THE NEW VIDEO social network launched by QMI Solutions aims to do a lot more than help drive industry innovation through moving pictures.

The Vuable team believes that fostering ideas, skills and experience will ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for Australia’s industries. The Vuable video platform will interlink small and large business, including innovators, researchers, start-ups and project owners.

Founded 25 years ago as the Queensland Manufacturing Institute – and now a national industry solutions catalyst and technology disseminator – QMI Solutions is well known for taking the lead in introducing new technologies to the manufacturing sector, successfully.

QMI Solutions managing director and CEO, Gary Christian – who pointed out that QMI successfully introduced the first industrial 3D printing system into Australia 20 years ago – said Vuable had been created in direct response to industry challenges in visibility, market access, collaboration and innovation.

Mr Christian also foresees Vuable having a significant role in connecting Australian researchers with industry and in helping companies market their innovations and products nationally and, eventually, internationally.

“Gary is right about that and it is the research into this area that we used to shape Vuable,” QMI Solutions’ Vuable co-creator Norm McGillivray said. “There is nothing like Vuable currently anywhere in the world.”

Mr McGillivray said the way the market has adopted video – through Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat stories – is an indication of how a well-planned and astutely organised video platform like Vuable could positively impact industry business growth.

“When QMI started to research and investigate a new platform, we looked around the globe to see if we could find anything like it, one that was solely tuned to industries and innovators,” Mr McGillivray said.

“We thought, ah! Obviously, YouTube and other social media platforms serve a diverse range of video content to the masses, but there was nothing just dedicated to industry and innovators.

 “Vuable serves our stakeholders in the sectors in which QMI is already active – and that is suppliers into major projects, manufacturers and their intermediaries, projects in development and innovators,” he said.

“It is, however, not limited to these industries. We are talking with retail, tech and financial institutions about joining the network as well as major projects and our industry leaders including government departments and research organisations.”

INDUSTRIAL POWER OF VIDEO

Mr McGillivray said Cisco Systems had released a report earlier this year on the impact of internet-delivered video, estimating that by 2018 people would consume about 80 percent of their online information through video.

The growth of video information has been driven largely by the smartphone, Mr McGillivray said. Industry is rapidly coming to grips with its potential, with many already incorporating video into training and apps.

Mr McGillivray, who has been working with his team on Vuable for just over 12 months, said observations of the video trend is backed by QMI’s investment in the system.

“I see small businesses in general already using video in many ways, along with larger organisations including government departments” he said. “Members of Vuable may initially use it to say who they are, what they do and who they work with. Taking their capabilities from text into the visual space”

“Research organisations and government departments will use Vuable to show what assistance programs are available, and what research organisations are doing currently.”

He said QMI could also see Vuable impacting the project space, highlighting major projects and being used practically for infrastructure to supply information, for contractors, community engagement, “and social good”.

Mr McGillivray said Vuable would almost immediately enable existing QMI Solutions customers to elevate their ability to market – an ongoing challenge in the manufacturing sector.

Mr McGillivray said in the initial planning stages of Vuable, a concern had been the capability of industry to create quality video updates – but the smartphone had virtually eliminated that concern. He added there would be a requirement of ongoing education to get industry comfortable about creating and publishing content, with confidence coming from seeing peers using the platform too.

There is also a range of “fantastic video editing apps that are either free or low cost as well as desktop computer options” he said.

 “The use of mobile phone is key … You can use mobile technology to get the best outcome, we are practising what we preach and have created our own videos on smartphones” Mr McGillivray said.

VUABLE FEATURES

QMI Solutions has developed the Vuable platform in just over eight months, utilising in-house developers to adapt open-source software.

A useful feature is Vuable’s search functionality, which utilises hashtags, while full instant messaging capabilities are incorporated.

“This removes the friction from the dreaded cold call, and adds the ability for subscribers to interact, business to business, and arrange anything from meeting informally over a cup of coffee to arranging a site meeting at a business’s premises, we think this is a pretty cool feature,” Mr McGillivray said.

“Suppliers and innovators can come on-board and enjoy a free trial period of 30 days and if they don’t like it that’s fine,” he said. “But if they wish to continue it is a month-by-month subscription that’s $25 and they can upload their video any time they want. It’s very flexible, they have total control to pause and resume their subscription at any time.”

QMI has always been an innovator in technology adoption and dissemination.

The Vuable platform grew out of QMI Solutions’ own re-assessment of where digital was taking industries and enacting its own digital transition strategy.

The first instance of this was the introduction of the CoreValue business evaluation system to Australia and New Zealand. This was followed recently by QMI’s introduction of its Online Procurement System (OPS) that serves procurement for industry through a fully automated procure-to-pay system.

“These products are already successfully in the marketplace – and Vuable is the third product that we are bringing to market,” Mr McGillivray said.

 “Vuable is another first of its kind and in the form of a dedicated video platform for industry and innovation. We are very proud of that,” he said.

 “The vision of QMI is that QMI helps make new possible … Vuable will help us to supercharge that vision.”

www.qmisolutions.com.au

www.vuable.video

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THE Australian Defence Force’s planned $2 billion development of a new Short Range Ground Based Air Defence system by Raytheon Australia, to improve protection for deployed personnel, is being opened up to a wider Australian manufacturing supply chain.

Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne said the project would seek to maximise Australian industry content to ensure defence expenditure also helped “deliver local jobs and economic growth”

“Through a Risk Mitigation Contract, the government will ensure there are opportunities for Australian industry participation, with direct access to Raytheon Australia for local businesses to showcase their abilities,” Mr Pyne said.  

“As part of this contract Raytheon will hold workshops across the country to engage with local industry, giving them an opportunity to be part of the supply chain for this project worth up to $2 billion.

“Defence will collaborate with Raytheon Australia and Canberra-based CEA Technologies to look at integrating the Canberra-based firm’s radar into an upgraded NASAMS,” Mr Pyne said.

“CEA Technologies’ ground breaking phased array radar system has already been incorporated into Australia’s ANZAC class frigates and this project will trial the technology in a land-based role.”

Mr Pyne said through the risk mitigation activity, Defence and Raytheon would also investigate using Thales Australia’s ‘Hawkei’ protected mobility vehicle, manufactured in Bendigo, Victoria, as a potential platform for the system’s missile launchers.

Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne said the project was the first step in the development of the Australian Army’s contribution to the Australian Defence Force’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence Program announced in the 2016 Defence White Paper

She said the government would invest up to $2 billion in the system “which will provide the inner most layer of Australia’s enhanced integrated air and missile capability”.

The system will be operated by the Army’s 16th Air Land Regiment.

“A modern and integrated ground-based air defence system is needed to protect our deployed forces from increasingly sophisticated air threats, both globally and within our region,” Ms Payne said.

“Australia’s current short-range capability is 30 years old and due to be retired early next decade. The replacement system will provide improved protection for our deployed servicemen and women.”

A Single Supplier Limited Request for Tender will be released to Raytheon Australia in the first half of 2017 to develop its highly successful National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The ADF will complete a detailed analysis prior to returning to government for final consideration in 2019.

www.defence.gov.au

 

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THE Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) has launched a new guide to help Australia’s manufacturers and commercial building owners take control of their energy costs.

EEC CEO, Luke Menzel said the new Quick Reference Guide to Energy Auditing would give businesses the information they need to work with energy efficiency experts to find ways of slashing their gas and electricity bills.

“Businesses are grappling with massive energy price hikes, reliability issues, and huge volatility in gas and electricity markets,” Mr Menzel said.

“These price shocks pose an existential threat to energy intensive industries, and the market needs to be fixed. But in the meantime, taking advantage of cost effective energy productivity opportunities can give energy users some breathing space.”

The Guide, launched at the Energy Users Association of Australia National Conference in Brisbane recently, was developed in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. It is the first guide to step energy users though Australia's new energy audit standard, released by Standards Australia in 2014.

“Businesses understand that getting more out of every unit of energy behind the meter is a way of reducing their exposure to the craziness playing out on the other side,” Mr Menzel said.

“The Quick Reference Guide to Energy Auditing will help them get the information they need to assess and invest in measures that quickly cut energy costs, and mitigate the risk of future price rises.” 

The EEC is Australia’s peak body for energy efficiency, cogeneration and demand management, formed in 2009 as a not-for-profit membership association which exists, Mr Menzel said, “to make sensible, cost effective energy efficiency measures standard practice across the Australian economy”.

“We work on behalf of our members to promote stable government policy, provide clear information to energy users and drive the quality of energy efficiency products and services,” he said.

The EEC’s full suite of policy recommendations for promoting smart energy use across the Australian economy are set out in its Australian Energy Efficiency Policy Handbook.

The Quick Reference Guide to energy auditing is available at:

http://www.eec.org.au/for-energy-users/tools-methodologies-menu/tools-methodolgies#/energyauditing

 

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AUSTRALIAN design and manufacturing company, Kord Defence, has won a significant contract to develop innovative products for the United States Marine Corps.

Kord Defence was awarded a contract worth US$2.25 million over 18 months for the US Marines that would see up to an additional four staff employed, including two engineers, under the United States Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program.

“Kord Defence is an innovative company with technology that fundamentally improves the capacity of the soldier in the battlefield,” Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said at the official contract signing ceremony.

“Kord Defence will develop a Rifle Accessory Control Unit for soldiers to mount on the front of their rifles.”

The contract is for the design, programming, production and subsequent trial of a Rifle Accessory Control Unit (RACU), fitted to the M27 and M4 rifles, and the Infantry Assault Weapons used by US Marines.

The universal controller allows the soldier to take control of all electronic devices from one location, without taking their eyes away from the target or hands from the weapon.

“This contract reflects the innovative technologies emerging from Australian defence industry being imbedded into partner countries,” Mr Pyne said.

“Australian capability is cutting-edge and globally competitive. We are seeing increased attention on what Australia has to offer.”

The Minister said the US FCT program only invited tenders from overseas companies who were at the forefront of innovative technologies in their respective fields.

www.defence.gov.au

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IP AUSTRALIA’s latest report on patent activity has revealed Australia’s high global ranking in advanced manufacturing patent applications, commenting that it showed “healthy levels of innovation within the sector”.

The IP Australia report assessed patent activity to provide an insight into innovation in the advanced manufacturing sector, and benchmarked Australia against other nations. 

The majority of advanced manufacturing patents filed in Australia are in the ‘electrical technology’ category, a key driver for advanced manufacturing innovation.

The report found a 15 percent increase in advanced manufacturing patent applications between 2000 and 2013. This was largely driven by increases in patents for medical devices, up 46 percent, along with strong growth in chemical and mechanical engineering patents (33 percent and 29 percent respectively).

“Australia’s global position in advanced manufacturing patent applications is positive at 14th, outranking high performing countries such as Israel, Denmark, Austria and India,” Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Arthur Sinodinos said.

“This is significant given Australia is ranked 53rd in population.”

IP Australia also found that Australia ranked 10th out of 36 countries for specialisation in medical device patents and is middle-ranked globally for chemical engineering patents.

Australia also demonstrated innovative expertise in transport, mechanical engineering and pharmaceuticals, areas of significant growth and global opportunity.

IP Australia pointed out that ‘advanced manufacturing’ was more challenging to define than conventional manufacturing, “as it involves not only new ways to manufacture existing products and the manufacture of new products from emerging advanced technologies, but also it denotes the process by which knowledge-intensive value is added in both the pre- and post‑production phase including R&D and distribution”.

The report showed research organisations such as CSIRO, universities and medical research institutes were the major applicants overall, accounting for 10 of the top 15.

“They were also prominent in six of the eight technology sectors, having less of a focus on mechanical engineering and transport,” the report said. “Major corporate applicants included medical technology companies Cochlear and ResMed, along with BlueScope Steel and Rio Tinto. They accounted for 10 of the top 15 Australian advanced manufacturing applicants and were prominent in six technology sectors. Research institutions had the highest application numbers.”

Senator Sinodinos said, “Notably, Australia has a higher number of applications spread across the other technology categories than other countries, demonstrating the diversity of our advanced manufacturing sector compared to many other nations. 

“The Australian Government is supporting capability growth and fostering industry and research collaboration through initiatives like the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre.”

AMGC has established innovation hubs to develop and drive the development and uptake of new technologies, including in the key technological breakthrough areas of 3D printing, carbon fibre and what it calls Industry 4.0.

“With Australia adding over 10,000 additional manufacturing jobs in the last 12 months to February 2017 — along with the Ai Group’s Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index indicating solid expansion at 57.5 points in March 2017, the sixth consecutive month of expansion — there is cause for optimism on our manufacturing future,” Senator Sinodinos said.

“The Australian Government, through its National Innovation Science Agenda and other measures, remains committed to ensuring that our manufacturing industry is internationally competitive, with high levels of innovation to keep us ahead of the pack globally.”

The research also examined collaboration in Australia’s advanced manufacturing sector and highlighted the disturbing trend of low engagement with small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs). The study used multiple applicants for patents as a proxy for collaboration.

“The proportion of applications involving collaborations varies with applicant type,” the report said.

“Across the advanced manufacturing technologies overall, 20 percent of applications from Australian research institutions are collaborative efforts, followed by large Australian firms at 15 percent and international entities at 13 percent.

“This proportion drops to less than five percent when SMEs are involved. The results for individual technology sectors were similar; where research institutions collaborated most in seven of the eight technology sectors, while SMEs collaborated least across all sectors.”

The report is available at: www.industry.gov.au/A-patent-analytics-study-on-the-Australian-advanced-manufacturing-industry.pdf

 

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​BULLA Dairy Foods (Bulla) plans to adopt Australia’s new Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) changes early, including voluntarily adopting them on ice cream products.

Bulla CEO, Allan Hood said he wanted to increase labelling reform for greater transparency for all consumers. 

“As one of Australia's largest family owned dairy companies, we are proud to be leading the way to the new CoOL reforms in our category, transitioning our ‘chilled products’ to the new labelling one year ahead of the mandatory timeline,” Mr Hood said.

“In support of transparency across the dairy and wider packaged food industry, we have also voluntarily implemented these changes for our ice cream, with our flagship product, Creamy Classics Vanilla the first to transition in September 2017.

“As an iconic Australian brand, we’re committed to ensuring there is greater transparency for our consumers about where the products they choose to buy come from and will continue to deliver the best quality dairy products using real fresh milk and cream.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, recently visited the Bulla factory with Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, to welcome the move. He said the CoOL system would give consumers “the extra level of information they are seeking” around where their food was grown, made or packed, and how much was sourced from Australian farmers.

“The Coalition Government welcomes Bulla's commitment to deliver the Government’s new CoOL reforms one year ahead of time on all their chilled dairy products, including ice cream, which is not mandatory under the changes," Mr Joyce said.

“It is clear that Bulla is proud to be an Australian company and wants to use the labels to show consumers where their food comes from, and that the milk they use is proudly all Australian, supporting Australian dairy farmers,” Mr Joyce said.

“It is encouraging to see Bulla is also making a concerted effort to source more ingredients from Australian farmers, where possible, as it embraces the CoOL changes and the information it displays.”

www.bulla.com.au

www.foodlabels.industry.gov.au

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MADE in Queensland grants are accelerating the development of manufacturers state-wide at many multiples of the dollar value spent – and that’s due to a program which helps guide the process, instigated by QMI Solutions.

QMI Solutions is working with the Department of State Development and applying its CoreValue business development toolset to assist applicants for Made in Queensland grants. The sophisticated combination is already generating powerful results within the $20 million grant program.

The CoreValue system has been introduced to Australia by QMI Solutions – originally known as the Queensland Manufacturing Institute, but now a national organisation – as a benchmarking tool which would also offer companies new pathways to growth, productivity and profitability. 

Initiated by the Department of State Development, the Made in Queensland grants range from $50,000 up to $2.5 million and are designed to help “show you the money,” according to QMI Solutions Managing Director and CEO Gary Christian.

“CoreValue can help to show you where the money really is in your business, and how you can translate that into real value for your business,” Mr Christian said. “We are working side by side with State Development to identify companies for the grants, but as part of the process we are dedicated to helping them find the real wealth in their businesses and assisting them in bringing that core value to the fore.” 

State Development also utilises a benchmarking tool called Probe for Manufacturing which can be applied to businesses requiring a ‘deep dive’ into productivity and manufacturing systems. CoreValue is a broader ‘whole-of-business’ analysis, measuring 18 value drivers across thousands of organisations worldwide.

“As the Australia/New Zealand licensee, we get to see the data that is highlighting problems and gaps where the most value can be created for Australian SMEs,” Mr Christian said.

The Made in Queensland initiative uses CoreValue to not only benchmark a company but also give them a report on what steps to take forward – and how much money may be required for that transition.

QMI senior consultant for innovation, Rob Geddes said any Queensland manufacturer can have the benchmarking done, simply by applying through the State Development website.

There are some pre-qualifiers for the grants, though, as they are part of the Queensland Government’s $1 billion plan to boost jobs in regional Queensland and this aligns with the $7.8 million Advance Queensland Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan. This plan aims to help businesses transition from traditional to advanced manufacturing.

“The applicant has to be a genuine Queensland manufacturer – not just a brand owner who manufactures offshore,” Mr Geddes said.

“Effectively, the Queensland Government is investing in your company,” he said. “CoreValue highlights where you need to invest in the company.”

While many manufacturers were looking directly at process and line improvements, for which the Probe for Manufacturing tool is ideal, others benefitted from the wider business approach of CoreValue. 

Core Value, Mr Geddes said, was a broader benchmarking and reporting system that worked at the higher levels of business development rather than manufacturing productivity.

“So if you have capability, but not enough sales, then CoreValue is the tool to use,” Mr Geddes said.

“The reason we picked up CoreValue is that we find companies here that are world class in performance and practices – but some were going out of business because they did not have their marketing sorted.

“Most of these companies are set up by people who are very good technically but their mind-set is focused on the engineering, design, and producing high quality products.

“These were generally business owners and leaders who were less market minded,” Mr Geddes said.

He said these kinds of businesses tended to fall down in areas like human resource (HR) processes, for example, which detracted from their longer term success.

“The grant will support improvement for companies in other areas, such as marketing, branding, accessing new markets and developing new products,” Mr Geddes said.

CoreValue can help such companies to more effectively shape their grant applications. It can be used to provide graphs and statistics on the company, which comes in handy for seeking grants.

Mr Geddes said using CoreValue to develop a report, for both the Queensland Government and the company, provided valuable recommendations on how much money may be required and where such investment would be best placed.

 “Clear insight comes out of the report and confirms, often, what the company knows but could not articulate,” Mr Geddes said.

“In CoreValue’s case, it gives the company a dashboard and a back end to work on the business.”

Astute company owners and leaders use CoreValue to develop scenarios.

“It’s also useful in the area of ‘what-if’ scenarios,” Mr Geddes said.  “For example, what if we improved market share? What if we improved our margins? You can see how the different numbers should play out.

“It’s like flying with radar instead of without it.”

So far, more than 200 Queensland companies have applied for the grants, which State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said would run for two years or until the $20 million fund is expended.

www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/made-in-queensland 

www.qmisolutions.com.au

 

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