4 March 2024

ICN driving growth and innovation in Australian Manufacturing

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This year, Industry Capability Network is celebrating 40 years of successfully linking project owners with local suppliers across the Australian manufacturing landscape.


“With a mission to promote growth, sustainability and inclusivity, ICN is playing a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of Australia’s manufacturing sector,” ICN chief executive officer Warren Jansen said.

“By using ICN’s end-to-end procurement and supply chain tools, the Australian manufacturing industry can ensure its evolution towards a sustainable and successful future is strategic and effective.”

At the heart of ICN’s service is ICN Gateway, a comprehensive online system that allows project owners to list work packages, and suppliers to browse and register their interest in work opportunities.

Image/Industry Capability Network

While ICN Gateway covers the entire spectrum of manufacturing projects, it has proven particularly useful for those that require the management of multiple work packages, with differing requirements.

The platform is backed by a dedicated team of Industry Specialists across Australia who actively promote competitive local suppliers to manufacturing opportunities.

This wealth of experience gives the network’s supply chain experts a strong understanding of, and vision for, the manufacturing sector.

ICN began in Victoria in 1984 as the Industrial Supplies Office, with the aim of providing small and medium businesses full, fair and reasonable opportunities to access public and private projects.

“Other states and territories – as well as New Zealand – quickly adopted the concept, which stemmed from the British Government’s Offshore Supplies Office, set up in 1973, with a remit to support local suppliers connect to the North Sea Oil project,” said Jansen.

By the early 1990s, it started to become clear that all the independent ISOs needed more formal co-ordination, so in March 1995, ISO Net, now ICN’s National Office, opened its offices in Canberra.

In 2003, the acronym ISO was increasingly recognised as representing International Standards, so the name changed to ICN.

“Over the past 40 years, despite many challenges such as funding constraints, office closures and Government policy changes, ICN has not only survived, but thrived,” said Jansen, adding that there was currently an ICN presence in every state and territory in Australia, with plans to re-establish an active presence in NZ.

“The work of ICN has helped facilitate contracts for local suppliers valued at over $43b, much of that in the manufacturing sector.

“This impressive effort has led to the creation of thousands of jobs and significantly expanded local industry participation.

“All of this is thanks to ICN’s dedicated and skilled staff, who have helped create a brand synonymous with facilitating local business opportunities in Australia and New Zealand, ” said Jansen.

Image/Industry Capability Network

Throughout 2024, ICN will be celebrating its anniversary with a range of events and activities, including re-launching its flagship Gateway product and hosting a national event in Canberra. This event will highlight ICN’s contribution to the national economy and celebrate its people and their achievements.

There will also be smaller events and webinars, focusing on essentials for business connections and success in the digital age.

“I feel incredibly thankful to be able to have continued on the legacy of those that came before me, including ISO Net’s first Chairman, David McLachlan, first Executive Director, Chris Neil as well as my immediate predecessor and current Chair, Derek Lark.

“I would also like to acknowledge the Chairs and Heads of each ICN for their individual contributions towards our collective success as a network,” said Jansen.

Keep an eye on the ICN website or subscribe to Capability News for information on all the events planned for the year.

Image/Industry Capability Network

Article written by Georgia Smith for Manufactures Monthly.

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