As we all wait for a return to some version of normalcy, businesses are taking action. In our fourth Quality Magazine Manufacturing Industry online survey, we looked at what manufacturers are doing, worrying about and what they expect in the future.

The latest survey was conducted April 30-May 4 by Clear Seas Research to look at the current manufacturing landscape. The survey asked subscribers from 12 BNP Media publications in the manufacturing industry about business conditions now.

Respondents are attending more webinars, incorporating additional health and safety procedures into their business plans, increasing marketing efforts to remain top of mind, and investigating new technologies for future business applications.

In addition, they are learning new skills, participating in continuing education units (CEUs), and reading more industry publications. Some said they were working on lower priority projects during this time.

Others said they were doing nothing new because business was the same or better, or simply because they were waiting it out or focusing on family during this time.

When asked “Roughly, how long do you think it will take for your business to get back on track, the largest group, 37% said between four and six months. A slightly lower number, 34%, predicted three months or less. Only 4% predicted a return taking more than 18 months. The mean time was 7.3 months.

In terms of worries, the current economy is their top concern. Achieving business goals over the next three months was the second biggest concern, followed by business stability over the next 12 months. While these are the top worries, as with past surveys, respondents are still concerned about becoming personally infected with the virus, family and friends becoming infected, supply chain interruptions, employees not showing up to work, and IT cybersecurity with remote employees.

The Small Business Stimulus Loan has been of interest to many in the group. According to the survey, 22% of respondents have applied, been approved and received money. Next, 18% said they’ve applied and been approved but are waiting on the money. Following that, 16% said their company qualifies but isn’t planning to apply. Ten percent have applied and are waiting for approval. Finally, 2% said they’ve applied and were denied/money ran out. The largest group, at 33%, said that their company does not qualify.

As with past surveys, 88% of respondents say their organization has been deemed an essential business.

Please follow up if you’d like to share your experience. You can reach me at [email protected].