Renewed Optimism for Manufacturing

Survey reveals a renewed optimism among manufacturing firms!

The 2018 National Manufacturing Outlook and Insights survey shows a bright forecast for the manufacturing sector. A whopping 81% expect revenue growth in their business this year. Most foresee the additional revenue to come from organic growth in domestic markets (72%) and new product and service development (44%).

Top Priorities
Growing sales is the top priority identified by 7 out of 10 manufacturers, and more than half identify cutting operational costs and improving profitability as a significant challenge. Other priorities include dealing with the workforce shortage, finding new markets, and new products and services development.

  • Growing Sales (71%)
  • Cutting Operational Costs/ Improving Profitability (56%)
  • Addressing the Workforce Shortage (45%)
  • Seeking New Markets for Products/Services (42%)
  • Developing New Products/Services (41%)


Increased Spending

Not surprisingly, labor expenses are expected to rise among the responders. And, given that sales growth is a major priority of many manufacturers, spending related to marketing and promotion—as well as new product introductions—are expected to climb. Increases in technology and facility expansion support additional capacity to meet growing sales.

  • 61% expect increases in personnel expenses. This includes increases in both wages and training
  • 51% will increase marketing, advertising, and sales promotion spending
  • 35% anticipate spending increases in technology
  • 34% plan new product introduction expenses to climb
  • 31% will spend additional monies to expand facilities


Technology Growth

65% of manufacturers expect technology costs to increase in the next year. Driving the increase in investment is improved productivity and customer service. Respondents also pointed to the need for greater access to more relevant data and improving product quality, consistency, and offerings as reasons for increased technology spending:

  • 66% increased productivity, efficiency
  • 45% improved customer service and response time
  • 34% gaining access to more relevant data
  • 34% product quality, consistency, and offering


Cybersecurity is the top technology focus for most manufacturers (74%). Also, nearly 50% are exploring or prioritizing predictive business analytics/big data, ERPs, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

  • 74% Cybersecurity
  • 53% Predictive Business Analytics/Big Data
  • 47% Internet of Things
  • 45% Managing ERP Industry Consolidation


To view the full survey and results, click here.