After the tumult of 2020, the year ahead offers a fresh chance for businesses of all sizes to focus on sourcing and buying within Australia to help the community rebuild in the wake of devastating bushfires, floods and the economic impact of the Covid-19-related movement restrictions.
Countless businesses who may have traditionally sourced supplies offshore are finding it difficult to maintain stock levels or production flows given interruptions to the global supply-chain infrastructure. Now many of them are turning to alternative suppliers at home, empowered by TradeSquare, Australia’s first dedicated B2B trading platform, which launched during the height of the Covid-19 crisis.
Ben Lazzaro, CEO of the not-for-profit Australian Made Campaign, says Covid-19 has redefined the term ‘love local’.
“The pandemic very quickly highlighted our over-reliance on imported products,” he says. “I think it brought it home to a lot of us that the way we choose to spend our money can have an impact on Australia’s self-sufficiency as well as our economic future.”
Some of the companies signed on to TradeSquare have found refocusing locally to bring significant benefits.
"The benefits of manufacturing in Australia include being able to use local materials, support local producers, control all of the factors of production, have a better oversight of the facilities, manufacture to high standards up to date with the latest requirements, - and to employ local people," explains Frank Granziera, head of the Olive Oil Skin Care Company.
The ‘trust’ factor
“Being an Australian Made company ensures we have easy communications, trust in our local regulations, can enjoy the reputation and worldwide trust of Made in Australia, support local producers and employ Australians," says Granziera.
He has noticed a return to the traditional Australian value of "Mateship" during Covid, with businesses supporting one another through tough times.
That sentiment is shared with another supplier on TradeSquare, Allgifts Australia, which ramped up its local sourcing whenever viable last year.
"Wherever possible we manufacture in Australia,” the management team told us. “We are careful about which suppliers and countries we deal with to make sure we get the best possible end result for our customers."
Flexibility and cheaper freight
Sourcing locally brings the benefits of easy communications, a flexibility to move around production schedules and cheaper freight.
"Using local suppliers where possible has made it easier to get through this year given there have been massive issues with labour and freight overseas,” the team told us. “We were lucky that our Indian supplier was only minimally affected. Most of our local suppliers were business as usual this year so we were still able to deliver our range to our customers."
Ryan Clancy of Scarlet & Grace says he has noticed “substantial growth and a shift towards Australian Made products” during the last year.
Like the other suppliers, he has been able to support the local economy and create a product unlike anything else on the market by focusing on Australian business. “Being locally made means we can control what goes into our products, ensuring they're free from nasties and manufactured to the highest quality possible."
Only months after TradeSquare began trading, participating Australian businesses are reporting increased opportunities to search and source products they were previously unaware of, resulting in a newfound satisfaction of being able to support Australian businesses rather than sourcing offshore.