Conservative Outlooks Do Little To Dent Manufacturing Confidence

Sep 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM

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As we move into the fourth quarter, American Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (IEM) companies have reason to feel hope. This is not opinion or hyperbole. Rather, this is a statement backed up by the results of the eighth annual Prime Advantage Group Outlook (GO) Survey.

Per some of the more positive results of this survey, as published in the article above:

- 7% of manufacturing companies see revenues as the same or better, through the balance of 2011
- 44% of manufacturing companies state that new products and/or consumers are fueling their growth

Pent-up puppy demand, a concept developed by my colleague Bob Aronson when he posted here last year, is likely a big part of this increased consumer demand.  As Bob explains it below:

“In terms of pent-up consumer demand, imagine walking by a store window each day and seeing the same adorable puppy.  Each day, you walk by knowing that while that puppy may make your life infinitely easier (ie a new friend, a new guard) you just don’t have quite enough to support him (or her).

And then finally, that day arrives where you have just enough cash on hand to take care of this puppy today – and at least through tomorrow.  And like many who have fallen for big brown eyes in the past, you walk into the pet store and scoop up your new friend almost uncontrollably – and you don’t give it a second thought.”

In other words, having been unable to spend for so long – consumers are feeling ready – and the demand is deafening.

The flip side to this reality, however, can be seen in two additional points from this same survey below:

  • 11% of manufacturing companies plan to increase layoffs, compared to 3% from the first half of the year

  • 81% cite supply chain management cost containment as a top issue

The interesting dichotomy is this:

  • Consumers, for too long unable to spend, are exhibiting the pent-up demand that breeds confidence

  • Manufacturers, for too long existing in uncertain economic conditions, are not yet ready to increase spending on employment or supply chain management improvements – despite demand

The solution for existing in this environment lives within lean manufacturing.  And while this may not be an answer that everyone appreciates, it is an answer that is all but defining our current manufacturing environment as we move into Q4 and beyond.

For those that feel as though lean operations will make it harder to keep up with demand, unfortunately, I can’t tell you how long lean will define your world.  But what I can do is let you know that there are solutions available that are designed to help you succeed in this environment:

  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Integration PLM / ERP integration can help reduce the risk of costly and time consuming mistakes.  A recent demo I shared, which you can request via the form to the right, illustrated how Microsoft Dynamics and Siemens Teamcenter integration led to a 70% reduction in data entry errors.

  • Cloud ERP Modern cloud-based ERP solutions can be quickly implemented and are built from the ground up with industry-specific solution sets.  These solutions help to support secure, global project visibility from any web connection – and support the real-time communication that can near instantaneously transform the efficiency level of any project.

  • Plant Maintenance Solutions Regardless of how lean your staff is, plant maintenance schedules will need to be developed, managed and adhered to.  New solutions available will offer more than the ability to schedule and assign work – instead, they will provide everything from global insight into maintenance schedules to the flexibility to automate real time changes to work orders.

An increase in manufacturing confidence is an extraordinarily positive indicator.  But this recovery must be planned for, and taken with a budgetary grain of salt.  Fortunately, solutions are available to ensure this recovery is all the sweeter.

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About Author
Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) For Luciano, being responsible for To-Increase’s global sales and marketing means unleashing the company’s insight, innovation, and creativity to tell our story and help customers achieve their goals. On the road much of the time, he travels the world to meet with customers, understand their challenges and ambitions, and find the most effective ways to help them advance. Luciano develops and mentors our marketing and sales team, and creates strategies to help the To-Increase worldwide partner channel thrive and grow.
Making Customer Needs the Main Business Driver Luciano and his team have daily conversations with the To-Increase research and development organization to bring customers’ requirements and concerns into the road maps and design of our solutions. Luciano brings his insight to the marketing group to make sure the company’s communications resonate with customers and speak directly to their experience.
“I’m awed by customers’ innovative spirit in taking business management technology past its limits and by their generosity in letting us participate and empower them. I hope to transform our organization to become even more customer-centric than we are today. That means making more resources available to spend productive time with both our customers and partners, so we can ensure that we place into customer businesses effective solutions that fit the evolutionary stage of their operation and the way their people and processes work.”
Empowering a Global Channel
Because To-Increase only sells through partners, readying the channel to be successful in helping customers is a business-critical effort. Luciano aims to meet partners where their interests are. Partners who consider the relationship with To-Increase strategic can rely on our industry specialists to work with them as they plan their growth and serve customers. If partners prefer a less collaborative relationship, they still receive the rich To-Increase expertise and resources to ensure they win the business, perform a successful deployment, and retain a satisfied customer. In working with partners and their customers, Luciano brings to bear his experience of many years of creating successful, customer-focused business development and marketing strategies in many of the world’s countries and regions.
Enabling Customer Success in Challenging Business Environments
Looking into the near future, Luciano expects that customers will continue to expect To-Increase to help them make business sense of unfolding trends and technologies. For example, the internet of things (IoT) will thoroughly revolutionize manufacturing, engineering, and supply chains. Big data will be meaningful and valuable when decision-makers can use technology solutions to transform it into actionable business intelligence that supports key roles and business processes. Mobility will help companies become digital enterprises and move business processes forward from any location, at any time. Team To-Increase harnesses innovation to help customers translate the promise of these technologies into business results.
Before his current role, Luciano for several years was one of To-Increase’s global industry directors, responsible for our industry solutions. His experience also spans more than 17 years in IT and manufacturing management roles. These positions took him into various areas at IBM Brazil, serving as product manager for several software development companies, and included working in senior management at a manufacturing organization in the U.S.
Luciano is married with two young children. Away from work, he enjoys participating in a soccer class together with his son and daughter as well as taking relaxing walks in natural environments with his family.

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