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Challenges and Opportunities for Canadian Manufacturers

January 2, 2018

The report highlights the top results from a national survey, conducted by RK Insights, a leading global full-service market research firm, of 495 Canadian manufacturing owners and senior executives. Results from the study were tabulated and discussed at a live industry roundtable that consisted of 14 industry subject matter experts including analysts, manufacturers and service providers, on October 17th, 2017.

Several key findings from the 2018 report include:

  • 44% of senior company executives are optimistic about the coming year, although most (50%) qualify their optimism with caution.
  • American protectionism is worrying 92% of executives, followed by rising global protectionism (90%), US President Donald Trump’s impact on nation-to-nation relationships (88%) and the NAFTA renegotiation (88%).
  • More than half of the senior executives are expecting orders and sales to increase (averaging 12% and 13%); but costs will also increase by 6%. Pricing will stay the same for 48% but 43% expect increases of 5%. Thirty-nine per cent see profits rising 8%.
  • Controlling costs tops the list of challenges for 66% of respondents, followed by pressures on prices (53%) and improving productivity (49%), which moved up from sixth spot in the 2017 survey results.
  • Optimism is evident by their top choices for investment over the next three years: 79% will spend on machinery, equipment and technology, and 68% will invest in training.
  • Only 36% make use of automatic data access, analysis and review to measure and monitor productivity; 46% do it manually; 18% don’t measure; and 59% do not plan on a digital production transformation involving Industry 4.0 and the IIoT over the next 12 months.
  • The top three most used advanced technologies are CAD/CAE/CAM (60%), custom manufacturing (57%) and automation (42%).
  • More than half of the executives (54%) see innovation as very important to their business strategies with the most focus on products (66%), processes (65%) and technologies (51%).

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