Businesses wanting to contribute to the national response to the COVID-19 outbreak will now have greater access to potential partners and customers through a new industry matchmaking site supported by the federal government.
The platform builds on the COVID-19 Manufacturer Response Register that was developed by the government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) to bring together and coordinate manufacturers, suppliers and customers during the pandemic.
It will initially combine AMGC’s register database of 2500 submissions with a further 600 local businesses identified through the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ recent request for information on personal protective equipment (PPE) production capability.
The capability matching feature of the platform allows companies to post a need, solution or capability online, which would be shared on a live community feed.
The supply matching feature helps suppliers connect with organisations looking for crucial supplies across the manufacturing value chain, be it research, design, production or service and support.
So far companies like Sydney’s Archie Rose Distillery have had to perform that function themselves, as they did first with smoke-tainted grapes from the NSW Hunter Valley being used in novel spirit production processes after the devastating bushfire season and more recently with its transition to hand sanitiser production.
A number of manufacturers and universities with 3D printing facilities have also partnered with local hospitals to produce face shields and other PPE amid supply shortages.
AMGC managing director Jens Goennemann said the response from industry so far has shown the resilience and adaptability of manufacturers in the face of the current health and economic crisis.
“Australian manufacturers are highly skilled, resilient and willing, and this enhanced platform allows them to continue to support the COVID-19 response while offering their services to a broader range of potential customers,” Goennemann said.
“Collaboration is key to the manufacturing industry’s continued success and we encourage manufacturers, suppliers and customers to leverage the platform to benefit all participants.
“We want to ensure that the overwhelming offers of support from manufacturers, suppliers and individuals live as a resource and continue to provide solutions long after this pandemic.”
Industry, Science and Technology minister Karen Andrews said the matchmaking platform will continue to serve the community long after the coronavirus has been brought under control, especially following its early successes in the medical sector.
“The matchmaking platform has already resulted in local businesses pivoting to produce essential medical supplies for COVID-19 - keeping Australians in work and building long term capability in the recovery phase,” Andrew said.
“I have said right throughout this pandemic that I don’t want Australian production of essential medical supplies to be a flash in the pan.
“This needs to be capability that industry maintains well after we come out the other side.”