Soaring sales push the pace
Manufacturers are reporting rapid growth in exports, capital investments and full-time hiring as they respond with optimism to strong and steady sales. The National Association of Manufacturing’s second quarter outlook survey reports predicted sales growth of 4.8 percent on average over the next 12 months, a significant rebound from one year ago, when the forecast was 1.6 percent growth. The NAM outlook survey’s positive outlook index stands at 89.5 percent, while the overall index was 60.9.
Manufacturing lifts economy
Manufacturers in the United States expanded at a brisk pace in August, reaching levels of output and employment not seen since April of 2011. The Institute for Supply Management reported its manufacturing index rose to 58.8% last month. An index above 50% indicates the manufacturing activity is expanding. ISM’s monthly measuring stick shows growth in 14 of 18 manufacturing industries surveyed, including the machinery, petroleum and coal products, and computer and electronic products sectors. Manufacturing employment has been growing steadily since December. Recent government data shows manufacturing as one of the leading sources of U.S. job growth, adding 36,000 jobs in August.
Rise of the machines
Industrial applications of Internet of Things technology continue its frenetic pace, putting manufacturers in an adapt-or-perish mode. As costs come down and more companies adopt the technology, they are also searching for multiple ways to monetize the investment. A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Manufacturing Alliance for Production and Innovation found that:
IoT deployments are accelerating: 38% of manufacturers are now offering IoT-driven products and services; an additional 48% are currently in the process of developing them
The most common reasons manufacturers offer IoT-driven products and services are: 1) competitive pressures; 2) prospects for new revenue and return on investment;and 3) customer demand. Φ