Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate this page
ABS Home>Topics @ a Glance > Manufacturing
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
Topics @ a Glance - Manufacturing Statistics
Using Manufacturing Statistics
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Manufacturing?

Manufacturing is defined in the Macquarie Dictionary as the making of goods or wares by manual labour or by machinery, especially on a large scale. The activity of manufacturing includes any activity that fits the definition of manufacturing, irrespective of whether the activity relates to private individuals, organisations whose principal business is not manufacturing (e.g. retailers), or organisations whose principal business is manufacturing. Excluded are any activities undertaken by these persons and organisations that do not fit the definition of manufacturing (e.g. wholesaling or delivery activities of manufacturers).

Another way of viewing manufacturing is through an industry classification. The industrial classification used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition ( cat. no. 1292.0) (see Classification used). The Manufacturing Division in the ANZSIC includes units mainly engaged in the physical or chemical transformation of materials, substances or components into new products (except agriculture and construction). The materials, substances or components transformed by units in this division are raw materials that are products of agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining, or products of other manufacturing units. Units in the Manufacturing Division are often described as plants, factories or mills and characteristically use power-driven machines and other materials-handling equipment. However, units that transform materials, substances or components into new products by hand, or in the unit's home, are also included.

Activities undertaken by units incidental to their manufacturing activity, such as selling directly to the consumer products manufactured on the same premises from which they are sold, such as bakeries and custom tailors, are also included in the division. The view excludes manufacturing activities undertaken by private individuals or organisations whose principal activity is not manufacturing. This is because an ANZSIC, or industry code, is allocated based on the predominant activity of an organisation. It is important to understand this difference between manufacturing activity and manufacturing industry as most of ABS statistics on manufacturing are based on an industry view.

Manufacturing covers a myriad of inputs, processes and products. It embraces production of thousands of different types of goods. These range from ships to sugar to sheep shearing equipment, and from micro circuits to motor vehicles to medicines. The number and complexity of the processes involved in the production of these goods varies. The extent of transformation involved in these processes form the basis of a view of manufacturing which differs from the standard industry, or ANZSIC, view. Some products are simple primary product manufactures such as flour, cheese, tanned hides and skins and pig iron. Some are simply transformed manufactures such as basic metal shapes (billets, coils, ingots), Portland cement, basic organic and inorganic chemicals (such as caustic soda). Others are moderately transformed manufactures such as wire rods, metal pipes and tubes, basic glass, soap and detergents, textile fabrics and tissue paper, while others are elaborately transformed manufactures such as prefabricated metal buildings, wire products, glassware, ceramic products, paints, medicines and perfumes.

The degree of mechanisation involved in the production process provides another view of manufacturing. Manufacturing in Australia covers a wide range of situations from highly mechanised production lines using robotics to simple mechanical activities such as soft drink bottling or concrete mixing through to production of fine jewellery by hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Topics @ a Glance- Manufacturing

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.