The goal of the forum is to encourage local suppliers to become globally competitive by developing new business relationships with other Australian producers, and to share ideas about how to increase the competitiveness of the Australian manufacturing industry in the face of increased foreign competition.
In particular, the forum aims to facilitate increased domestic production of automotive related supplies.
“There may be companies that are currently importing parts that can easily be made by our local suppliers at a competitive cost,” said Barry Budge, Toyota Australia’s corporate manager.
“If we can facilitate these introductions, our local suppliers can strengthen their businesses and become more efficient. This will lead to a stronger local supplier base, which is critical to Toyota Australia and the future of local manufacturing.”
For the first time, two non-automotive manufacturers, Thales Australia and BAE Systems, have been invited to attend the conference. Both specialise in defence and security components, but have been identified as potential additions to the domestic automotive industry.
Joining Thales and BAE will be 20 of Toyota Australia’s local suppliers from New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
The forum is being held in the wake of Ford Australia’s announcement last month that it will close its Geelong and Broadmeadows manufacturing plants in 2016. As a result, over one thousand jobs in the domestic automotive production industry will be lost.
Ford attributed the closure to the domestic production of cars no longer being economically viable. The forum seeks to address this problem.