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3 minute read • published in partnership with MRPeasy

Survey shows over half of small manufacturers are optimistic about business expansion

A recent survey conducted by MRPeasy, a provider of cloud-based manufacturing resource planning software, has indicated a wave of optimism among small manufacturers in Europe and the United States, with more than half of the respondents expressing confidence in their business expansion plans over the next six months.

The survey, which included 60 leaders of manufacturing businesses with 10 to 200 employees across the US and Europe, and was conducted in December 2023, found that 54% of these small manufacturers are considering business expansion in the next six months likely or very likely. 24% considered expansion unlikely or not likely at all, while 22% remained uncertain.

The survey also found that a similar percentage (54%) of small manufacturers considered it likely to be hiring new employees in the next 6 months, signalling a positive outlook for job growth in the sector.  MRPeasy says this optimism comes at a time when the industry faces significant headwinds, including rising inflation, supply chain disruptions, and labour shortages.

The MRPeasy survey findings resonate with Deloitte’s 2024 manufacturing industry outlook, which highlights the importance of digital transformation for manufacturers of all sizes to enhance competitiveness and resilience. Deloitte’s report also emphasizes the urgency for manufacturers to address cybersecurity risks, and to leverage emerging technologies like generative AI and the industrial metaverse, which are integral to maintaining competitive and operational efficiency in the evolving manufacturing landscape.

A survey shows 54% of small manufacturers across the US and Europe consider business expansion in the next six months likely or very likely / Picture: Getty/iStock

Industry reports such as one from Statista also note a positive outlook for manufacturing, projecting a 3.57% annual growth rate for the manufacturing sector through 2028. According to the report, advanced technology like artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have the potential to improve overall efficiency and productivity while reducing costs.

Mike Lurye, director of business development at MRPeasy, said: “Despite the challenging economic conditions, it’s encouraging to see a strong sense of optimism among small manufacturers. This trend towards growth underscores the sector’s adaptability and potential in a rapidly evolving economic landscape. In these challenging times, small manufacturers can greatly benefit from digital transformation. Embracing technologies like cloud-based solutions and AI helps streamline operations, reduce costs, and enhance decision-making. This shift is crucial for building resilience and agility in today’s economic landscape.”

Alece Piper, vice president of Bernard Laboratories, added: “We continue to adapt and expand our marketing approaches to attract new clients while supporting our current clients despite the challenging economic environment. We have noticed that compared to previous years, orders have decreased for some existing clients due to economic uncertainty, but have seen a rebound in orders in recent months. I believe that 2024 will most likely pose the same issues, so attracting new clients is important to maintain our overall sales goals.”

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