Market Shifts and New Technology Spell Change for Manufacturers

External market shifts and technological changes are reshaping the competitive landscape for manufacturing firms, ushering in a new era of manufacturing and economic opportunity.

Which three market trends will have the greatest impact over the next three years?

  • Economic realignment due to recessionary forces in the developed world, and the rise of emerging economies
  • Technology change driven by trends like the internet of things, big data, mobile and social computing, and cloud
  • Talent challenges as the developed world sees a skills gap and the emerging world lacks sufficient management depth

These top three market trends emerge from a groundbreaking new global study of 300 manufacturing executives conducted by Oxford Economics and PTC.

The global online survey looks at manufacturing firms across many industries—including automotive, industrial equipment, high-tech, and medical devices—and geographies—including the United States, Europe and Asia. Half of all respondent’s firms generate greater than $1.25bn in revenue.

Survey respondents were split between various business functions—including engineering, service, supply chain, manufacturing, and IT—and were a mixture of C-Level executives and their direct reports. Quantitative research was supplemented with in-depth interviews with leading manufacturers like John Deere, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Ingersoll Rand, and Emerson.

What manufacturers said varied widely according to size, industry, region, and job function. For instance, seventy-three percent of C-Level executives see a significant impact from technology on their firms’ opportunities and challenges, while only slightly more than half (52 percent) of their direct reports feel the same way.

Not surprisingly, as market and technological forces upend many time-honored assumptions about manufacturing, strategic transformation has become a necessity. Over two-thirds (68 percent) of manufacturing firms are expected to undergo major business transformation over the next three years, according to the study. Manufacturers will take a variety of approaches to transform their businesses, and adopt multiple strategies in response to market shifts.

The nuances of these findings across industries, geographies, company size, and business functions will be detailed in the coming report: Manufacturing Transformation.

The findings of the study will first be presented in June at PTC Live Global 2013 in Anaheim, California. The full report will be available for download this summer.

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