Mark Fusco: advanced manufacturing critical to the economy

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By Belinda Willis

Cutting edge technology is helping to generate new advanced manufacturing potential for South Australia to grow the economy, according to business improvement specialist Mark Fusco.

“I’m really quite excited for the future in the sense that some of these changes in technology help the smaller companies compete, we don’t have to send things to Asia to be made if we use the technology available in a smart way,” says Mark, Brand South Australia’s newest I Choose SA ambassador.

He says advanced manufacturing in SA is helping level the global playing field so local companies can better compete, grow and create more jobs in the state.

“Advanced manufacturing is such a critical part of any advanced economy, it’s a creator of net wealth, it’s high tech, high value and it’s exportable,” Mark says.

He established award-winning Advanced Focus in 2005 “to help companies scale up” after spending five years working as production engineering manager for global car company Mitsubishi Motors.

He now works with more than 40 sectors in building more advanced systems – and is actually based in a former Mitsubishi building at the Tonsley innovation precinct.

Mark Fusco of Advanced Focus is an I Choose SA ambassador for the Advanced Manufacturing industry. Photo by James Knowler/JKTP.

The company specialises in working with high potential businesses to evaluate the way they operate and to help remodel their systems to boost efficiency and scale.

“If you’re a company that’s growing really fast there are often three things you run out of pretty quickly, you can’t get enough good people, you can’t get enough money to fund expansion and you’re outgrowing your premises, facility and processes,” Mark says.

It’s been a rewarding process, with Advanced Focus winning awards and helping create success stories, like the company’s second customer SA’s Redarc Electronics.

When Mark first worked with Redarc and its managing director Anthony Kittel there were only 15 staff but management was committed to building a global company.

“He had the ambition and we’ve worked in partnership ever since, the company now has over 200 people and is really going well based at Lonsdale,” Mark says.

“You don’t see that ambition often, it’s fantastic to work with a company that really wants to make a change.”

Since then Advanced Focus has worked with the Osborne-based builder of the nation’s Collins class submarines to dramatically slash dry docking maintenance times.

It has also worked with leading defence industry leader BAE Systems Australia and electrification, automation and digitalisation company Siemens.

Last week, Mark was meeting with senior members of the Australian Navy, introducing them to a range of smart SA companies like Tauv, a manufacturer of lightweight military-grade armour.

Tauv has applied world-first technology to additive manufacturing to develop stronger, lighter and smarter armour for defence, law enforcement and the civil industry.

Another is Resonate, a company specialising in the design of custom measurement systems, software development, complex data analytics and systems integration services.

“They’ve created a company called Ping that has created an acoustic sensor that can listen using artificial intelligence … that is being used to monitor wind turbine defects,” Mark says.

Mark is now also focused on recognising the abundance of high-potential companies in the state.

Along with two other companies, Mihell & Lycos and Adept Technology, he established the not-for-profit Impact Awards in 2014.

The aim was to draw together highly respected leaders in the SA business community to help develop and grow more global companies.

Its mission is “to deliver significant value to the SA economy for the long term by actively working with proven, high-potential companies to help them globalise”.

The awards find companies with the greatest potential to impact world markets – with winners paired with the group’s ambassadors to help them achieve their global ambitions faster and with less risk.

Ambassadors include Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director and Sydac founder Adrian Smith and angel investor and co-founder of Australian company Humense, Amber Cordeaux.

Mark says winners like last year’s Supashock, HMPS and Ziptrak had judges “blown away that they have never heard of some of these companies and also what the have achieved and done it in SA”.

The awards website says it all.

“SA as a high cost economy, with a small and isolated population, needs global companies generating profound impact on the world,” it says.

“By uniting with proven leaders and influencers, our local business community can achieve incredible things to make SA not just one of the best places to live, but also one of the most exciting places from which to run a global enterprise.”

I Choose SA for Advanced Manufacturing stories are made possible by City of Salisbury:

Industry in focus: Advanced Manufacturing

Throughout the month of September, the state’s advanced manufacturing industry will be under the magnifying glass as part of I Choose SA.

As SA transforms away from traditional manufacturing processes, innovative and sophisticated products and services are taking their place, creating new jobs and investment opportunities for the state. Read more stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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