Manufacturing companies are hoping to continue their revenue growth in 2019 by focusing on three key areas.
Deloitte has released the results of its annual manufacturing industry outlook report, which finds that the optimism from 2017 and 2018 will continue this year.
With promises of tax reform, decreased federal regulations and looser trade agreements, manufacturers have seen gradual revenue growth throughout U.S. markets, with the trend projected to continue into 2019.
According to the Deloitte report, 56 percent of respondents expect business will continue to increase throughout the year. And while manufacturing companies are striving to control costs and cut back on unnecessary expenses, many are increasing their marketing budgets, including for technology, to invest in the future.
So where is the additional money going? Manufacturing companies are investing profits back into new products, expanding markets and breaking into new territories.
Here are the top three priorities for manufacturing companies in 2019:
Attracting and retaining talent. Not since the end of the Great Depression has the manufacturing industry seen a talent shortage like we’re experiencing now. Job openings have been growing at double-digit rates since mid-2017, and are nearing the historical peak recorded in 2001. In order to fill positions and retain employees, manufacturers need to highlight corporate social responsibility (CSR), innovative technologies and their brands’ unique culture. Taking advantage of internship programs and non-traditional talent sourcing can transform open positions into larger target pools.
Seeking new markets for products and services. Manufacturing companies are trying to think outside the box when it comes to expanding markets. Sixty-four percent of the manufacturers surveyed are looking for increased market share in their existing markets. How do they expect this to happen? Through innovation. Brands are looking to stay ahead of industry trends and strengthen customer experience. When a brand is able to introduce a new technology that competitors have yet to offer, consumers wishing to own that technology will buy it. Many will become loyal customers, adding to the brand’s market share.
Going Digital. Manufacturers have spent the past few years making digital advancements, from the factory floor and operational functions to content and digital marketing. This year will solidify the digital movement in manufacturing.
New research shows that almost half of manufacturers are using at least one form of automation in their business, with plans to increase its use. By implementing automation practices, manufacturers have the opportunity to increase productivity, strengthen their digital strategy, and make adjustments to current practices.
Automation isn’t the only digital advancement. More and more manufacturers are using social media platforms to connect and stay engaged with their customers. Brands can use this type of engagement as a tool to focus on the kinds of products, features and solutions customers are looking for. Though product development can be expensive and risky, by incorporating customers into the conversation, manufacturing companies minimize that risk.
Despite experiencing growth over the past two years, manufacturers continue to face challenges. In response, they’re adjusting priorities and focusing on these three areas of action. Their goal is to continue growing the business and, ultimately, sales.
Katie Vazeos is a marketing strategist with Fronetics.