Manufacturers Continued to Add Production and Facility Improvements in 2013

Sector Produces $1.9 Trillion Annually, or 12% of GDP

Manufacturers are still bullish on the economy, and plan to increase production capacity, at least according to a recent industry survey.[1]  Nearly 83%percent of companies reporting planned to increase manufacturing capacity, and two-thirds of respondents are upgrading their facilities.

Reflecting the improving economy, 55% reported business growth in 2012, and 63% expected increases in 2013 once the numbers are all totaled.

There were 1,209 manufacturing and custom manufacturing respondents throughout North America in the survey.  Reflecting the impact of small business generation, 50% of the companies surveyed were small businesses (1-49 employees).

What does this mean for QuickBooks users and consultants?  A large number of companies surveyed (73 percent) were including cost management in 2013 and 2014 spending plans, and 63 percent are upgrading their inventory management systems.  As the economy improves, manufacturers are investing in upgrading production systems, and the accounting systems that integrate with them.

The major emphasis reported by the companies is the use of technology in both their websites and business processes.  When asked, ‘How were you be securing more business in 2013?’ the largest response was through, ‘Our own website’ (62%), as opposed to more traditional methods of trade shows, direct sales and their distributor network.  This bodes well for products like ‘Agiliron,’ ‘MISys’ and ‘Exact Online.’

And along with production increases comes the need for more skilled personnel.  Hiring: 42% plan to increase their headcount; 50% stay the same, and only 8% plan to decrease their headcount.  Of the positions to fill, 60 percent of respondents were looking for engineers, 59 percent wanted skilled trade workers, 55 percent were hiring sales and marketing people, and 53 percent were seeking manufacturing/production management personnel.

Although the upcoming need is there, the talent pool is not growing as fast.  The biggest obstacle the respondents reported was developing the next generation of workers.  50% of the workers are in the Generation-Y category (over 45), and cultivating interest and education paths for young workers is still quite difficult.  The survey categorized this as the industry’s employment ‘biological clock.’

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