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LBMC and Leading Edge Alliance Release 3rd Annual Manufacturing Survey Report

01/22/2019

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U.S. Manufacturers are Optimistic Despite Challenges, Expecting Revenue Growth in 2019 with Focus on Improving Profitability and Growing Sales

LBMC, a top 50 firm in the nation and one of the Southeast’s largest accounting and business consulting firms, today released findings of the third annual LBMC/LEA 2019 National Manufacturing Survey Report. The report found manufacturers expressed significant optimism for overcoming hurdles, while focusing priorities on growing sales, improving profitability and addressing workforce shortages.

More than 350 manufacturing executives participated in the survey, which includes respondents who produce industrial/machining, transportation/automotive; construction; food and beverage; and other products.

 “Looking ahead, manufacturers expect raw materials, labor costs, lack of available talent, and competition to be significant hurdles in 2019,” said John Mark McDougal, LBMC Manufacturing Industry Leader.

“The tariffs implemented by President Trump provide productivity challenges; however, an increase in spending on big data and business intelligence yield innovative technology for minimizing productivity concerns,” he continued. “The challenge of gaining a competitive advantage remains critically important. We believe the resilience and success our manufacturing clients have created for themselves will help alleviate the major concerns for 2019.”

Highlights from 2019 Survey Results

  • 81% of manufacturers believe their revenue will increase in 2019, with 50% eyeing organic growth in the U.S. as their primary opportunity to increase sales.
  • Manufacturers are more optimistic about the regional and national economy than the global economy, yet notably, the optimism rating for all three has increased by more than 12 points over the last two years. 
  • Manufacturers’ top three priorities are growing sales, improving profitability, and addressing workforce shortage.
  • More than 60% of manufacturers expect their sector to expand in 2019. Optimism is highest among manufacturers within the energy sector, with 88% being optimistic.
  • As in past years, labor remains a significant challenge. More than half of survey participants cited the labor shortage as the greatest risk or barrier to growth, and more than half of manufacturers expect to increase hiring.
  • Respondents plan to utilize technology to reduce risks and build a competitive advantage; 76% said that they will investigate/prioritize cybersecurity in 2019, and 43% will prioritize Big Data/ERP/IoT.

Apprehension about labor costs and increased pricing of raw materials may also present a challenge. Tax reform implications will bring new changes, so there will be a stronger need for dramatically different tax planning and compliance as well. Through all the potential changes, working with a team of industry-experienced advisors to provide insight and answers continues to be important.

About LBMC

LBMC is a Top 50 firm in the country and the largest professional service solutions provider based in Tennessee, serving more than 8,000 clients with diverse needs across a spectrum of industries. Today, we've become industry leaders in financial, human resources, technology, information security, and wealth advisory services. For more information about LBMC and its Family of Companies, visit www.lbmc.com.

About LEA

Founded in 1999, LEA Global/The Leading Edge Alliance is the second largest international association in the world, creating a high-quality alliance of 220 independently owned accounting and consulting firms focused on accounting, financial, and business advisory services. LEA Global firms operate from 620 offices in 110 countries, giving clients of LEA Global firms access to the knowledge, skills, and experience of 2,313 partners and 21,355 staff members.