It’s that time of year again when Gear Technology magazine polls manufacturers to gauge the overall health and issues within the industry.

The respondents are mainly from North America but do include a good representative sample from the rest of the world.

The link to the full report is included below – but we thought we would provide some of the headline figures to glance over.

Overall, the figures for this year are broadly in line with last year – with one or two notable exceptions.
The expected level of employment over the next 12 months is exactly the same as last year at 48.7 % of respondents expecting it to increase.

64.2% had reported production increases against 62.7% last year.

Sales volumes were also broadly in line; with 70.8% this year compared to 70.2% last year.
Capital spending is also expected to rise in 52.8% of responder locations this year – against 56.8% last year.

However, it is expectations for sales volumes that are down with 55.7% expecting them to rise this year compared to 72.1% last year. This probably also explains the decline in optimism and the ability to compete in the next 5 years which is down from 80.8% last year to 71.7% this year.

It seems to be a number of issues causing concern. Rising costs of labour, materials and energy due to inflation. Supply chain difficulties and the problems of acquiring skilled labour are not going away.

Another issue that came up was that while the business model of lower production and higher price point was working for the motor manufacturers, it wasn’t working for their suppliers.

It must be emphasised that this is just a snapshot and may not be indicative of the entire industry but it does provide some cause for reflection.

Please find the full results and greater number of comments and analysis here.