Thomas Register recently produced a 2013 summary report on manufacturing and technological innovation trends. The survey summarizes responses to over 1200 industry professionals in North America with a wide range of questions addressing performance, outlook and strategies which included a wide range of revenue and sizes of businesses.
Probably the most surprising insight in the report is the lack of succession talent in the workforce. With a large segment of the manufacturing population being age 45 and over, the importance of connecting a newer workforce has never been more critical. The report addresses insight into the challenges in recruiting and how to share the passion of manufacturing with the next generation workforce. Manufacturers that realize this gap in the short-term will circumvent hiring problems in the long-term. 42% of those surveyed are looking to increase headcount. The positions they are looking to fill are: engineers, skilled trade workers, sales and marketing and manufacturing/production management personnel- in other terms, knowledge employees.
Interestingly enough nearly 3x as many respondents since 2012 survey (62%) indicated that their websites drive more awareness and business-building opportunities than any other tactic. Given this fact, the importance of social media, website analytics and CRM integration are becoming a more critical asset to leverage and understand. An integrated digital presence is a must-have, especially when many companies are looking to grow their business through offering services that in the past they might have outsourced and aggressively looking to expand geographically outside of North America.
Securing more business in 2013:
- 62% - their own website
- 42% - events/tradeshows
- 36% - expanding sales workforce
- 36% - customer service initiatives
- 25% - expanding distributor network
Companies that have been successful in improving their productivity have looked to solutions that are offered in the cloud. Communication has been a large component of those solutions being successful. Customer retention is a big motivation to integrate ERP solutions- from every angle of the business (sales, service, manufacturing production).
The message from the report is clear. Manufacturing companies that wish to keep business they have and continue to grow are directly benefiting from technological integration from automation (CNC machines), accessibility to comprehensive solutions to drive productivity and