Manufacturers Are Feeling Good About 2011

ASQ study reports that 68% predict revenue growth next year

A vast majority of manufacturers are optimistic about an economic uptick in 2011 at their organizations, according to the second annual ASQ Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The survey states 68% of respondents employed in the manufacturing sector predict their organizations will experience revenue growth.

This is a bit of a brighter outlook than for 2010.D espite the economic landscape, a year ago, 64.7% of respondents predicted that revenue would grow in 2010. This year, when asked if their organization did experience revenue growth in 2010, 67% indicated "yes." More than 1,200 manufacturing professionals from the United States and Canada responded to the online survey October 24 November 5, 2010.

The two areas from the survey that showed the most promise were in the area of payroll and operational budgets:

  • Only 18% expect a pay freeze in 2011 -- compared to 44.8% in 2010 at their organizations
  • 18% predict mandatory budget cuts in 2011 -- whereas 35.2% did in 2010

Of the other 2011 organizational options offered, respondents anticipate:

  • Expectations of a salary/merit increase (48%)
  • Organizations will continue to create processes to reduce costs (47%), down from 61.3% in 2010
  • Maintaining current staff levels at their organizations (42%)
  • Hiring of additional staff (42%)
  • No mandatory furlough days (73%) In 2010, 72% indicated they did not have to take furlough days

Cutbacks and Quality

As many organizations had to make sacrifices to survive a down economy, the survey inquired whether staff reductions or other cutbacks implemented in 2010 negatively impacted the quality of the products/services delivered. 33% of respondents believed that the quality of their products/services was negatively impacted. 32% believed that the quality did not suffer.

Manufacturers Offer Advice

Respondents were also asked what one tip they would give to manufacturers to ensure revenue growth in 2011. The top four tips, similar to the 2010 outlook, from respondents were:

  • Continue to take part in continuous improvement practices, and increase use of quality processes
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Implement more lean processes
  • Reduce costs/eliminate waste

"Though it appears the manufacturing sector is still facing some challenges on the road to full economic recovery, the incremental gains shown in this survey are very promising," said ASQ Chair Peter Andres. "However, organizations still need to focus on and increase customer satisfaction, and implement continuous improvement practices to remain competitive."

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