Executive survey: Manufacturing likely to lag when economy improves

Nearly 60 percent of manufacturing executives believe the economy will improve over the next six months, though they are slightly less optimistic about the prospects for the manufacturing sector.


Nearly 60 percent of manufacturing executives believe the economy will improve over the next six months, though they are slightly less optimistic about the prospects for the manufacturing sector.

Crystal ball

Those were among the key findings of a recent survey conducted KRC Research on behalf of the Baker Tilly accounting firm.The survey consisted of telephone interviews of 300 senior executives at small, medium, and large manufacturing companies during the month of June.

Cautious optimism was the prevailing sentiment when executives were asked for their opinions on the global economy, with 57 percent saying they expected improving conditions over the next six months.

Ironically, however, only 51 percent said they expect the sector in which they work-manufacturing-to improve over that time frame.

Nearly half the executives surveyed (49 percent) said they expect their own companies to suffer declines in business over the next 6 months, with 12 percent saying they felt their companies were in danger of failing.

These sentiments were most pronounced among executives at small companies (fewer than 100 employees), with 12 percent of that group fearing their companies were in imminent danger of failure.

Only 2 percent of executives at medium size companies fear immediate business failure, while 3 percent of large company executives have that fear.

Considering their feelings on the state of manufacturing, it's not surprising that 70 percent of executives said they plan to hold the line of staffing levels over the next year.

A majority of executives also plan to reduce costs of the next 12 months, with operational costs (80 percent), supplier costs (65 percent), and labor cost (51 percent) cited as the primary targets.

When it comes to making investments to boost business performance, 51 percent of executives said they are willing to spend on quality improvement systems.

In addition to their views on the economy and business in general, researcher asked for the executives' view on federal government's proposal to combat global warning through cap-and-trade legislation.

Sentiment was mixed, with 59 percent opposed to such legislation. That opposition was more strident among executives who said they were familiar with the legislation. Meanwhile, executives with a more positive outlook on the economy and the future of manufacturing were more likely to support a cap-and-trade program.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me