Prime Advantage, the Chicago-based buying consortium for midsized manufacturers, has announced the findings of its eleventh semi-annual Group Outlook Survey, revealing financial projections and top concerns of its member companies for 2013. The Group Outlook (GO Survey) results find manufacturers optimistic about revenues, and planning to retain or grow their workforce.
Most small and midsized manufacturers expect to beat strong revenues of 2012, with 68 percent of respondents anticipating an increase in sales in 2013. New product launches are the main reason for expected revenue increases, cited by 61 percent, followed by an expected increase in overall customer demand, cited by 57 percent.
The 1H2012 GO Survey saw a similar strong revenue projection of 72 percent, while the 2H2012 GO Survey, conducted last August, was less optimistic at 48 percent of respondents predicting revenue growth over the last half of 2012.
Capital expenditure planning remains healthy, as in the previous two years, with 39 percent of respondents planning an increase from 2012 levels. The survey saw 88 percent projecting spending increases over the previous year, and the 2H2012 GO Survey saw 48 percent projecting spending increases over the previous 12-month period.
Employment continues to grow
Manufacturers’ hiring plans remain in expansion mode, with 43 percent planning to hire more workers this year. Although this number is slightly down compared with 2012, when 56 percent of respondents planned hiring, it remains significantly above expectations in 2010, when only 24 percent of companies were hiring.
Top Concerns: raw materials, purchasing processes and forecast accuracy
The top concern of 2013, the cost of raw materials, is also a leading cost pressure concern. More than 90 percent of respondents included raw materials in their top three cost pressure concerns and 42 percent cited this concern in the leading position. However, it is encouraging that this seems to be declining, relative to recent surveys. The 1H2012 GO Survey saw 55 percent indicate that raw materials was the top cost pressure concern, and it was cited as the top cost pressure concern by 76 percent in the 1H2012 GO Survey.
Healthcare costs moved back into second place among top cost pressure concerns, with 57 percent of respondents including it in the top three. The 1H2012 GO Survey had healthcare costs as the third-greatest cost concern (49 percent). And in 2011, healthcare costs were cited as the fourth-greatest concern among small and midsized manufacturers.
The cost of base materials for components, although still in third place, was cited by fewer respondents as a concern than in prior years.
Nearshoring is here
Companies are seeking the benefits of near-shoring. In the past twelve months, more than one-in-five respondents have brought international sourcing closer to United States. These results are similar to the Grant Thornton Study on Nearshoring, where 25 percent of respondents indicated they brought sourcing closer to the U.S.
More than 70 percent of respondents have increased material and service purchases from American suppliers and service providers. Mexico is the second choice for sourcing, with nearly 28 percent of respondents moving sourcing to that region. The most frequently cited benefits that manufacturers hope to see in nearshoring are shorter lead times, as indicated by 67 percent of respondents, and lower inventories (49 percent). Among other benefits, companies cited better supply chain control (40 percent) and better overall communication (39 percent).
“We are encouraged to see that our Members expect to see growth in 2013, after a very strong 2012 for most,” said Louise O'Sullivan, founder, president and CEO of Prime Advantage. “As they focus on profitability and margins, we look forward to partnering with both Members and Endorsed Suppliers to fuel the bottom line, reflecting Total Cost of Ownership, along with the top line, greater sales and market share."
Methodology: In January 2013, Prime Advantage surveyed executives and purchasing professionals that represent durable goods manufacturing firms, with annual revenues ranging between $10 million and $4 billion, of which the majority ranges between $20 million and $500 million. The survey received a 16 percent response rate from 490 top professionals representing U.S.-based manufacturers in more than 25 different industries, including commercial foodservice, packaging, truck and trailer, material handling, food processing and construction. Prime Advantage has polled its membership for their impressions of current economic conditions on a semi-annual basis since February 2008.
To request a copy of the Prime Advantage 2013 1H Group Outlook Survey visit: