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About two-thirds of respondents to a recent global manufacturing survey from KPMG International shows that not only are manufacturers continuing to focus on efficiencies, they are refocusing their businesses on core offerings. And more than 50 percent of the manufacturers surveyed say they are eliminating unprofitable product lines and markets.
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But beyond these actions – typical in a slow-growth environment – many also say they are once again focusing on investing in innovation and value-added services to drive growth.
Forty-four percent of U.S. executives and 36 percent of global executives said their companies will increase investment in innovation and research and development. The majority of global respondents (72 percent) believe that 'transformational innovation' is either in full swing or will be so in 12-24 months, with U.S. respondents leading in the view (84 percent) that the innovation wave is or will be well under way within the period.
A notable finding for distributors? The survey found that more than 60 percent of respondents globally said they want to work with suppliers, customers and partner companies to design and launch products that fit their target markets.
"Customer and supplier collaboration in the earliest stages of product development allows for cost and risk sharing and lets manufacturers focus on what they do best by leveraging the expertise of external partners, accelerating speed to market," said Jeff Dobbs, KPMG's global head of Diversified Industrials and a partner in the U.S. firm.
KPMG International’s 2012 Global Manufacturing Outlook found that three-fourths of senior executives surveyed globally are optimistic about their business outlook over the next 12-24 months. The U.S. is expected to lead the growth.