While manufacturing activity in the past two years has been slightly less robust than observers would have hoped for, the general trend is toward growth, and according to the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) the industry is expected to reach pre-recession production levels in 2018. Meanwhile, expectations for 2017 include modest growth overall, with some sectors (such as construction supplies, high tech, and healthcare manufacturing) and some regions (including Colorado) faring better than others.

To gain a deeper understanding of manufacturers’ plans and challenges for 2017, EKS&H — in conjunction with the Leading Edge Alliance — recently conducted a national survey of U.S. manufacturing companies. More than 250 individuals (including more than 30 manufacturing executives from Colorado) participated during October 2016. The top-line key takeaway was that, while the industry faces significant challenges in the coming year, manufacturers can deploy a wide range of targeted strategies to overcome them and achieve their strategic goals.

Top strategic priorities for manufacturers
While cost cutting remains top of mind, manufacturers will need to practice strong strategic planning to stay competitive in 2017.

National results: Survey respondents identified cutting operational costs (47 percent), seeking new markets (46 percent), and long-term strategic planning (41 percent) as their top priorities for 2017.

Colorado results: For Colorado companies, top priorities were R&D (52 percent), cutting operational costs (42 percent), and short-term strategic planning and seeking new markets (36 percent), respectively.

Strategy: After years of reducing expenses following the Great Recession, manufacturers will need to be creative about areas to cut expenses, and may not find many new options. Meanwhile, many companies understand the importance of performing ongoing R&D and continuously optimizing their operational infrastructure to enable growth.


Original Posting (January 19, 2017):
Facing the Headwinds: Strategies for Manufacturers in 2017 | COMPANYWEEK.COM
All credit goes to Kreg Brown for writing the blog, “Facing the Headwinds: Strategies for Manufacturers in 2017”. The original posting can be found in the link above.