The U.S. manufacturing market saw a more bullish upturn in the first quarter of 2012. According to the latest Manufacturing Barometer survey released by PwC, some 68% of the manufacturers said the U.S. economy was growing up 40 points from the fourth quarter of 2011. Industry Week gave a summary of the results:
Despite the fact that many manufacturers faced higher costs, 43% were able to raise prices and 45% reported improved gross margins. Overall, they estimated that their revenues would grown an average of 5.6%. Growth in particular sectors such as energy, aerospace and automotive caused manufactures to take a renewed interest in the U.S. market.
“In spite of exposure to increased costs globally, industrial manufacturers generated margin growth in the first quarter as they continued to benefit from operating efficiencies and improved pricing flexibility. This uptick in profit levels bodes well for investment spending as companies put their cash to work in the coming months,” Barry Misthal, global industrial manufacturing leader for PwC told Industry Week.
The survey also addressed the growing influence of digital technology in the manufacturing industry. According to the PwC survey, 91% of manufacturers believe technology is important to achieve their companies’ objectives. 98% have used technology to improve business performance, especially in manufacturing processes, supply chain/distribution and business intelligence and reporting.
Furthermore, seven out of ten manufacturers said they view digital change as crucial to the growth of their business in the next 1-2 years, and over half of manufacturers are creating or revising business models to address new commerce and communication demands with consumers.
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