Chromalox survey finds optimism about manufacturing, job growth
A survey commissioned by industrial heat and control systems company Chromalox Inc. found plant managers were optimistic about manufacturing and employment growth in 2006 and beyond. Chromalox surveyed manufacturing engineers and engineering management, with one-third of the 85 respondents working outside the United States.
Of the respondents, 76% expect plant production volumes to continue to increase this year, while only 17% forecast little or no change. To remain competitive, 19% plan to install improved production technology and implement lean manufacturing techniques. While only 6% expect a decreased budget in 2006 (compared to 20% last year), 51% expect to increase their budgets for 2007. Staffing levels are expected to increase only slightly this year, with 40% claiming there will be no change, and 49% planning to increase staff.
Respondents said the ability of manufacturers to customize products for a particular application was of the utmost importance, with 39% saying that up to 20% of the products they buy are customized. They expect to continue to enhance their control systems by adding predictive maintenance and equipment diagnostic functions to help them manage information related to their process or application.
Only 5% of those surveyed last year had temperature control systems that included diagnostic or predictive maintenance capabilities, compared to 25% currently. This trend is expected to continue to increase another 9% in next two years.
Of those surveyed, 27% currently have some form of remote equipment monitoring technology, and another 10% expect to add remote control technology between now and 2008.
The full study is at http://www.chromalox.com/news/nmw06survey.pdf .