Top Challenges Faced By Small And Medium-Sized Manufacturers

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How much does your manufacturing company know about NIST MEP? And much does NIST MEP seem to know about you? Recently, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) asked small-to-medium manufacturers to predict their top three challenges over the next three years. Do the answers that these companies provided reflect what challenges you?
In Only You Can Control Your Future, a recent entry in the Manufacturing Innovation Blog, author Ken Voytek summarized the results of the NIST MEP’s annual survey. For 69.9% of small-to-medium manufacturers, cost reduction remained a top three challenge in FY 2015. That’s a 2 point drop since FY 2009, the first year for which data was collected. Other leading challenges saw more significant changes, however.

Concerns About Hiring and Growth

For example, 44.7% of survey respondents cited employee recruitment as a top three challenge in FY 2015. That’s a 25.6 point increase since FY 2009 – and more proof that U.S. manufacturers are concerned about the so-called skills gap. According to some estimates, as many as two million U.S. manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2025.
The manufacturers that NIST MEP surveyed are concerned about business growth, too. At 59.2%, growth was the second-most commonly cited challenge in FY 2015. That’s a 6.4 point increase since FY 2009, and the greatest increase in any area other than employee recruitment. If your company is concerned about growth, are you concerned about employee recruitment, too?
Image Credit: © ra2 studio/Dollar Photo Club


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