Manufacturers are facing new obstacles and challenges to success. Yet despite globalization, increased competition and the growing uncertainty of trade flows, Canadian manufacturing leaders are reporting a generally positive, albeit cautious, view of their prospects for 2018.
The annual Manufacturers’ Outlook report, produced by PLANT Magazine in partnership with sponsors SYSPRO Canada, Grant Thornton LLP, and Machines Italia with the Italian Trade Commission, benchmarks leading Canadian manufacturing executives’ business practices for the year, including outcomes and impacts and their opinions and insights into the future of the Canadian manufacturing industry.
Highlights from the report include:
- 44% of senior company executives are optimistic about the coming year, although most (50%) qualify their optimism with caution.
- American protectionism is worrying 92% of executives, followed by rising global protectionism (90%), US President Donald Trump’s impact on nation-to-nation relationships (88%) and the NAFTA renegotiation (88%).
- Controlling costs tops the list of challenges for 66% of respondents, followed by pressures on prices (53%) and improving productivity (49%), which moved up from sixth spot in the 2017 survey results.
- Optimism is evident by their top choices for investment over the next three years: 79% will spend on machinery, equipment and technology, and 68% will invest in training.
- Only 36% make use of automatic data access, analysis and review to measure and monitor productivity; 46% do it manually; 18% don’t measure; and 59% do not plan on a digital production transformation involving Industry 4.0 and the IIoT over the next 12 months.
- More than half of the executives (54%) see innovation as very important to their business strategies with the most focus on products (66%), processes (65%) and technologies (51%).