New Survey Reveals the Metalworking Industry’s Most Important Trends Heading into 2016

Shop floor Internet connectivity has risen to 80 percent, impacting everything from production to purchasing decisions

CHICAGO — LoSasso Integrated Marketing, one of the leading marketing agencies serving manufacturing suppliers, has released the Executive Summary of its 10th annual Metalworking Trends Survey. The survey tracks the evolutions in general sentiment, purchasing behavior, facility operations and media consumption according to those working on and managing shop floors.

“The results paint a picture for us of the modern metalworking shop,” agency president and author of the report, Scott LoSasso, said. “Of course there are still traditional shops, but the concept and understanding of Smart Manufacturing is evolving. There is a definitive move to web-based technology, with Internet access on the shop floor in more than 80 percent of shops and a strong trend towards connected operations. Even more dramatic is the change in the buying process. In most instances purchasing decisions for equipment and consumables are far along before sales is engaged; and mobile search and video are playing a very important role.”

  • Eighty percent of respondents said they have Internet connections on the shop floor
  • Eighty five percent use YouTube to learn about products, applications and processes
  • Fifty percent use mobile devices for work-related research
  • Sixty four percent of respondents were familiar with the concept of Smart Manufacturing, but only 22 percent say their company has taken steps to implement its practices
  • Sixty six percent said they started evaluating equipment for purchase online

As expected, overall performance reported over the last year is down from the last year’s survey as is short-term forward-looking sentiment. These results are in line with declines in machine tool and tooling sales, as well as headwinds faced by the industry as a whole like the strengthening dollar, weakness in American exports and low commodity prices, especially oil.

As has long been the case, finding qualified labor is by far the most difficult part of the business. Fifty six percent called it “extremely challenging,” far outpacing the next biggest challenge, the “cost of new technology,” by 23 percent.

The survey was emailed to a broad cross section of the metalworking industry. There were 777 responses. Of those responses, nearly half qualified themselves as management.

The agency’s president, Scott LoSasso, and his team of technical content experts and graphic designers worked together to extract insights from the data and present the 32-page summary in a digestible, highly-visual and interactive format.

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About LoSasso Integrated Marketing

Located in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood, LoSasso Integrated Marketing a mid-size independent agency delivering full-service modern marketing support to clients in industries including manufacturing, entertainment, outdoor, education, agriculture and construction. LoSasso’s mission is to be a long-term partner to companies committed to marketing leadership.

 

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