Majority of Manufacturers View IT as Critical to Business Operations

Nov. 17, 2009
One in five respondents to a recent survey indicates that current systems are not meeting operational and process improvement needs.

For nearly 90% of companies responding to RSM McGladreys 2009 Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution(MWD) Survey, IT is viewed as a critical component of business operations. Respondents noted that IT has become vitally integrated within manufacturing and distribution environments. Eighty percent of companies indicated that IT must be linked to the companys strategies and business plan.

Approximately one in five respondents indicates that current systems are not meeting operational and process improvement needs; a nearly identical number indicate that current systems are not meeting reporting and data analysis needs; and, almost one in four companies indicates it does not have effective systems to communicate with customers and vendors. Among companies that report IT is a critical component of their business, one in three still reports at least one unmet need.

From a risk management standpoint, 70% of respondents reported having information technology disaster recovery plans in place, but only 47% reported having tested those plans on an annual basis.

Expanding the functionality of existing IT systems is viewed as a way to exponentially increase the value and utility of the system to the company. Eighty percent of companies responding to the survey indicated they have near-term IT expansion strategies in place. Ninety-three percent plan IT maintenance expenditures.

While the current economic downturn has resulted in levels of unemployment, the demand for skilled IT personnel has increased since the 2008 MWD Survey. About 25% of 2009 survey respondents identify IT personnel as a hiring need, up seven percentage points from 2008.

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