.

Throughout his working life, Ben has worked for manufacturers, importers, multinationals and iconic Australian businesses, including Hills Industries and Philips Electronics.

As the second generation in the Josco business Ben has seen the business grow from its formation in a back yard garage, to a business now operating nationally throughout Australia New Zealand and the UK, with major customers including Bunnings, Mitre 10, Total Tools and Blackwoods.

In recent years, Ben has worked actively on the business to transition the business to the generation, becoming the major shareholders together with his other director Maury Chalmers.  In making this change there has been a transformation from a “family business” to a more corporate professional organisation and the disciplines associated with this.  Many of these changes proved highly beneficial as the impact of COVID-19 hit in 2020.

“Trust” is a major focus for both Ben and Josco.  As many of Josco’s products are used in heavy duty applications on powerful power tools, the ability of the products to perform under pressure is critical.  Over many years the products have been put to the test in the toughest Australian conditions and met the challenge.  Josco’s customers and end users “trust” the business and products, for their reliability and ability to get the job done.

Ben is married with 4 sons, one of whom is now the 3rd generation working in the business in a sales capacity.