Product Liability A Top Concern Of Manufacturers

Compiled By Deb Austin What keeps manufacturers awake at night? The answer recently has changed, shows a survey by Fort Lauderdale-based manufacturing marketing firm TR Cutler Inc. A year ago, owners, CEO's and presidents of small to midsized manufacturing companies said cost containment and lack of available workforce were their top concerns. This March, 92% of respondents cited product liability and employee litigation as top concerns. In fact, 21% had been sued by a customer or employee in the past year. Heightened employee compliance regulations -- and tire product-liability publicity -- have given manufacturers a sense of exposure unrelated to production, profit margins, or resource planning, said the TR Cutler report. Most respondents said they'd taken extra care to minimize defect rates -- but even those who had passed ISO (International Organization for Standardization) quality certification expressed concern about litigation. As for employee compliance, 51% said they could not guarantee every law was being followed. Only 12% were using a PEO (professional employer organization) to divert exposure.

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