As discussed in the first part of this series, one of the biggest problems facing local manufacturers is the proliferation of cheaper imported goods on the Australian market, a fact that is exacerbated by the current strength of the Australian dollar.
Of course, one would hope that this tendency towards purchasing imported goods could be counteracted by a desire from the public to support local manufacturing, but as recent Ray Morgan research shows, Australians are not particularly loyal to Australian Made brands beyond purchasing locally sourced food and beverages.
The challenge for manufacturers, then, is to differentiate their product offering from these cheaper imported goods, that is, to demonstrate why their locally produced goods are better than cheap imports, and in turn, to encourage consumers to support the Australian manufacturing industry, and the jobs it sustains.
Cutting tools manufacturer Sutton Tools
has evidently seen much success from this approach, as the company is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year. A proud supporter of the Australian Made Campaign, Sutton Tools admirably states that promoting Australian Made tools is not just about raising awareness of quality products, but that it is also about encouraging growth in the Australian manufacturing industry.
Director and third generation family member Jim Sutton explains that the company has been "manufacturing quality cutting tools in Australia since 1917 and the fact that we are manufacturing in Australia is becoming an important part of our message."
Key to the success of the business, Jim continues, is a commitment to treating research and development seriously, an approach that has gained the company a world class reputation in the cutting tools industry, the only Australian production manufacturer to gain this recognition.
Internationally, Sutton cutting tools are distributed in Europe and Asia, with the company establishing a Singapore office and distribution centre in 2000. In 2006 the company sold its 5 millionth drill bit to Germany, and in 2010 established its Europe office and distribution centre.
In 2012 Sutton established Sutton Tools USA warehouse and distribution centre, noting that Asia, Europe and USA are the destination of ongoing investment for the company.
Addressing cheaper, lower quality imports, Sutton Tools states that consumers want to buy Australian, because they know the product commonly exceeds their expectations and will be made to Australian standards, and they know that by buying Australian they are helping keep jobs in Australia.
In the next article in this series, we will discuss Parker Hannifin's Wodonga manufacturing plant, which produces a wide range of products primarily used in fluid and gas handling applications. Click here
to read on.