DURHAM, N.C. — TBM Consulting Group released the results of a study Wednesday, indicating that 56 percent of manufacturers sampled in six large industrial nations are optimistic about the year ahead and see opportunities to gain market share through value chain improvements.
Fifty-nine percent, however, say they are concerned over cost pressures.
The survey polled 3,082 executives from mid-sized to large firms in the U.S, U.K., Germany, Spain, Mexico and Brazil.
Executives in the U.S., U.K., Mexico and Spain are optimistic about the future of manufacturing. Executives from Germany and Brazil expect more challenges in the coming year.
Seventy percent of respondents felt most optimistic about value chain improvements, 49 percent were optimistic about new product development/innovation. Global market expansion, business improvement programs and human capital all had 38 percent.
Sixty-two percent of executives said cost pressures were the main challenge for 2008. Eleven percent were concerned about rising energy costs, 23 percent about quality issues and 36 percent about people issues.
“While cost pressures are always on the minds of manufacturers, this year’s survey reveals a heightened concern,” said Anand Sharma, CEO of TBM Consulting Group. “To compete in the global economy, leaders in these countries are under increased pressure to find innovative ways to manage the cost of doing business. By concentrating on value chain improvements, companies can sustain profitability and become nimble at responding to changes and opportunities in the marketplace.”
Other findings include:
- 91 percent of manufacturers surveyed reported productivity gains over the past year
- 72 percent of manufacturers identified kaizen as their primary method for productivity/quality improvement programs
- 30 percent of manufacturers cited a lack of innovative thinking as the greatest shortcoming of the workforce