The AMGC is pleased to announce Thales as its founding member. Chris Jenkins, Thales’s CEO, shares his insights into their Australian operations. As a member of the AMGC, Thales will be able to play a pivotal role in influencing the future trajectory of Australian manufacturing and will directly benefit from the Centre’s upcoming Sector Competitiveness Plan.
1. Tell us a little about your business – what do you manufacture, and how and when did you get started?
Thales is mostly recognised as a global defence systems provider. However, we also specialise in transport, aerospace and security solutions. Globally, we employ over 60,000 people in 56 countries.
In Australia, we predominantly focus on creating solutions for the Australian military. We employ 3,200 people locally and have extensive operations nationwide. In addition, our network of Australian SME partners across the country helps to extend our reach and to offer solutions that are unique to both the Australian and global markets.
2. What is unique about your product or service offering?
Overall, we aim to work in four core areas of defence: states, cities, critical infrastructure and cyberspace. Our approach is to invest in new innovations, new products, new capabilities in defence, security and infrastructure.
3. What are the key export markets that you sell to?
As Thales operates in over 56 countries, we look at the global marketplace, yet specialise in different offerings based on different demands. Specifically, from Australia we have exported life-saving protected vehicles to the Netherlands, Japan and Jamaica; sonar and other underwater systems to the UK, France, the US and South Korea, among others; and air traffic control systems to numerous countries including Singapore and China.
4. Of these factors, which are the most important enablers of growth to your business?
Technology leadership, value-adding services, R&D investment, industry and research collaboration, and skills development are important enablers of growth in the business. In an increasingly complex world, Thales invests and partners to deliver products and services that enable smarter solutions for customers wherever safety and security are critical.
5. Why did you decide to join the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre?
By becoming a member of the AMGC, we strengthen our position and build on what we have been doing at Thales for years – investing in local relationships with industry to benefit customers here and overseas. This will help boost local manufacturing, and show what Australian industry has to offer.
6. What do you see as the future of Australian manufacturing?
The Australian manufacturing industry is undergoing a transformation to become globally competitive on many fronts. Our goal is work with local industries in new ways and share common strengths.
This includes not only finding innovative collaboration models with SMEs, as we have done with our innovative Hawkei protected vehicle, but also harnessing the opportunities enabled by new technologies and innovations across various market segments. In a changing world there are many interesting areas for Australian manufacturers to build their businesses in, and we are very positive about what Australian industry can deliver.