Contract manufacturing continues to grow, manufacturing business steadies

August 2, 2012

As U.S. manufacturing appears to have steadied from a growth spurt in 2011, contract manufacturing continues a two-year trend of positive growth.

In the recent third annual Design-2-Part (D2P) Manufacturing Trends Survey, 42 percent of U.S. OEMs indicated that they expect to have more outsourcing projects and purchases in the next year than they had in the past 12 months. The response was a 3 percent increase over the previous year and an 11 percent increase from the 2010 survey.

On the other hand, responders indicated a less positive trend for their business in general, as only 48 percent said that business has grown in the past 12 months, compared to 51 percent in 2011.

Quality continues to be the No. 1 factor for measuring manufacturing outsourcing vendors, chosen by 49 percent of respondents, followed by product cost at 39 percent, delivery at 9 percent, and technical support at 3 percent.

Forty-two percent of respondents said they outsource the majority of their products to local vendors up to 100 miles away, followed by regional vendors up to 250 miles away (20 percent), overseas/international vendors (20 percent), and national vendors (19 percent).

The annual survey was sent in June to manufacturing engineers and purchasing personnel who attended one of the 11 D2P Shows in the last year. The survey yielded 436 responses from a fairly even cross section across all major manufacturing industries.

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