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Survey Finds Indiana's Manufacturing Sector Recovering and Moving Forward

Posted 12:00 AM by
The certified public accounting firm of Katz, Sapper & Miller LLP today released the results of their annual Indiana manufacturing survey. This study of small- to medium-size manufacturing companies was commissioned by Katz, Sapper & Miller and developed in partnership with Indiana University's Kelley School of Business - Indianapolis, Conexus Indiana, and the Indiana Manufacturers Association.

The results from this year’s survey, 2011 Indiana Manufacturing Survey: Performance, Practice and Strategy, indicate that Hoosier manufacturers are strong and getting stronger.

“This study has some of the most encouraging findings we've seen in years,” said Scott Brown, partner-in-charge of Katz, Sapper & Miller’s Manufacturing and Distribution Services Group. “It suggests that many Indiana manufacturers are once again investing in their businesses and holding their own against the competition. Such investments and improvements are the key to Hoosier manufacturers remaining successful."

Other key findings reveal:
  • A majority of Indiana's manufacturers reported "healthy" or "stable" financial performance over the past two years. Equally encouraging, the waves of cost-cutting in recent years by manufacturers now appear to be rapidly receding, with less than 25 percent of survey respondents reporting cost-cutting as their strategy for future financial success. Additionally, 60 percent of Hoosier manufacturers reported that they are now increasing investments across the business and in areas essential for revenue growth.
  • When asked about future financial priorities, the top three goals of Indiana manufacturers are: 1) improving cash flow and working capital management; 2) improving short- and long-term operational efficiencies; and 3) accessing credit for working capital. All of these strategies are designed to not only improve financial health but also help ensure survival in today's demanding business environment.
  • In terms of job growth for 2011 and beyond, 11 percent of survey respondents plan to open new manufacturing facilities in the next two years. Of those respondents, all favored Indiana over other locations due to Indiana's workforce, central U.S. location and transportation network. Just as encouraging, 13 percent of respondents reported that they anticipate relocating or "onshoring" some manufacturing back to America in the next several years. Chief among those reasons cited were obtaining better control over production, closer proximity to major customers and markets, and reduced total "landed" costs.
The survey also revealed specific business, manufacturing and supply-chain strategies for manufacturing to be competitive. First, superior product design and customer service are keys to new growth. Second, smart manufacturing and process improvements lead to financial success. Third, supply chain integration is linked to better customer service and inventory control. Together, these findings suggest that the roadmap for successful manufacturing consist of:
  • Crafting a business strategy that features superior design and delivery for new products as well as outstanding customer service for more mature goods.
  • Picking a path in terms of manufacturing improvement. The strongest strategies are those featuring either advanced smart manufacturing technologies or process improvements (or both).
  • Leveraging upstream suppliers and downstream customers in the supply chain. Since no manufacturing company operates in a vacuum, manufacturers working together with their customers, suppliers and transportation providers reported significantly better performance versus those that do not.
To view the complete results of the 2011 Indiana Manufacturing Survey: Performance, Practice and Strategy, click here.


About Katz, Sapper & Miller
As one of the top 65 CPA firms in the nation, Katz, Sapper & Miller has earned a reputation as a leader in the areas of accounting, tax and consulting services. Founded in 1942, the firm has more than 250 employees and is located in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Katz, Sapper & Miller was named one of the “Best of the Best” accounting firms in the nation by INSIDE Public Accounting magazine and has been recognized by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce as one of the “Best Places to Work in Indiana” for six consecutive years. The firm is an independent member of Nexia International, a leading global organization of independent accounting and consulting firms.
About the Kelley School of Business - Indianapolis
The IU Kelley School of Business has been a leader in American business education for more than 80 years. With an enrollment of more than 4,800 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students across two campuses, it is among the premier business schools in the country. Kelley’s Indianapolis campus, based at IUPUI, is home to the school’s Evening MBA, Master of Science in Accounting, and Master of Science in Taxation programs and a full-time undergraduate program. The part-time Evening MBA program recently was ranked 11th in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
Launched by the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Conexus Indiana is the state's advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, dedicated to making Indiana a global leader.  Conexus is focused on strategic priorities like workforce development, creating new industry partnerships and promoting Indiana's advantages in manufacturing and logistics.
Formed in 1901, the Indiana Manufacturers Association is the second oldest manufacturers association in the country and the only trade association in Indiana that exclusively focuses on manufacturing. The Indiana Manufacturers Association is dedicated to advocating for a business climate that creates, protects, and promotes quality manufacturing jobs in Indiana. Indiana is one of the top manufacturing states in America in the wealth and jobs created, sustained, and supported.  More than 50 percent of all employment in Indiana has some connection to manufacturing.

The staff of the Indiana Manufacturers Association has more than 160 years of combined governmental affairs experience and is recognized as experts in many areas, including tax, environment, labor relations, human resources, and healthcare.