Quality Magazine

Signs of Optimism in Industrial Manufacturers

May 28, 2009

CHICAGO-Industrial manufacturers are prepared for another tough year in 2009, but they also are counting on the conservative measures taken during the past couple years to help carry them through to better times by year end, according to a survey conducted in February by Prime Advantage, a buying consortium for midsized industrial manufacturers.

Among the highlights of the survey findings, 87% of respondents expect to introduce new products in 2009, even as 62% say they also are expecting some level of revenue decline in 2009. And even as most raw material costs continue to drop, managing these costs continues to be a top priority for manufacturers that are coping with varying degrees of revenue shortfalls.

This echoes findings from Prime Advantage’s Group CFO Survey published in February, as 31% of chief financial officer respondents reported an increase of new product development budgets from 2008 levels with 17% of respondents predicting development of new products or services to meet new customer needs.

“The development of new products is a strategic growth direction for our business and helps demonstrate to our customers that we continue to change to meet their specific needs,” says Tommy Short, director of purchasing at Trussville, AL-based Amerex Corp., a Prime Advantage member and manufacturer of hand-portable and wheeled extinguishers for commercial and industrial applications. “We continue to diversify our offerings due to the tough economic climate we are all facing. We planned ahead for this in the previous years by setting aside the resources needed to introduce new products this year.”

Survey data was collected from 103 representatives of industrial manufacturing companies, including business owners, vice presidents of procurement and purchasing professionals.