We ask about quality spending overall and then look for patterns or changes among various categories. Basically, the survey aims to find out answers to the Five W’s. Who is purchasing equipment? What are they buying? Where are they from? When do they make these purchases? Why do they buy these items? And of course, how much are they spending?
Let’s take a closer look at who responded to the survey this year. This year we had more respondents from smaller companies. The mean company size was 337, down from last year’s 494. Respondents came from the Midwest (37%), the South (27%), the Northeast (19%) and West (17%).
Fabricated metal products are the most common product at respondents’ facilities, followed by aerospace parts, plastic and rubber parts, motor vehicle parts, medical equipment, and primary metal manufacturing parts.
In terms of job function, half of the respondents came from quality management (51%) while just over a quarter (28%) were in quality engineering. The remaining respondents came from engineering/technical (8%), manufacturing engineering (4%), corporate management (4%), manufacturing management/operations (3%), and research and development (1%).
More than half of respondents (58%) said quality was more important now than a year ago. This is an increase from 2014, but on par with the 2013 and 2012 numbers.
And how do these budget projections stack up? When asked how predicted spending compared with actual, 59% of respondents said the previous year’s spending was the same as predicted. For those who said spending was over or under predicted, this corresponded to an average of 27% over budget and 25% under.
And for the current fiscal year, 61% said they spent the same as budgeted. Sixteen percent said they were spending under budget, by an average of 24%.
As for the next fiscal year, respondents think things are looking good. Nearly half expect an increase for next year’s fiscal budget. Of those that expect an increase, they predict this increase would be about 20%.
Most of the purchases for this fiscal year will take place in the first quarter, according to 68% of respondents. About one in ten made their first purchase for this fiscal year in 2015.
And what prompts these new purchases for those who plan to spend more this year? Reducing scrap and rework was one of the principal motives for investment. Improving productivity was another common reason.
In looking at the inspection approach, it’s clear that quality and inspection are interconnected. The majority of respondents perform lot sampling inspection methods, while nearly half inspect every product or part at the final product stage.
What’s on the List
Now’s it’s time for the specifics of what respondents will be purchasing. Gages and gaging systems are on the shopping list for 69% of respondents. General-use test and measurement equipment (such as laser systems and calibration) were also cited by 69%. These numbers were similar to those from previous years.
Test, measurement and inspection services will be purchased by 56%, along with product testing equipment by 41%, software application by 39%, consulting and training services by 36%, and optical inspection and measurement equipment by 36%.
Nondestructive testing equipment is on the shopping list for 27%, materials testing equipment for 24%, and form and surface measurement for 22%
Increasingly, more respondents say that they will be purchasing CMMs this year, at 20%, up from last year’s 16%. In addition, color and coating thickness measurement equipment moved up from 12% last year to 17% planning to buy it this year.
How Much Will You Be Spending?
How much will respondents be spending? The budget for CMMs is the highest, with $94,405 slated for this purchase. Product testing equipment came in next with $76,608 allocated for this equipment. Planned budgets for most evaluated equipment types are on average less than $50,000.
For those planning on investing in a CMM, it appears that the 2015 CMM budget is lower than it was the year before, but is expected to increase this year. CMM spending is primarily going towards manual and portable equipment, while allocation for CNC has dropped compared to previous years. Manual spending was predicted to climb to 27% of the CMM budget up from 13% from the 2014 survey. Portable spending also increased from 23% to 28%.
Of the respondents that plan to invest in form and surface measurement equipment, the 2015 budget was lower than it has been in previous years and is expected to remain the same for 2016. Surface measurement is expected to receive the majority of the form and surface measurement fiscal 2016 spending.
The average 2015 fiscal year budget for gages and gaging equipment was $24,426 and the majority of respondents expect it to remain the same for the fiscal year.
Thirty-four percent of the gages and gaging systems budget is planned to be spent on handheld measuring tools, with less than 15% of the overall budget being allocated to each of the remaining types of gaging equipment.
The average 2015 fiscal year budget for optical inspection and measurement equipment was $35,498 and about 45% expect this to remain the same for 2016.
In terms of the optical inspection and measurement budget, video measurement systems are expected to receive 29% of the 2016 fiscal budget.
The average 2015 fiscal year budget for product testing equipment was $68,194, and more than half of respondents expect it to remain the same for 2016. The 2016 product testing budget is expected to primarily be used for environmental test equipment. Leak and torque test equipment are expected to each take about a quarter of the remaining budget.
The materials test equipment budget for 2015 was $21,028 and more than half of respondents expect it to remain the same for this fiscal year. Expected spending for many of these materials test products appear to vary cyclically each year, with 26% of the spending expected to go towards hardness testing this year.
The nondestructive test equipment budget for 2015 was $67,277 and more than half of respondents expect this to remain the same in 2016. No single nondestructive test equipment is expected to receive the majority of the budget this year, although the top categories were dye penetrant, X-ray, and ultrasonic test equipment.
The average 2015 fiscal year budget for general-use test, measurement and inspection equipment was $23,882 and nearly two-thirds of respondents expect it to remain the same for 2016. Sixty-seven percent of the 2016 fiscal budget of test, measurement and inspection equipment is expected to go towards calibration equipment. The expected budget allocation has remained relatively consistent over the years.
The 2015 software budget was $24,623 and about 59% expect this budget to remain the same into 2016. The software category sees a range of budget allocations, but the largest proportions of the budget are expected to go towards CMM programming and simulation.
The consulting and training services budget for 2015 was $21,260, and most respondents expect this budget to remain the same for 2016. Nearly half of this budget is expected to go towards certification/registration, perhaps because of the new ISO 9001 update, and less than 10% is expected to go to the other types of training and consulting services.
The test, measurement and inspection services budget for 2015 was $25,190, and 69% expect it to remain the same for 2016. More than half of this budget is expected to go towards calibration services, while other categories are expected to receive about a tenth or less of the budget.
BNP Media’s Market Research conducted the survey on behalf of Quality. The Web-based survey was sent to our domestic subscribers. The survey received a 2.24% response rate, with 258 useable returns. The study was fielded October 19 to November 9, 2015. Thank you to all those who participated
Gages and gaging systems are on the shopping list for 69% of respondents.
General-use test and measurement equipment (such as laser systems and calibration) were also cited by 69%.
Test, measurement and inspection services will be purchased by 56%, product testing equipment by 41%, software application by 39%, consulting and training services by 36%, and optical inspection and measurement equipment by 36%.