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Manufacturing business growth has continued to rise over the past year, but at a much slower rate than the previous 12 months. Despite challenging market conditions and the difficulty in recruiting and retaining skilled staff, there has been a marginal one percent rise in the number of businesses reporting growth. These findings are survey results unveiled today from the annual Global Growth Index by Epicor Software Corporation—a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth.

For those companies who have experienced growth, maintaining it hasn’t been easy over the past year. Fifty-three percent admit it has been challenging, whilst a fifth (23 percent) have found it stressful. Thirty-five percent of businesses cite market conditions as having a negative impact on growth, and 32 percent feel that staff skills and experience have also played a detrimental part in maintaining growth.

Political volatility and uncertainty also continue to be a common cause for concern across the globe. Fifty-five percent of respondents cited the China-US trade dispute as likely to have a negative impact on future business growth. A quarter of businesses (26 percent) stated that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is also still a big threat.

“The manufacturing industry plays an integral role in our global economy and people forget that it is responsible for delivering important products we use every day,” said Epicor CEO, Steve Murphy. “As such, the health of the manufacturing industry is something we should all be concerned about. While it’s good news to see that growth in this industry is still taking place, we need to keep a close eye on what factors are contributing to this growth and what factors are causing a lag. The information in the Global Growth Index empowers businesses so they can make strategic plans that will best position them for the future.”

The table below shows the Global Growth Index results for 2019 across six key indicators, compared with figures from 2018 and 2017. Percentages represent the median average number of businesses that have reported growth in each of the key growth metrics.

 

Growth performance indicator % reporting growth
2017 2018 2019
Sales/turnover 65 70 65
Profits 64 68 67
Product range 61 65 63
Exports and overseas sales 49 50 52
Workforce/headcount 48 48 54
Geographic coverage 51 49 53
Average % recorded across all six attributes 56 58 59
Index (year one=base 100) 100.0 103.7 104.7

 

“Investing in the right technology, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, can help businesses better plan for change by improving visibility and insights into current operational workflows. This can help alleviate stress and enable people to deal with challenges more effectively, by providing the flexibility, agility, and adaptability needed to respond to market conditions and customer demands. Technology can also have a positive influence on other factors including work ethic and staff recruitment and retention,” concluded Reid Paquin, research director, IDC.

 

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