Australian businesses may face a challenging period ahead as the mining investment boom declines and commodity prices, which have buoyed the Australian economy, fall thanks to the stalled Chinese economy.

However, economists expect these developments, along with a decline in Australia’s currency, to be a boon for the manufacturing sector. Australia’s manufacturing sector has been in decline for years —struggling to compete with manufacturers from low-cost emerging countries and hampered by a strong currency that further made their prices uncompetitive.

But recent developments present an opportunity for manufacturers. If manufacturing companies become smarter in how they compete and manage their resources, they can use an economic downturn to their advantage. One such area of focus should be technology.

Under-investing in technology nowadays can leave companies unprepared and vulnerable to foreign competition. Digitisation, mobile, social media and cloud are driving disruptive changes across many industries. Australian companies that are unable to adapt and capitalise on these technology trends risk falling by the wayside and becoming vulnerable during trying economic times.

Some Australian businesses have become smart about their technology strategy, using cloud computing to increase their profitability by increasing revenue and cutting costs. A survey by analyst and advisory services firm Telsyte found that cloud solutions, specifically on-demand business management software delivered via cloud such as NetSuite, are providing on average 9.4% growth through better agility and faster speed to market. Cloud-based businesses also saved an average of 8.7% of their operating costs because they did not have to worry about ongoing maintenance, power and support costs.

Cases in point are Headland, Precision Mechatronics and BA Equipment group. These Australian companies use NetSuite’s cloud platform for manufacturing to more efficiently manufacture, forecast, price, track and schedule products, with a focus on design and a single platform for both B2B and B2C distribution.

If you are managing an Australian business and want to prepare your organisation for the expected challenges ahead, why not find out what 200 of your peers have said about their business performance following their adoption of cloud software. Check out our white paper titled “Cloud Creates Path to

Profitability for Australian Businesses.”

-Mark Troselj, VP and Managing Director for Asia-Pacific and Japan at NetSuite