A while ago I wrote that there seemed to be the beginnings of some thinking amongst the smaller manufacturing operations I interact with about the relative value of manufacturing in high cost Australia, and retaining control of, and having the opportunity to develop, the intellectual capital involved, rather than sending manufacturing offshore in pursuit of lower costs.
I came across this article reflecting the same view, but amongst some of the biggest manufacturers in the US, and it also reflects the beginnings of this trend.
In Australia, we have let our trade skills erode so dramatically over the last 25 years that if we do start to see some sophisticated manufacturing return to our shores, and the obvious contender is photo-voltaic cells, now almost exclusively manufactured in China with Australian technology, we may not have the technical manufacturing skills to deliver.
If this nascent trend does harden, it will usher in a huge gap in our operational skills capability, one that will take a generation or more to fix, and most importantly to any solution, we need a recognition by federal and state politicians that we have a problem bigger than the next election cycle. The long term investment in education and the culture changes necessary will add another big chunk of time to the reaction, possibly a generation.