MFG.COM

MFG.COM (9)

MFG.com is pleased to announce the appointment of Ronald L. Hollis, Ph.D., as its new president and CEO. Dr. Hollis, who joined the firm on October 16, 2017, is a well-known figure in the manufacturing sector whose expertise will help redefine the platform and usher it into the future.

Dr. Hollis founded Quickparts, Inc. and served as its president and CEO. The firm revolutionized product development by simplifying the purchase of low-volume custom parts with patented online instant quoting. Previously, he founded and served as president and CEO of Rapid Tech Engineering, a company that provided engineering services for product development and became one of the world’s first value-added resellers of 3D printers. Earlier, as a vice president at Fastec Engineering, he helped guide the operations of this injection molding manufacturer that provided design, engineering and manufacturing for product development companies. Dr. Hollis has consulted widely, sharing practical business logic and leadership insights with organizations eager to change and succeed. He holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama and a doctor of philosophy in technology business management from the University of Alabama–Huntsville.

MFG.com is part of the Fulcrum Equity Partners portfolio. In commenting on the Hollis appointment, Frank X. Dalton, partner with Fulcrum Equity Partners, says, “Ron’s background and extensive experience in the space is a game changer for MFG.com. We look forward to his new leadership and focus.”

Dr. Hollis says, “I am excited to join MFG.com and lead it into the future. I know the space well and all the players. I also know the challenges and opportunities. My role will encompass many activities, but none is more important than helping MFG.com realize its full potential as the premier destination in the manufacturing sector for discovery. For suppliers, discovery connotes the most efficient means to identify new customers. For buyers, discovery means having an effective resource available to find and qualify suppliers based on their capabilities, profile, rankings, quality and more.”

He adds, “Discovery is an important new value proposition for our organization, comprising many working parts and offering untold opportunities to excel. Manufacturing needs a resource that helps forge buyer-supplier relationships, and MFG.com is poised to meet that need in new and exciting ways.”

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 14:57

MFG.com Debuts Redesigned ShopIQ Tool

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MFG.com announced the launch of a new ShopIQ™ tool redesigned specifically to give suppliers the actionable marketing data they need to maximize both platform and business success. The new ShopIQ, launched on September 5, 2017, represents one more element in MFG.com’s ongoing effort to not only support the platform but also offer manufacturers more tools and techniques to assist job wins and customer development.

MFG.com often reminds subscribers that there is a direct correlation between frequent and consistent participation (i.e., logging on and quoting jobs often) and winning business in the MFG.com marketplace. The new ShopIQ demonstrates that relationship in tangible terms with data showing that, on average, the most successful suppliers quote 50 percent more often than their competitors and win awards valued at seven to eight times more. A nonlinear relationship exists, pointing to two other factors at play: (1) more bidding leads to greater buyer familiarity with a manufacturer and (2) more bidding leads to supplier insights on how to better position quotes.

The new ShopIQ offers macro-level data for the trailing twelve-month period for an individual supplier versus the top-performing suppliers. Micro-level data down to the individual RFQ supports these elements. Comparison categories include: the number of logins each month, the number of quotes offered, the annual awarded value and the average quoted price. In addition, the tool identifies the supplier’s quote activity by application and lists the most quoted combinations of process and material along with the relative competitiveness of the supplier’s bids in each category. ShopIQ even offers manufacturers the ability to identify similar process-material combinations going forward by placing a “Create Saved Search” icon alongside it. Suppliers can flag the system to deliver automatic notifications when opportunities matching such saved searches appear on the platform.

Bo Hagler, chief executive officer, MFG.com, says, “Earlier versions of ShopIQ taught us a lot about meaningful market analysis data. We concluded we were not quite hitting the mark, so we went back to the drawing board and revamped the tool entirely. The new ShopIQ doesn’t look anything like the earlier versions. It employs a completely different approach and offers suppliers a different set of metrics.”

Bo continues, “The new ShopIQ gives suppliers the ability to understand precisely where they are most competitive in terms of manufacturing process and material. Many companies will be surprised by the data. Yet, given this knowledge, they can elect to focus on RFQs involving their optimal process-material combination. ShopIQ also allows suppliers to test new marketing strategies and gauge impact by isolating data from the date of strategy initiation to the current date. I can’t think of any other business solution that offers its subscribers a tool that delivers this capability or shows them precisely how they stack up against their peers.”

MFG.com announced the hiring of Allan “AJ” Sweatt as its new vice president of product strategy. In this role, AJ will focus on the firm’s global online manufacturing marketplace and develop enhancements designed to improve member experience, increase their return on investment (ROI) and help them discover new revenue streams.

AJ, who assumed the role on September 7, 2016, brings wide-ranging marketing expertise to the position. Most recently, he served as director of global marketing at TydenBrooks SPG, where he grew overall sales by $15 million over a two-year period. Previously, as a principal of AJ Sweatt Logic & Communications, AJ oversaw the marketing programs of clients ranging from small manufacturing businesses to large multinational OEMs. His background also includes online business model development for Gardner Business Media’s web-based platforms and launching of MMSOnline.com, its flagship website for manufacturing and metal working. Notably, AJ is an MFG.com alumnus, having served as vice president of marketing from 2007 through 2011. During his tenure, he launched a customer retention program that yielded a 26 percent increase in longevity rates.

In speaking of his appointment as vice president of product strategy, AJ Sweatt said, “It is a thrilling time to rejoin the MFG.com team, as many platform enhancements and new offerings are about to launch. I look forward to driving these changes in a way that will positively impact customer experience and satisfaction. But, I am most excited to increase the value MFG.com brings to small and mid-sized manufacturers to help them compete and grow in this rapidly changing, complex industry.”

Bo Hagler, chief executive officer of MFG.com, said, “I am pleased to welcome AJ back to the MFG.com team and look forward to the strategic product development perspective his presence will add. A central tenet of our robust business plan is achieving the full potential of the MFG.com platform – a goal that is limited only by our own creativity and the boundaries of current technology. I anticipate that AJ’s voice will expand our strategic thinking in new ways, and his roadmap for implementation will contemplate both today’s reality and tomorrow’s possibilities.”

MFG.com announced the availability of ShopIQ, a competitive analysis software application that helps suppliers and manufacturers benchmark their bids against quotes from competitors. The tool, which is available to all paid subscribers of MFG.com, eliminates labor-intensive manual data reviews and delivers real-time analyses across dimensions such as manufacturing process, geographical region, material and shop certification. ShopIQ enables suppliers and manufacturers to identify their ideal customer acquisition strategy, better gauge quotes on which to bid and optimal pricing, and safely test and refine new business strategies.

ShopIQ utilizes MFG.com’s database of historical Request for Quote (RFQ) data, allowing shops to retroactively compare their quotes against all competitors as well as the successful bidder.

The tool generates a variety of reports including:

  • Your Quotes versus Your Competitors
  • Your Quotes versus Awarded Price
  • Your Price by Region
  • Your Price Compared to Supplier Distribution by Region
  • Your Shop's Average Price Compared to Supplier Certification
  • Your Shop's Average Quote Price Compared to Supplier Company Size
  • Your Shop's RFQ Statistics


Shops can glean the following information – and more – from these reports:

  • Whether they are under- or overbidding
  • How their pricing stacks up against all competitors in a specific region
  • The regions in which they are most competitive
  • How their pricing compares to quotes from competitors with the same or similar certifications
  • How their pricing compares to quotes from competitors based on company size


Such detailed feedback allows manufacturers and suppliers to zero in on those jobs they are more likely to be awarded and offer bids more reflective of the marketplace. Moreover, shops considering entering new business areas can project their likelihood of success while limiting risk.

Bo Hagler, chief executive officer, MFG.com, said, “ShopIQ is a revolutionary analytics tool that gives small to medium-size manufacturers the same analytical capabilities as ‘the big guys’ without the investment  in staff, hardware, software and other resources. ShopIQ enables shops to take their business to the next level by understanding precisely where they are most competitive today in terms of regions, processes, materials, job types and industry verticals and where to focus their quoting efforts tomorrow. This new, free, value-added service is part of our larger effort to optimize MFG.com for maximum subscriber success.”

For more information about ShopIQ, current subscribers and interested new businesses should contact Michael Vining, national account manager, MFG.com at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

MFG.com, the world’s largest online manufacturing marketplace, announced the hiring of Chris Mitchell as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). As CMO, Chris will spearhead marketing and advertising initiatives designed to help this global marketplace achieve its full potential as the resource of choice among manufacturing buyers and suppliers worldwide.

Mitchell is a seasoned marketer with considerable digital and e-commerce marketing experience, especially in building online applications and marketplaces. He founded or co-founded several internet startups and also served as director of user experience for MFG.com between 2005 and 2007, where he designed all aspects of the MFG.com website and related user and back-office applications.

Chris also founded Chris Mitchell Marketing, a full service marketing agency, as well as Federal Flags, LLC, an online retailer of flagpoles, flags and custom-printed vinyl banners. Both companies still operate today. He holds a B.S. in marketing/international business from the University of South Alabama, where he also minored in French.

In speaking of his role as CMO of MFG.com, Chris said, “My overall goal is to help the MFG.com global manufacturing marketplace achieve its full potential. My short- and long-term efforts will be directed toward integrating the platform with related software applications that will transform the current global marketplace into a complete end-to-end sourcing solution. There are many exciting announcements planned for the next year or so that will extend the reach and usefulness of the site in amazing ways.”

Bo Hagler, chief executive officer, MFG.com, said, “Chris is a talented marketer who comes to MFG.com with a track record of success. He not only develops and implements products and solutions that deliver significant customer value but also knows how to market them successfully. Under his expert guidance, MFG.com will undoubtedly extend and solidify its position as the industry’s premier global manufacturing marketplace that buyers and manufacturers look to first.”

MFG.com enables sourcing professionals and engineers to quickly and easily locate quality manufacturers for CNC machining, injection molding, metal stamping, metal fabrication and many other processes through an easy-to-use, online marketplace. With more than $115 billion in RFQs passing through the marketplace, MFG.com has helped thousands of manufacturers—ranging from small machine shops to large conglomerates—increase sales and grow profits.

For more information, visit: www.mfg.com

MFG.com announced the release of the MFGWatch 2016 Report & Forecast, a unique source of insights into the current status of North American manufacturing and key emerging trends. Based on survey results reflecting the perspective of both sourcing professionals and contract manufacturers, the report stands as a key resource for economists, journalists, industry professionals and others who seek to understand the major issues shaping the state of U.S. manufacturing today.

MFG.com employed two, 13-question online surveys, with one tool designed for sourcing professionals and the other for manufacturers. MFG.com limited the survey pool to companies that had used its Global Contract Manufacturing Marketplace. In total, over 76,000 surveys were sent. The response rate was approximately 1 percent for buyers and 3 percent for manufacturers, respectively. Notably, respondents represented the aerospace, automotive, medical, defense, consumer product, machinery, electronics, energy and communications verticals.

Per MFGWatch 2016, both U.S. buyers and manufacturers see 2016 as a year of growth for their firms. This shared optimism is fueling investments in the workforce, technology and new manufacturing processes to increase competitive advantage. Interestingly, sourcing professionals intend to focus on maintaining or growing their supply base in 2016. Contract manufacturers, on the other hand, see product quality compliance as a pressing concern to be addressed through the certification process.

Bo Hagler, chief executive officer, MFG.com, said, “The MFG.com Marketplace is a microcosm of the manufacturing industry as a whole. Our members’ insights offer readers a realistic and accurate picture of the overall state of manufacturing. We are pleased to share our findings with decision makers both within and outside the industry.”

MFG.com began publishing MFGWatch in 2009, and it quickly became a trusted and oft-quoted resource of economists, journalists and others seeking information on the manufacturing industry. After a brief hiatus, MFG.com is pleased to once again offer this invaluable resource to the public.

MFG.com, the largest online marketplace for the global manufacturing industry, today announced the unveiling of its new Packaging Marketplace developed specifically for the packaging industry.  This $1.3 trillion dollar industry is complex, highly fragmented and ideally suited for an online marketplace.  MFG.com is the global leader in online marketplaces for mechanical parts, textiles & apparel and now packaging.

This online platform gives those who have a packaging need the on-demand tools to automatically discover and collaborate with the right suppliers, securely submit RFQs and receive quotes in an online, easy-to-compare format.  For packaging suppliers, the MFG.com marketplace is the most powerful lead generation tool available, providing a steady stream of prospective customers from a variety of channels.

87% of the Fortune 100 Manufacturing companies and hundreds of thousands of small & medium sized manufacturing businesses already use MFG.com.  With over 200,000 members in 50 countries, expanding into packaging is a natural progression.

“Manufacturing is the world’s largest industry.  Just look around you, everything is manufactured – and most everything that gets manufactured also gets packaged.  The packaging marketplace was a natural extension for MFG.com as we are laser focused on helping product companies get their products to market faster and at the lowest cost.    If you don’t touch one item of packaging in a day, you most likely didn’t eat.  With over 10,000 packaging suppliers in the US alone, it made complete sense for us to increase our reach into this vertical, and bring our years of expertise in making connections to this vital and diverse industry” said Mitch Free, Founder & CEO of MFG.com.

“The MFG.com Packaging Marketplace is definitely a game-changer,” said JoAnn Hines, an industry expert branded the “Packaging Diva”, “There is nothing else out there like this – where you can go to find qualified and rated suppliers based on your exact specifications and receive apples to apples quotes in real-time online.  Sometimes the hardest part of launching a product is in finding the right packaging.  Now it can all be sourced through MFG.com.”

To register for a free acount, visit: www.mfg.com/packaging

MFG.com, the largest global sourcing marketplace for the manufacturing industry today announced the results of their latest two-part MFGWatch Quarterly Survey of North American Manufacturers, covering the second quarter of 2011.

Highlights include:

* Product Manufacturers report supply chain disruptions have jumped to its highest level in a year (48%).

* Hiring at job shops and contract manufacturers rose significantly in the second quarter of 2011 (36% added jobs, up from 27% that predicted they would in Q1).

* Job shops and contract manufacturers are resistant to exporting to foreign markets. Only 15% say they will begin or increase exports, while the remaining 85% state they will maintain, decrease or avoid exporting altogether.

* Top Supply Chain Concerns Among Product Manufacturers: Logistics & shipping costs; volatile fuel/oil prices; finding competent suppliers top the recent survey. Each rose significantly as concerns from the previous quarter.

* Fewer North American product manufacturers report that they’ve reshored production from foreign supply sources.

* Job shops and contract manufacturers see much better business conditions than expected, up 9% from as predicted in Q1’11.

* Operating & shipping costs, access to capital and availability of qualified labor are seen as the top challenges by job shops and contract manufacturers.


Other findings in North American manufacturing from Q2 ’11 include:

* North American product manufacturing companies continue to seek out new suppliers and expand their stables of supply-side resources. In Q2 ’11, 45% of these companies expressed a need for new suppliers at the same levels as they’ve expressed historically (compared to 46% in the previous quarter). The consistency in these responses since the inception of the MFGWatch survey suggests an instability in the supplier markets due to fewer options, logistics costs and economic instability in supplier businesses.

* Product manufacturers put their money where their mouths were in Q2 ’11, by hiring at the same rate as predicted they would in Q1 ’11 (32%). However, for the 7th consecutive quarter these same companies decreased their staffs significantly over expectations from the previous quarter (17% actual vs. 3% predicted). While the gains in employment are encouraging, the consistent inability to accurately predict lay-offs since Q4 ’09 also point to strong, volatility in companies and markets.

* The number of product manufacturers reporting significant supply chain disruptions jumped substantially (to 48%, up from 42% in Q1), matching numbers not seen since Q2 ’10. Interestingly, this significant jump in supply chain disruptions comes at a time as supply chains were said to be stabilizing after the disasters in Japan earlier in the year. As a matter of fact, this figure is the second highest response percentage since MFGWatch began monitoring supply chain disruptions in Q3 ‘09.

* Fewer Canadian and US manufacturers report repatriating production into or closer to North America than at any time since Q1 ’10, significantly off from the 27% that reported examining reshoring in the last quarter. If any response has been most affected by the crises in Japan in early 2011, it may be this one – to shore up supply chains impacted by the Japanese disasters, it is likely that these companies focused attention on recovery based on familiar logistics channels in lieu of any reshoring plans. Still, this downward trend over the last 3 quarters presents a clear cooling down in the reshoring phenomenon entering into the last half of 2011.

* Despite the cooling off of reshoring in Q2, the number of North American product manufacturing companies planning to reshore production in the coming months rose back to the average maintained since Q1 ’10 and offsetting the downward trend established by companies that had actually repatriated work in the past 3 months. These consistent expectations present a startling ‘churn’ in the supply chain management and stability, and present a real opportunity for US and North American job shops and contract manufacturers. However, as the percentage of product manufacturers actually reshoring production to North America continues to fall each quarter it is still uncertain whether returning production is a trend gaining momentum or something less.

* Regardless of market location, a substantial number of North American product manufacturing companies are adopting strategies to produce within or closer to the markets in which they sell. With over a third of manufacturers pursuing this strategy (35%), this represents an important acceptance of a shifting global manufacturing environment based on a lower carbon footprint, reduced logistics costs, improved market response, and more manageable production and supply chains.

* Direct costs continue to dominate the concerns of North American product manufacturing professionals, with logistics (47%) and fuel costs (32%) at top-of-mind. But supplier availability (45%) and stability (18%) have risen significantly as major perceived risks to supply chain stability. Obviously, the impact of Japan has elevated these concerns – results from upcoming surveys will determine if this appreciation is trending or temporary.

* North American product manufacturers appear to be hedging their bets in regard to near-term investments and expansion. While the overall majority of manufacturers have intentions to invest, those investments appear to focus more on technology and less on jobs/labor. And with a full 35% saying they’re standing pat, they also appear to be taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach as global economic uncertainties continue.

* North American job shops and contract manufacturers have reported significant improvements in business conditions. While the latest responses show a slight drop (-3%) from the previous quarter, the 43% reporting positive business improvements maintains levels over 40% for the fifth straight quarter.

* In the most encouraging and surprising response in this MFGWatch survey, job shops and contract manufacturers report a level of hiring not seen since the survey was launched in Q3 ’09. The 36% reporting they had increased staff also rebounds from the drop shown in the last quarter, when that number slipped from the previous high of 31% in Q4 ’10.

* Interestingly, the number of supplier manufacturers indicating heightened activity from product manufacturers in distress stayed virtually the same from last quarter, despite strong fluctuations between quarters for product manufacturers suffering supply chain disruptions. Still, the consistent reporting from one-third of suppliers receiving solicitations from buyers under duress and seeking to overcome supply chain disruptions matches the strong business conditions reported by North American shops and plants.

* While the number of suppliers reporting overall increased inquiries for business dropped to 43% (from 52% in the last quarter), nearly 80% in total say that inquiries rose or stayed the same in Q2 ’11 – indicating a welcome level of stability in sector that needs just that to continue its recovery.

* By large margins, job shops and contract manufacturers have expressed a reluctance to export or enter the global manufacturing ecosystem. Over half (52%) say they are not considering exporting products to other markets. And of those remaining, few are looking to expansion or growth into foreign markets. This lack of activity underlines the need to promote and encourage the opportunities exporting offers to smaller North American manufacturers, particularly in the face of record trade deficits.

* Despite indicating strong performance in hiring and overall business conditions in Q2, job shops and contract manufacturing companies in North America are showing a relatively strong reluctance to invest in the coming months. The likely cause of these contradictions is near-term economic instability and uncertainty.

“Small and mid-sized manufacturing in North America continues to do what it does best – innovate and create jobs,” said Mitch Free, founder and CEO of MFG.com. “Improved hiring numbers and improving business conditions go hand in hand. Add to this the obvious difficulties buying and sourcing companies are finding in managing extended, complex supply chains, and conditions are right for these bedrock manufacturing suppliers to lead the recovery. But there’s risk in this recovery – looming expansion of regulation, operating costs and the specter of rising taxes could impede this growth, and manufacturers are rightly reluctant to go ‘all in’ with regards to investments in technology and employment.”

The latest MFGWatch survey represents responses from Supply-side manufacturers, Buy-side OEMs and sourcing professionals throughout North America. Respondents represent an array of industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial equipment, consumer products and textiles.


MFGWatch Survey of European Manufacturers


MFG.com has conducted its second MFGWatch survey of buyer and supplier manufacturers in Europe for the second quarter of 2011. Highlights include:

* European supply-side manufacturers saw a significant contraction of business activity in Q2 ’11, with 44% saying business conditions grew (down from 57% in Q1 ’11)

* For the second quarter in a row, a remarkable 52% of buy-side manufacturers in Europe experienced significant supply chain disruptions in Q2 ‘11

* Similarly, nearly half (49%) of European supply-side manufacturers reported they’ve received queries or actual work from companies under duress from supply chain disruptions, up 19% from Q1 ‘11

* Employment among European manufacturers was mixed in Q2 ’11. Nearly 47% of supply-side manufacturers added staff in Q2 ’11, up 7% from the previous quarter. However, fewer sourcing manufacturers added staff during the same timeframe (31.4%, down from 36% in Q1 ’11)

* For the second straight quarter, buyers see Logistics & Shipping Costs (20.8%), Product Quality Compliance (16.5%) and Availability of Competent Suppliers (12%) as the 3 greatest risks to their supply chain strategies

* Fewer buy-side manufacturers returned production closer to Europe from a low cost country, with only 12.6% reporting such activity (down from 14% in Q1). However, 34.2% say they are examining moving or establishing production closer to or within markets of consumption, up over 3% from the previous quarter

* Approximately 70% of both European buy-side & supply-side manufacturers report they intend to invest in technology, hiring of new staff, or a combination of both in Q3 ‘11


To download a copy of MFGWatch report, visit: www.mfg.com/en/mfgwatch

MFG.com, the largest global sourcing marketplace for the manufacturing industry today announced the results of their latest two-part MFGWatch survey.  Job growth amongst small manufacturers in North America exploded to higher rates than previously seen in any MFGWatch survey cycle, and more small supplier manufacturing businesses indicate improved business conditions in Q4 ’10. These responses indicate meaningful expansion in the space closing out 2010, and manufacturers see strong growth for 2011.


Other findings in North American manufacturing from Q4 ’11 include:

* More North American Buyers indicated that they added to their stable of suppliers in Q4 ’10, the most in 3 quarters (since Q1 ’10). However, a slight pall resides over these numbers as Buyers failed to fulfill their expectations to add suppliers as previously expressed for the fifth straight quarter. Still, the improved actualization of Supplier engagement is seen as good news for small manufacturers and the regional economy in general as opportunities for new business improve.

* Hiring among North American Buyers remained virtually flat in Q4 ’10, but with positive signs for the coming months. While respondents report a 1% increase in hiring over Q3 ’10 (30% and 29%, respectively), they met or exceeded anticipated hiring predictions from the previous quarter by 1%. Q4 ’10 is the second straight quarter that Buyers beat the previous quarters projections for job growth within their companies.

* The number of Buyers reporting significant supply chain disruptions fell 3% from the previous quarter (37% and 40%, respectively), to the same levels as reported in the first MFGWatch Survey (Q3 ’09). This number represents the second straight quarter where reports of disruptions have fallen, since a high of 51% reported in Q2 ’10. This downward trend suggests a stabilization of supply chains managed in and from North America, and likely indicate improved controls over suppliers and logistics channels. However, for the fifth straight quarter well over one-third of North American sourcing manufacturers report experiencing significant supply chain disruptions – a startlingly consistent number that suggests important costs among industrial companies managing extended supply chains.

* A quarter (25%) of North American Buyers report that their companies have returned work to North America from a low-cost production country, topping the previous record of 21% (Q2 ’10), and up significantly from the previous quarter (19%). This activity suggests the emergence of repatriating work to North America from a trickle to a trend. Activity in the coming quarters will confirm this, but small North American manufacturers should also see these latest figures as encouraging for future opportunities from localized prospects in the region.

* Despite a lack of optimism expressed in the previous quarter’s projections, 44% of small manufacturers report improved business conditions in Q4 ’10 (over 28% that predicted growth in the last MFG Watch survey). The 44% reporting improved business conditions not only jumped 4% over those reporting growth in Q3 ’10 - that figure represents the most growth in the space since Q3 ’09. Further, 34% of small manufacturers anticipate improved business conditions in Q1 ’11, the highest percentage of optimism seen since the MFG Watch survey cycles began in Q3 ’09.

* In the single most encouraging category in Q4 ‘10’s MFGWatch survey, North American Suppliers reporting they had added jobs rose a whopping 5% to 31%, up from 26% in Q3 ’10 and significantly higher than the 19% that predicted they would add jobs in the last quarter. Adding to the optimistic tone, 30% of small manufacturers expect to add jobs in Q1 ’11, the highest level of optimism stated since Q3 ‘09. And rounding out the positive employment reports from small manufacturers, the smallest percentage reported job contraction (16%) than ever noted in an MFGWatch survey.

* For the fourth consecutive quarter, just about one-third (32%) of Buyers expect to explore moving production closer to North America from a low-cost sourcing destination. This consistency is particularly noteworthy, in that the numbers of Buyers that are actually moving work closer to North America are trending upward & nearly matching those predicting to do so in the previous quarter.

* The Availability of Competent Suppliers narrowly beat out Logistics & Shipping Costs by only a single vote as Buyers identified the greatest threats to their supply chains. However, when volatile fuel costs (coming in third) are factored in, Logistics issues are far and away the biggest headache for Buyers, purchasers and spend management. These factors, along with Product Quality issues, paint a picture of extended supply chain management taking its toll on Buyers to bring products to market under cost and to customer expectations.

“It’s been a long, rough ride, but it looks like manufacturing in North America is turning the corner,” said Mitch Free, founder and CEO of MFG.com. “While larger sourcing manufacturers in the region have seen some growth spurts over the past 6 months, small and midsized manufacturers say they’re seeing growth and increased activity. And they’re hiring now – which is the most encouraging of all benchmarks. These small companies account for the majority of jobs in this sector, and this where expansion has been sorely lacking. Now it’s time for us to seize on these opportunities and sustain this momentum.”

The latest MFGWatch survey represents responses from 852 Supply-side manufacturers, Buy-side OEMs and sourcing professionals throughout North America. Respondents represent an array of industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial equipment, consumer products and textiles.

About MFG.com

MFG.com is the largest global sourcing marketplace for the manufacturing industry. MFG.com's platform enables companies to intelligently connect, source, collaborate and perform due diligence with transparency and intellectual property protection. It supports virtually all manufacturing processes including Machining, Injection Molding, Fabrication, Stamping, Casting, Assembly, Molding and Industrial Components, is in seven major languages, more than 50 currencies and has more than 200,000 members on five continents. MFG.com is based in Atlanta and has offices in Shanghai, Geneva, and Paris. For more information: www.MFG.com.

About MFGWatch

MFG.com has recast its MFGWatch survey as a quarterly snapshot of the North American manufacturing ecosystem. MFGWatch is based on separate but correlative input from the online marketplace’s membership of manufacturing Buyers and their suppliers. For graphics and a complete report for downloading, visit www.MFG.com/en/mfgwatch

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