WoodTECH News | Issue 44

In WT Issue Summary by FIEALeave a Comment

Welcome to the latest issue of WoodTECH.News.

This is the first issue of 2022 and how things have changed since we last corresponded. Omicron has been an unwelcome game-changer in Australia. While the worst may be over, the big issue for business has been chronic worker shortages in key industries across the country. Companies reported that 20% to 50% of workers were off sick with covid, or isolating, during the peak. It soon became apparent that an ‘essential worker’ was not limited to teachers, doctors and supermarket workers – it now included truck drivers, meat workers, cleaners, machinery operators, maintenance staff and hundreds of other occupations.

With omicron now in New Zealand, we are likely to see a similar scenario play out. Hopefully, some lessons have been learnt from across the Tasman and New Zealand businesses can plan for upcoming disruptions.

In industry news, sawmillers, wood manufacturers and saw doctors across the region have been looking forward to the upcoming WoodTECH 2022 event in Rotorua, New Zealand. Because of covid and international travel uncertainty over the next couple of months, the mid-May WoodTECH 2022 event has been rescheduled to 18-19 October 2022. This will be the first in-person event run for green mill operations since 2019. As well as the issue of safety, the delay will most likely enable key technology and equipment providers from Australasia to finally travel into this part of the world.

As well as numerous major investments announced in local sawmilling operations, we’ve also highlighted again the issue of a lack of digital skills within the manufacturing workforce. Manufacturing, no matter what industry it is, is facing rapid technological change and the challenge is how businesses can upskill workers to keep pace. While automation has long been a feature within sawmills, we are now seeing robotic arms working alongside skilled staff and connected devices removing the need for manual data recording.

Check out these stories and much more below. Enjoy this month’s issue.

Stories this issue:

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