6 March 2018
With trades and skills moving offshore, manufacturing in Australia has been a hot topic for the industry. Aleesha Callahan talks to Anton Schiavello about how they are keeping the sector alive, and how they are working closely with the next generation of design talent.
It’s long been touted that manufacturing in Australia is dead. The same has even been said about print, alas, it’s just not the case. If anything, these vestiges of a by-gone era are now being revered and respected. And manufacturing falls into that too.
There is still a bastion of manufacturing left in Australia though. With more than 600 employees and 70,000 square metres of factory floor, Schiavello has been forging the way ahead.
Part of the next generation leading that charge is Anton Schiavello, the design and marketing director at Schiavello. Anton is deeply passionate about manufacturing sharing that:
“The essence of manufacturing in Australia really comes down to the fact that you’re supporting the lives of the people that live and breath it, and the economy that we live in.”
Keeping manufacturing alive hasn’t been a snap decision. “The way that we’ve been able to keep our manufacturing in Australia, is actually by being innovative – and exploring ways to be cost comparative and to always provide value. That’s the only way that anyone can survive in any market, but in Australia especially, as it’s a very competitive landscape. Asia is located right next to us. We have to be really, really smart in the way that we strategically produce product and ultimately manufacture the product,” says Anton.
Part of ensuring a sound future for manufacturing is by working hand-in-hand with designers. In particular, Schiavello is a big supporter of emerging talent. But how does someone fresh in the industry get ahead? Anton’s advice is clear:
“It’s all about knowledge and relationships. At the end of the day, if you have a good knowledge base, that knowledge can inform your designs and a better product outcome.
“You don’t have to be a specialist or an expert in the manufacturing of metals, or timbers, but if you have some basic knowledge of how things are made then it allows the actual design to come to life efficiently.”
It could be easier said than done, but Anton also offers up insight for how to gain this kind of expertise, “This kind of knowledge can generally be found by visiting factories and understanding the processes and the capabilities or limitations of different machines and materials. Things like – what is the tightest fold of radius on a sheet of metal?”
In spite of the solemn cries against the decline of local manufacturing, Anton remains positive. He has seen a change in the industry that adds a spark of hope for what might lie ahead.
“I’ve seen people being more open to collaboration and supporting one another, even if someone is possibly a competitor in another space. There’s an understanding that working together in a united industry is positive for everyone. I call this the maturing of the market. That’s where we’re going,” states Anton.
Schiavello is the Principal Partner of Launch Pad. Now in its 15th year, Launch Pad is more than an industrial design competition, it’s a mentoring program that has launched the careers of many of Australia’s industrial design talent. It also takes your prototype into production. Entries close on Monday 12 March.