As you are reading this I am in the Land Down Under for the first time – I have been to China and Europe more times than I care to remember, and have bounced around Mexico and South America quite a bit – but this is the first time in Australia for me.
The purpose is to do some lean teaching and, sight unseen, I am impressed with the eagerness to get lean among the Aussies. The wages in Australia are 26% higher than in the USA, and the distance to China is less than half; and even closer to manufacturing garden spots like Malaysia and Singapore. By all accounts, the Australian financial community is just as ridiculous as Wall Street in obsessing over short term results, and the academics Down Under are just as enthralled with the innovation / globalization school of thinking.
Yet the Aussie manufacturers are fighting the good fight. In researching the trip I have come across all sorts of great Australian manufacturers, such as McConnell Seats, Marand Precision Manufacturing, and Nulon. All of them have received awards for some pretty impressive performance in the last year or so.
The lean enterprise management workshop I am attending sold out in no time flat, which says something about the attitude toward learning. Pete Lambie from KAON Consulting put the workshop together, and there is a vibrant AME chapter going there, complete with a kangaroo on the logo.
As you might have guessed, I am enthused about the visit, as I always am to meet up with people charged up about manufacturing excellence. My blog posts are apt to be a bit scarce for a few days until I get back to the land of the free and the home of the brave, but I will provide a full report upon my return.