Siemens CEO challenges Australia to prepare for the next industrial revolution

Siemens CEO Jeff Connolly has challenged
Australia to prepare for the next industrial revolution and secure its place in
the new digital supply chain.

Speaking at the signing of a
Memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Australia, Mr Connolly said it was
time for the country to find a new place in the global supply chain as it
exited traditional automotive manufacturing.

With the country entering into
more Free Trade Agreements with Asian growth centres, he believes that the old
order of making only for local consumption should be discarded and new
technologies adopted to allow Australian industry to become a key player in the
global supply chain and take advantage of massive growth opportunities.

Mr Connolly said the challenge
for Australia was to be ready by merging the digital and physical worlds as the
rest of the world enters the fourth industrial revolution.

Also known as Industry 4.0, the
new world is one where everything imaginable is connected to a network and all
the information in the connected world can be stored, transferred, analysed and
acted upon in new and usually automated ways via network connections with
everything else.

Mr Connolly stressed Industry
4.0 was not a single point in time or a piece of software that solved
everything, but ‘a new way of working and a new way of thinking’ that makes
competition global rather than local.

Mr Connolly said the good news
for Australia, with its abundant resources, skilled workforce and talented
engineers, is that the country is perfectly positioned to be a key player in
the future global manufacturing system.

According to Booz and Company, a
10 percent increase in a country’s digitisation rate leads to a 0.75 percent
higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and a 1.02 percent lower
unemployment rate.

Mr Connolly explains that countries
are adapting rapidly to the changes and Australia can do the same. Within five
years, over 80 per cent of companies in Germany will have digitalised their
value chains.

Mr Connolly said Australia had a
proven history of adapting rapidly, but needed the support of key players to
ensure access to the most advanced technologies to provide the best solutions. Increasing
the level of collaboration between companies, governments, industry and
educators is the first step, and Siemens is proud to add the power of its
advanced technology to the know-how of Australian engineering.

Engineers Australia CEO Stephen
Durkin said the MoU signalled the start of a new era for the profession.
Observing that Australia needed a long-term, co-ordinated and planned approach going
forward, beginning with collaboration, he added that he looked forward to working
closely with Siemens in developing the opportunities for Australian engineers.

Through the MoU, Siemens and Engineers Australia
want to jointly explore cooperation and work opportunities by systematically
engaging industry stakeholders, customers and members to best prepare and
actively participate in the newest industry revolution in which
electrification, automation and digitisation are the keys.