A Survey on Manufacturing, and Opportunities

By April 15, 2010Economy

From Walter D. Gruenes, National Managing Partner, Grant Thornton LLP, in IndustryWeek, “Positioning Your Company to Thrive in the Months Ahead“:

[When] –and how — will we see the light at the end of the tunnel? A recent Grant Thornton survey of nearly 500 U.S manufacturing CFOs and senior controllers suggests that it may still be a number of months off. According to our survey, nearly half (48%) do not expect the recession to end until 2011, while nearly another one-quarter (24%) expect it to be later than 2011.

Moreover, only 29% of survey respondents’ companies plan to increase hiring in the next six months, while 22% plan to decrease hiring. Hiring is even weaker amongst Fortune 500 firms (firms with revenues of $5 billion and higher); 31% plan to decrease hiring over the next six months, while only 23% plan to increase.

Gruenes offers strategies for companies to position themselves for the recovery:

  • Examine Your Suppliers and Key Customers
  • Forecast Effectively
  • Implement Lean Manufacturing Techniques

As for that latter point:

Over the past two years, almost everyone has slashed costs to the bone. But have you really improved operations and become more efficient? Have you achieved a lean manufacturing environment? My experience is that many companies have not adopted basic lean techniques and tools such as benchmarking their operations, waste elimination activity, kaizen events and value-stream mapping. These lean techniques improve quality, eliminate waste and lower costs.You want to have your plant running as efficiently and effectively as possible to profit from the economic recovery in 2011 and beyond.

Gruenes recently joined the NAM’s board of directors. Welcome!

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