National survey reveals manufacturers are less confident about U.S. economy

While there is still general optimism regarding the U.S. economic environment, manufacturing executives are less confident today than one year ago, reports a national survey conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the accounting, tax and business advisory organization.

According to the Grant Thornton Survey of U.S. Business Leaders, 60 percent of manufacturing respondents expect the U.S. economy to improve in the coming year – a considerable decrease from 82 percent of respondents in January 2004.

Although economic recovery has been slower than expected, the vast majority of manufacturing executives (92 percent) still remain optimistic about the growth of their own business. In addition, nearly half (48 percent) plan to increase their headcounts over the next six months and nine in ten are on pace to meet or exceed their sales targets (32 percent exceed and 61 percent on target).

And, as companies strive to grow further, business leaders have recommitted to a critical asset: their brand. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) agree that having a strong brand is more important today than it was just two years ago, with the primary focus on fostering loyalty among current customers (79 percent) and differentiating the company within the marketplace (74 percent).

“Manufacturers see the need to provide more than just products to their markets. The best and most loyal customers today don’t want their expectations just to be met, but exceeded,” says Jim Maurer, partner in charge of Grant Thornton’s consumer and industrial products industry practice. “A strong brand conveys this commitment to customers and sets them apart from their competition in acquiring new clients and retaining existing ones.”

Building a brand often begins with identifying the core strengths that give a company their competitive advantage. Among manufacturing companies, 80 percent say their strong market and customer relationships are the competitive advantages that drive their brand, while 63 percent say it’s their superior sales and distribution capabilities.

To deliver this brand promise, manufacturers have made significant investments in a variety of areas, including operations (56 percent) and information technology (52 percent). Attracting key talent, refining processes, equipment, and sales round out the list at 50 percent each.

More News:

  • DuPont Challenge Encourages Entries For 2015 Competition

    The DuPont Challenge encourages students to develop a better understanding and passion for STEM by researching and writing an informative essay offering solutions to today’s challenges regarding food, energy, protection and innovation, or a story on a science discovery.

  • SOCMA Hosts 93rd Annual Dinner And Awards Showcase

    The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) is returning to the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square on December 8, 2014, for its 93rd Annual Dinner honoring Performance Improvement Award winners and featuring a Leadership and Business Development Speaker Showcase.

  • Summit Features Bio-Based Tech Startups

    The 6th Next Generation Bio-Based & Sustainable Chemicals Summit, February 3 – February 5, 2015, in New Orleans, LA brings together bio-based tech startups, specialty chemical manufacturers, chemical majors, feedstock providers, financiers and strategic venture capitalists to explore bio-based chemicals.

  • Flint Hills Resources Will Cease Marysville Operations

    Flint Hills Resources plans to close its Marysville, Michigan polypropylene facility.

  • EFCE Seeks Award Nominees

    Award honors outstanding thesis in thermodynamics or transport properties

  • British Safety Regulator Gets New Head

    Executive has worked in both the public and private sectors

  • AkzoNobel Partnership Investigates Waste As Feedstock

    AkzoNobel is part of a major Dutch partnership working with Canada's Enerkem to explore the use of waste streams as a feedstock for chemical production and the development of waste-to-chemicals facilities.

  • Scientist And CorningWare Inventor Stookey Dies

    S. Donald Stookey, credited with inventing CorningWare, died on Tuesday, November 4 at the age of 99.

  • DOE Funds New Gasification Research

    The Department of Energy announced new investments in gasification research.

  • SOCMA Awards Honor EHS&S Improvement

    More than 28 member facilities will receive 2014 Performance Improvement Awards for their outstanding commitment to continuous improvement in environmental, health, safety and security (EHS&S) practices at the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) 93rd Annual Dinner on December 8 in New York.

All news »

What are your comments?

Join the discussion today. Login Here.


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments