The Manufacturer's Agenda: Who's Who Among the Global Manufacturing Giants

Aug. 8, 2013
Here's why the IndustryWeek 1000, IW's exclusive annual ranking of the world's largest public manufacturers based on revenue, is a fabulous resource.

Who's up? Who's down? Who's winning the never-ending race to be the biggest and the best? Many of us enjoy company rankings as much for the entertainment as for the information they deliver. Knowing which companies stumbled, skyrocketed or stalled provides fodder for cocktail party small-talk, as well as data that help us track the competition and choose vendors, partners and investments. 

Within the IndustryWeek 1000, IW's exclusive annual ranking of the world's largest public manufacturers based on revenue, you'll find plenty of detail to serve those needs and more. Reviewing the snapshot of annual revenue, revenue growth, profit, profit margin and other financial metrics, you'll discover the details that otherwise lie below the surface, that never make the general business news headlines. That company's huge revenue gain? Not so impressive when you see the profit margin in negative territory.

True, those of us who dig into annual data also closely monitor company and economic indicators each month and quarter, but the annual review, with its comparison to previous years, brings changes into focus, if only for a fleeting moment. 

One such example is the slowdown in China. We've been following it in the industrial production and other indicators, but the annual look -- see "Great Fall of China" -- provides detail about which companies and sectors are growing or shrinking. 

By its nature, the annual ranking is a look in the rearview mirror, but it includes clues to the future. Look especially at the lower-ranked companies, which tend to include unknown -- or at least less well-known -- companies and those new to the list. There, you may find your next offshore competitor or partner in countries like those mentioned in "Expanding Beyond the U.S. Market," including South Africa, which has eight companies on the IW 1000; Malaysia and Turkey, which each have four; and Chile, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which each have two. 

Also, in the lower ranks, you'll find most of the companies that are new to the list, some already household names, but others not so well-known. Those companies are on a growth path that is certain to impact their industry sector.

See and sort the 2013 IW 1000 ranking alphabetically, by revenue or revenue growth at

Finally, not to make too much of the obvious, the IW 1000 is a global list because manufacturing is a global endeavor. When IndustryWeek premiered the IW 1000, the U.S. had 323 companies on the list; this year it has 266. Meanwhile, the inaugural list featured few companies from China, whereas this year's list includes 58. This trend, whether or not your company is directly involved with non-U.S. business and no matter how large a company you run, will impact your business. We hope the IW 1000 provides an easy and entertaining way to stay apprised. 

About the Author

Patricia Panchak | Patricia Panchak, Former Editor-in-Chief

Focus: Competitiveness & Public Policy

Call: 216-931-9252

Follow on Twitter: @PPanchakIW

In her commentary and reporting for IndustryWeek, Editor-in-Chief Patricia Panchak covers world-class manufacturing industry strategies, best practices and public policy issues that affect manufacturers’ competitiveness. She delivers news and analysis—and reports the trends--in tax, trade and labor policy; federal, state and local government agencies and programs; and judicial, executive and legislative actions. As well, she shares case studies about how manufacturing executives can capitalize on the latest best practices to cut costs, boost productivity and increase profits.

As editor, she directs the strategic development of all IW editorial products, including the magazine,, research and information products, and executive conferences.

An award-winning editor, Panchak received the 2004 Jesse H. Neal Business Journalism Award for Signed Commentary and helped her staff earn the 2004 Neal Award for Subject-Related Series. She also has earned the American Business Media’s Midwest Award for Editorial Courage and Integrity.

Patricia holds bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and English from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in Journalism from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She lives in Cleveland Hts., Ohio, with her family.  

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