Posted By Paul Tate, July 10, 2013 at 5:40 AM, in Category: The Adaptive Organization
One of the most instructive ways of measuring the prevailing mood of the manufacturing sector is to look at the investments companies are making in new manufacturing technologies.
Such investments help to indicate how manufacturers are viewing the future, and whether they are prepared to spend their hard earned cash on new assets and tools to help boost capacity, productivity and operational expansion.
The good news for the U.S. industrial sector is that orders for new manufacturing technologies rose to $430.06 million in May this year – up by a solid 13.6 percent from the previous month, according to the latest figurers from the U.S. Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT).
“New technologies are creating change in automotive production, while many aerospace manufacturers are making shifts within their supply chains,” commented Patrick W. McGibbon, AMT’s vice president of Industry Intelligence.
“Contract machining is also seeing growth thanks to the cost advantages of manufacturing within the U.S.,” he added. “Meanwhile, foreign direct investment within the U.S. continues to increase, and all of these factors are contributing to new capital investment within manufacturing.”
U.S. areas especially active with new technology investments May included the North Central-East region (up 36 percent) and the Southeast region (up 23.7 percent).
There’s still a way to go to get back to previous technology investment levels however. Residual fiscal cliff concerns earlier in the year seem to have slowed spending in the first few months. Year to date, U.S. manufacturing technology spend is still trailing around 7 percent behind 2012 so far.
But the latest figures suggest that trend is now on the turn as manufacturers begin to open up the purse strings in an effort to embrace new production approaches and drive future growth.
What are your technology investment intentions for the next six months? Are you looking to increase spending to help fuel growth?
* Manufacturing Outlook: Growth Or Contraction Ahead?
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Written by Paul Tate
Paul Tate is Research Director and Executive Editor with Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Board of Governors, the Council's annual Critical Issues Agenda, and the Manufacturing Leadership Research Panel. Follow us on Twitter: @MfgExecutive