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Delivering Results: Key Findings in the Industrial Manufacturing Industry

February 22, 2012
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PwC’s Barry Misthal explains the reasons behind low confidence from CEOs about the upcoming economic condition, new innovations designed to reduce the cost of existing processes and the types of strategic changes companies have in mind in the year ahead.

The current economy has industrial manufacturing decision-makers questioning their next moves, say the results of an annual survey of more than 1,200 CEOs in 60 different countries. According to the annual Global CEO Survey by market research company PwC, CEOs in the industrial manufacturing sector are downbeat about the global economy: 40% expect it to decline in the next 12 months, although they are actually slightly more optimistic than their counterparts in the entire sample. Confidence levels among industrial manufacturing CEOs are down this year and lag slightly behind the levels seen across the total sample. Still, nearly four-fifths of industrial manufacturing CEOs are somewhat, or very, confident of revenue growth over the next 12 months, although just 18% believe the global economy will improve.

Key findings in the survey include:
 
  • Nearly four-fifths of industrial manufacturing CEOs are somewhat, or very, confident of revenue growth over the next 12 months, although just 18% believe the global economy will improve;
  • CEOs in this sector are downbeat about the global economy as 40% expect it to decline in the next 12 months, although they are actually slightly more optimistic than their counterparts in the entire sample;
  • 68% say they are focusing more heavily on innovations designed to reduce the cost of existing processes;
  • 35% of industrial manufacturers are planning to complete a cross-border merger or acquisition in the next 12 months; and
  • 71% expect to make strategic change this year due to drivers including concerns about economic growth, customer demand and competitive threats.

    In a recent interview with Quality Magazine, Barry Misthal, global industrial manufacturing leader at PwC, explained the results of the survey and lent some insight about what they mean for manufacturing.

    Quality Magazine: Why the low confidence from CEOs about the upcoming economic condition?

    Barry Misthal: Industrial manufacturing CEOs seem to be particularly worried about the impact of sovereign debt issues on the global economy. For example, the CEO of a large global equipment manufacturer told us: "What we’re seeing today in Europe-and throughout the United States and many other countries-are the ill effects of nearly 30 years of low interest rates coupled with high government borrowing and deficit spending. Right now we all need to keep an eye on sovereign debt, particularly countries with high debt
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