Manufacturers Indicate Increased Optimism for 2018 According to National Manufacturing Outlook Survey

CPAs & Advisors

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Yeo & Yeo CPAs & Business Consultants is pleased to jointly release the results of the second annual 2018 Leading Edge Alliance (LEA Global) National Manufacturing Outlook Survey.

The survey report contains the expectations and opinions of 450 manufacturing executives, especially those from the Midwest, who produce a wide variety of products including machining/industrial, automotive/transportation, construction, food and beverage, and other products.

Results from the survey include:

  • 81% of manufacturers expect their revenue to grow in 2018; only 3% expect their revenue to decrease.
  • Manufacturers are more optimistic about the regional/local economy and the national economy than the global economy.
  • The top priority for 70% of manufacturers in 2018 is growing sales. Almost three-fourths of manufacturers expect to increase sales through organic growth within the U.S., while 44% expect to grow by developing new products or services.
  • More than half (55%) of manufacturers indicated that labor will be the greatest barrier to growth. Strategies to attract and retain talent will include increasing compensation packages and conducting internal training and apprenticeships.
  • Most manufacturers expect to invest 1%-5% of revenue in R&D during 2018.
  • Cybersecurity, by far, is the top technology focus for manufacturers. Beyond cybersecurity, almost 50% of manufacturers are also prioritizing predictive business analytics/big data and erp solution.
  • More manufacturers are exploring mergers/sales and acquisitions in 2018.

The good news is that manufacturers have a positive outlook about their own performance and that of the industry and economy as a whole in 2018. However, some hurdles may become more significant. Increased hiring will result in increased wage costs, technology development will not slow in the coming year, and tax reform will bring the need for different tax planning.

Manufacturing owners and managers should have ongoing conversations with all of their advisors, including their accounting and tax provider, about how to overcome these challenges and achieve their business goals.

“We understand the challenges facing the manufacturing industry, and we are committed to helping companies improve their operations and achieve growth. Especially now – when manufacturers need to find the best strategy to take advantage of tax reform – having a team of industry-experienced advisors providing manufacturers insight and answers is critically important,” says Yeo & Yeo Principal and Manufacturing Services Group leader Amy Buben.

Read the entire survey report, 2018 National Manufacturing Outlook and Insights – Planning for Potential and Seizing Opportunity, for in-depth information about the challenges the respondents face, the key strategies that the best-run manufacturers believe will be most effective, and the outlook for 2018.

For more information, please contact Amy Buben, CPA, CFE, at or call her at 989.793.9830.


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