New survey of manufacturing and purchasing executives reveals optimism


Prime Advantage, a buying consortium for midsized manufacturers headquartered in Chicago, announced the findings of its 14th edition of the Purchasing and Manufacturing Survey, revealing financial projections and procurement insights from more than 750 U.S. manufacturing companies. The results show continued optimism about revenues and employment, as well as increasing demand for flexibility and responsiveness in supply chains. Confidence in growing revenues extends into 2016, according to the study.

Key findings include:

80% of respondents expect to be at or above the previous year's revenues, and 84% anticipate maintaining or increasing revenue performance in 2016.
84% of the buying group's members are prioritizing indirect spend to control costs.
Hiring is strong, with 61% of members planning to hire new employees in 2015.
A lack of qualified workers remains the top threat to manufacturing growth among members for the second consecutive year, with 46% voicing this concern, down from 53% in 2014.
The three most desired traits for potential procurement hires are analytical skills, negotiation expertise and a strong acumen for relationship management
After several consecutive years of climbing revenues, some manufacturing companies are starting to temper expectations, noted the survey's summary. While 80% of respondents expect to be at or above the previous year's revenues—a significant number—this represents the lowest percentage of optimists in this category since 2010. Demand has decreased for some Prime Advantage members, with 27% reporting that they are currently performing below forecast for 2015. Respondents currently enjoying revenue upswings largely credit new product lines and new customers for the growth.
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