MLR

Manufacturers expect to increase hiring, nearsourcing

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Most small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers expect revenues to increase in 2013, hiring to expand and more overseas outsourcing to be brought back to North American shores.

American flag made of gears

The semi-annual Group Outlook Survey by the buying consortium Prime Advantage found that 68 percent of manufacturers surveyed expect their revenues to increase this year, and 43 percent plan to hire more employees. Another 50 percent said they will maintain current employment levels.

New product launches are the primary reason for the expected revenue increases. Of the nearly 500 manufacturers responding to the survey, 87 percent said they expect capital expenditures to grow or remain constant in 2013, and 39 percent plan to spend more in 2013.

During the past year, one in five companies has brought international sourcing closer to the United States, with 70 percent saying they have increased material and service purchases from American companies. Mexico is the second choice for nearsourcing, the choice of 28 percent of manufacturers responding.

The benefits of nearsourcing cited by respondents include shorter lead times, lower inventories, better supply chain control and overall better communication.

The main concern of manufacturers surveyed for the upcoming year is the cost of raw materials. More than 90 percent included raw materials cost in their top three concerns, and 42 percent said it was their No. 1 worry. But there was less concern about raw material costs in this survey than in the previous two.

The cost of health care was the second cost pressure concern with 57 percent of respondents including it in the top three. The cost of base materials was in third place, although it was cited by fewer respondents than in previous years.

Manufacturing executives of companies with annual revenues ranging between $10 million and $4 billion responded to the survey from a cross-section of more than 25 industries.