Central Coast Industry Connect presents at Cluster Forum;
"BALT Tasmania, Competitive Business Clusters Event"

Central Coast Industry Connect (CCIC) was invited to present at the BALT Tasmania Competitive Business Clusters Event held in Launceston on the 30th March 2017. This event was put on by BALT (Business Action Learning Tasmania), and in huge part thanks to Genevieve Clother, their Business Development Manager.

Collaboration to innovate is a core principle behind Business Action Learning Tasmania. In 2016, BALT representatives interviewed leaders of established business clusters in regional areas to learn more about their experiences. The opportunity to compare and contrast the different approaches was invaluable.

Given that there are numerous other cluster initiatives underway or being contemplated in Tasmania and other states, BALT believed a broader audience would benefit from these insights. To that end, BALT had organised this forum to showcase the various approaches to cluster formation and operation and to share the learnings of working clusters. CCIC was fortunate to be recognised as a strong regional cluster through their interview process and was invited to be a presenter at the workshop.

The purpose of the workshop was for leaders of recognised business clusters from regional areas in Tasmania and across Australia to share lessons learnt, new ideas and future aspirations for cluster development.
The aim was to deepen the collective understanding of clusters/networks and cluster development and promote the concepts of cluster theory to key stakeholders in the region.

The audience included a wide range of Individuals and organisations involved in the manufacturing sector, agribusiness, tourism, health and regional development.Included were also state, local government and federal government agencies and Education providers.

With nine presenters running clusters and networks across Australia and NZ it was clear that we were all facing the same challenges and having the same successes. The importance of being relevant, connected with government, having a project focus that delivers benefits to your members, being adaptable and flexible with the changing industry conditions and having resources to support growth were some of the reoccurring themes.

Apart from CCIC, Dr. Anton Kriz from UON Central Coast presented on the Regional Clusters. Anton has been doing work in the north and north-west of Tasmania in raising the awareness of local industry leaders of the need for collaboration to promote innovation.

The day started with an opening address by Sarah Courtney MP and parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and ended with a presenters and sponsors dinner.
The group had a lot in common and will continue to forge deeper relationships to grow their networks and look for opportunities to collaborate into the future.

A copy of the program event including information on the speakers can be found here. Event program.


Private Label Readiness workshop 22nd March

Food Innovation Australia Limited, The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and ShopAbility with the support of CCIC delivered an exciting half day workshop, tailored specifically to Food and Beverage manufacturers interested in entering the Private Label Market. The workshop was held on the 22nd March.
This workshop ran just over 4 hours and covered the following topics:

  • An overview of the Private Label market
  • Industry overview how prevalent is it
  • Commercial modelling
  • Retailer expectations
  • Managing the risk
  • Private Label defined “what is it and why
  • Supplier strategic considerations
  • Retailer engagement
The purpose of the workshop was to provide the tools and knowledge to assess whether Private Label was the right fit for businesses attending and to provide the confidence to pursue Private Label opportunities.

The workshop was delivered by ShopAbility, a team of FMCG senior executives with previous and current industry experience. They have intimate knowledge of the trading challenges that SME'™s are presently exposed to, as well as the history behind many of the issues confronting the industry today.



Logistics challenges aired at local Forum 17th March

The Central Coast Logistics Forum, which was formed at the groups first meeting in May last year, provides an opportunity for logistics managers, providers, manufacturers and like-minded people in associated industries to share the local logistics challenges confronting their businesses. The forum aims to find practical solutions to these challenges through the groups collective experience, exposing it to subject matter experts, government and industry support and looking at collaborative opportunities.

The first meeting of the Forum for 2017 was held in mid-March at TrendPacs manufacturing facility in Berkeley Vale and saw almost fifty people attend.
The meeting began with each participant speaking about the current challenges they were facing in their logistics area. The group was made up of distribution and warehousing companies, manufacturers along with representatives from the NSW Department of Industry, the Federal Government Entrepreneurs Programme and Central Coast Industry Connect (CCIC).

Issues raised covered a broad spectrum of areas and had a high level of commonality whether the business was large or small. The engagement within the group was very positive with discussion and questions that started prompting possible opportunities to pursue. The aim of the session was to flush out the issues and develop a priority list to be worked through in subsequent meetings.

Some of these challenges and opportunities identified were:

Import/ Export
  • Cost-saving opportunities outside of freight costs in the areas of Tariff and duty concessions.
  • Freight costs for moving containers from the Coast to port are exceptionally high when compared with other Sydney fringe locations.
  • Freight forwarders –inconstant standards of service and local availability.
General Freight
  • Smaller consignments of freight are delivered via Sydney adding lead time to loads.
  • Use of Freight Brokers or online freight Apps an opportunity for smaller consignments.
  • Freight rates to WA -opportunities for rail consolidation
  • Can we consolidate freight as a region to get better rates?
  • Back loading of empty trucks to get better rates
Logistics providers
  • Difficulty in maintaining staff.
  • Truck drivers ageing workforce and difficult to get young drivers.
  • Optimising fleet utilisation.
Other opportunities
  • Government red tape and Infrastructure.
  • Use of Technology freight, customer, forecast management.
  • Information sharing
Following the formal meeting, the group was hosted to a site tour of the TrendPac facility.
The Central Coast Logistics Forum is organized by Forsythes Recruitment and the NSW Department of Industry and is supported by Central Coast Industry Connect.

For more information call Steve Rose on 4356 4300 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Visit to Melbourne by Central Coast Industry Connect 1st March

By Frank Oxley
Training Director, Fortunity Training


In March Frank Sammut, EO of Central Coast Industry Connect (CCIC) and myself (Fortunity Training) were given the opportunity to join a group of business leaders from New Zealand to visit manufacturers based in Melbourne.

The group was led by Trish Wilson from CICE New Zealand. CICE (Continuous Improvement, Continuous Everywhere) is an organisation whose focus is to network manufacturing businesses based in New Zealand. Their purpose is to help them understand and implement continuous improvement strategies with the goal to improve their business performance.

Trish visited Australia last August and facilitated a cluster session with Central Coast based manufacturers. Since that visit, a Lean (or Continuous Improvement group) has met and established a Central Coast based cluster.Two events have been held since it was established. These events were held at Archer Engineering Somersby and Sanitarium at Berkeley Vale.

The focus of the Melbourne study tour was to visit Denso, Toyota and Vista Print.
Following each visit the group held debriefing sessions where ideas and learning from the visit was discussed (and debated!).
The first visit was to Denso, Denso produces a wide variety of products supplied primarily to the automotive industry. With the closure of Toyota and General Motors this plant will close in October.According to the operations manager there was no future for the plant, including export, as its production was tied directly to local supply.With the closure of local car manufacturing their market disappeared.

Despite this however, the team at Denso were remarkable in their passion to produce outstanding quality products and continually looking for ways to improve. Highlights of the tour included very high standards for housekeeping, visual management and structured focus to encourage every member of the team to produce and implement improvement suggestions.Management were clearly engaged with the shop floor. They see their role is to serve the shop floor.

The following day the group visited Toyota's production facility at Altona. This visit was hosted by TSSC a newly created consultancy arm created by Toyota to assist organisations including health care and small manufacturers.Visiting a Toyota plant is like visiting the Holy Shrine of Continuous Improvement. Despite the plant closing in October the Toyota team is still working to improve. Their stated goal is that the last car produced by the plant will be the best car ever produced.All CI programs are continuing as usual although capital investment obviously is on hold.
Toyota are investing heavily in retraining its manufacturing team who will be made redundant. A onsite training centre has been established, with Toyota supporting employees to reskill for their future.

Highlights from the tour for me were the precision of the logistic shop floor planning. Currently Takt time is 138 seconds. This means a Camry rolls off the production line every 138 seconds. This has slowed from 122 seconds with the scaling back. Of these cars produced 70% were for the export market.
Each car on the assembly line was unique it its options including colour, interior, wheels and motor. It is remarkable to see the flow of parts meet its car exactly when required.
The other key highlights were the implementation of Toyota's planning process from the corporate to the shop floor. In each department, aHoshin board displayed the corporate goals, the site goals and the department goals. These goals were measured and reviewed daily to ensure that the job got done.

In addition to these boards other Visual Boards included change management and continuous improvement activities.
The other key highlight was Toyotas investment in shop floor training to ensure that all staff are rigorously trained to reduce variation and maintain flow. Each department had a Dojo, which was training area which replicated the environment of working on the shop floor.
The overwhelming feeling I believe from the group was absolute commitment from management to ensure that the closure was managed without reducing quality whilst maintaining respect for their staff.

The final visit was to Vistaprint.Vistaprint may be known to many for its printing of business cards; however their business is much more diverse than that. Vistaprintsclaim to fame is that it is the first manufacturing company in Australia to win the Shingo award.
This program is internationally recognised as only awarded to manufacturers who meet the highest standard for quality and continuous improvement. It is judged by a panel of independent auditors.The highlights from Vistaprint were many, but outstanding items included shop floor organisation with every item on the floor having a home, clear visual management controls which clearly displayed the status of production throughout the plant.

The integration of online ordering directly from the customer to the shop floor means that most items are shipped within 24 hours of order. Their goal is to have orders that are received before midday will be shipped on the same day.

After each days visit the tour group mixed and discussions held as to how the learning could be applied to each of the businesses. Ideas were shared across the tables from wine makers, health care equipment manufacturers, laboratories, custom commercial window manufacturers, fitting manufacturers and internal lock manufacturers.The group challenged each other, shared concerns and generally generated abuzz as to how to go back and apply what was learned to the business.

The challenge for Frank and myself was learn how we could continue to build on this model for our Central Coast Cluster. Our agreed learning was as follows,
  • Sharing experiences across unrelated industries generates more idea and solutions to problems.
  • networking with other business brings new market opportunities
  • Implementation problems of Continuous Improvement are common across industries however the solutions are out there to be shared.
  • Regular visits for the cluster to manufacturing sites to share our experience is essential.
The New Zealand Companies represented were:
  • Steel Guard
  • Tru Test
  • F&P Healthcare
  • Railblaza
  • NTD Plastics
  • ASSA Abloy
  • Tumblar Products
  • Cawthron Institute
  • Wineworks Marlborough

The visiting Team at the reception of Toyota Australia, Altona



First CI cluster meeting February 2017

The first Continuous Improvement Cluster event for 2017 took place on Friday the 24th February. Hosted by Sanitarium at Berkley Vale, the clustermembers were taken through a presentation by Don Evangelista and his team, Rick and Natalie, on the CI journey of one of their key lines in their plant.

The focus of the presentation was on the Change of Culture Process that the line team went through. Don spoke about the engagement process that took place with the line team and how he and his management team sought their input into problem solving on the line. In changing the culture the management team place a lot of emphasis on recognition with senior management, routinely on the line, recognising those that performed over and above their normal tasks. The results were immediate with a capping machine that was causing ongoing downtime issues creating poor efficiency, becoming reliable and increasing the output of that line significantly.
The PIGexercise, a simulation, was done with those present to show the concept ofStandard Work providing the right information to get a task done in the same manner, an important lesson when it comes to repeatability. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-ThBEAZ5jo.This link explains what the exercise is about. The group under instruction of Don and Matt conducted this exercise in a similar way.
Natalie , one of line operators, spoke of her teams transition to a CI culture on their line. The line operators and support staff had time to engage on problem solving and to set how they wanted their KPIs portrayed giving them ownership of their process.
Don, Matt and Natalie were thanked for sharing their experiences and being open and honest about their journey. The session was informative and spoke to the importance of engagement, culture building and teamwork. What was equally as important was that things that didn't work were readily up for review and input from everyone involved, reinforcing that the CI journey is one of continual improvement and engagement.


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