Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Can an Australian watch manufacturer beat the Chinese on price, quality and turnaround time?
The photo above is not a watch part, it is a steel die made in Brookvale, an essential part for a silicon extrusion manufacturer - our next door neighbour.
Turnaround time: 4 hours from sketch to part.
Quality: internal surfaces to mirror finish.
If our customer were to order one from China, it would cost him at least $500 plus $120 for shipping. The turnaround time - at least a week. Quality? Unknown. Confidentiality and protection of its intellectual property? None.
The ability to rapidly modify the finished part and add new features? Zero.
Not to mention hassles with endless emails, language barriers, upfront payments, currency conversion rates, bank and customs fees, and time zone differences.
Yes, setting up a small manufacturing business in Australia is difficult, and not necessarily a very profitable venture, but it’s highly satisfying nevertheless. Naturally we won't be able to mass-produce millions of cars, toasters, watches or washing machines and compete with China on volume, but when it comes to prototyping and small runs of highly precise parts - we already do.
We can train our own people - young Australians - while ensuring that things which matter: skills, our own resources, and our national security remain in our own hands.