MFGWatch 2019 Manufacturing Report: 44% of manufacturers to invest in workforce and new technology in 2019

  • May 31, 2019
  • News
MFGWatch 2019 Manufacturing Report:  44% of manufacturers to invest in workforce and new technology in 2019
MFGWatch 2019 Manufacturing Report: 44% of manufacturers to invest in workforce and new technology in 2019

May 31, 2019 - The MFGWatch 2019 Manufacturing Report was based on a survey completed by both sourcing professionals and custom manufacturers who have used the Global Custom Manufacturing Marketplace to expand their supply chain and win business.  Among the MFGWatch 2019 highlights:

Business is growing. Suppliers plan to increase staff in 2019 to keep up with demand, with more than 44 percent saying they will invest in their workforce and acquire new technology. While 34 percent of buyers will focus more on technology infrastructure and not the workforce, an almost equal number (33 percent) plans to increase both this year.  

Despite growth, there are concerns. Fifty percent of suppliers agreed that the availability of materials is an issue, with 44 percent citing tariffs as a stumbling block. On the buyer side, tariffs and shipping costs (i.e., logistics) were key areas affecting their supply chain strategies, both coming in at around 42 percent. Interestingly, tariffs weren’t indicated on the last MFGWatch survey published just three years earlier. The growing gap in skilled workers was also a key concern. 

Companies are sourcing in the United States. Almost 90 percent of buyers and sourcing professionals cited the United States as their company’s primary sourcing destination for manufacturing their products. However, of those that are sourcing overseas, 79 percent have made no change to bring production back to North America from lower-cost countries.

Sixty-five percent of responding supplier companies said they received more work in 2018 than in the previous year—a huge jump from the MFGWatch 2016 results of 40 percent. Additionally, over 50 percent said their available capacity increased in 2018 while over one-third (37 percent) said it stayed the same year over year. Similarly, 61 percent of suppliers said they experienced an increase in RFQs in 2018, suggesting that the trend continues for buyers actively looking to source custom parts through American suppliers. Only 12 percent of suppliers surveyed saw a decrease in RFQs.

Sourcing professionals also indicated that their companies experienced growth in 2018 (57.6 percent), a jump from 47 percent in the previous MFGWatch report. Forty-one percent of buyers increased their supplier base in 2018 while 38 percent kept the same number of suppliers year over year.


Who is represented in MFGWatch 2019

Although survey respondents came from a fairly even mix of industries, on the supplier side, consumer products and machinery tools & equipment were the largest represented groups, each at 31 percent. It was a similar situation on the buyer side, with 30 percent of respondents identifying themselves as being in the consumer products industry. Machinery tools & equipment came in third at 24 percent, just behind the general “other” industry category at 26 percent. The vast majority of respondents are also considered small businesses, employing between two and 50 employees. Just under 6 percent of responding suppliers and 14 percent of buyers employ more than 500 people.  

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