Companies whose operations heavily rely on manufacturing have good reasons to be optimistic. The manufacturing industry is currently experiencing a bullish trend. June saw the US Manufacturing Index reach a 16 month high. The index posted an increase of 1.9 points and the new order index is up 1.3% from May. With the export index at its highest level since November 2014, companies that manufacture can have confidence in their industry’s stability moving forward. It is vital that manufacturing businesses make the most of these fortuitous times. In a rapidly changing political and technological environment, companies should be aware and actively working to stay on the cutting edge of business.
Challenges & Opportunities
While 2016 has brought its share of challenges, each one also brings opportunities for growth and success. Technology is the primary driver in improving manufacturing processes and supply chains. Consumer goods, food & beverage, industrial equipment, all these industries can benefit from technologies that make sourcing warehouses more efficient, delivery routes more reliable, and shipping containers more cost-effective. For all of the opportunities at hand, businesses need to address a world at turmoil. China’s heavy, export-driven growth period has come to an end and the economy is now in the midst of transitioning to a more domestic focused model. Brexit has thrown the future of the European economy into question, and the rise of the European right wing have threatened the trade agreements that have made the global economy possible. This uncertainty makes it more important than ever that businesses that rely on manufacturing have a stable and robust network of suppliers, distributors, and vendors.
Importance of Strategic Partners
Strong partnerships are crucial to understanding uncertain markets. Whether it’s food, cosmetics, vehicles or any other consumer good, your dealers are your entry point to local consumers. Your vendors understand the needs and wants of their customers better than you ever will. A strong relationship with your vendors will help keep you at the forefront of changing market trends. As Donald V. Fites, former Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar, Inc. attested, “our dealer network generates extraordinary and timely market intelligence. It’s a rich source of information that enables us to introduce new products and support services successfully.”
For equipment and parts manufacturers, it can often be difficult to differentiate your product above the competition. When it’s difficult to compete on product or price, service is the best way to get ahead of your competitors. But to provide that kind of service, you need trusted strategic partners. To engender consumer loyalty, your supply chain must be centered around delivering the most value to your customer: suppliers you can trust to not disrupt your production process, distributors who can deliver your products quickly and reliably, and vendors who are familiar with your product and communicate its value to consumers.