The survey shows that manufacturers say that sales growth is one of their top strategic priorities in the short-term, many also see innovation as a critical path to growth.
The KPMG GMO survey shows that manufacturers know that investing into breakthrough technologies is a "must do" long-term strategy with more than two-thirds of respondents confirming they are focused on long-term innovation strategies. Half of all manufacturers say their strategic focus is innovation-led. Thirty-two percent cite the development of new products and R&D as a top strategic priority. Thirty percent say the biggest challenge for their organization is R&D inefficiency.
"Innovation waits for no one. Those who fail to embrace the new reality of the accelerating innovation cycle will quickly be left behind," says Jeff Dobbs, KPMG's Global Head of Industrial Manufacturing. "Investing more in R&D is certainly helpful, but manufacturers need to also focus on continuously enhancing and adapting their innovation models if they hope to survive."
Forty-one percent of respondents say their primary strategy for innovation is to pursue breakthrough advances. Seventy- four percent of respondents say they will spend upwards of 4 percent of revenues on R&D over the next two years.
Sales growth and cost reductions continue to top the agenda as manufacturers prepare for increased competition. Fifty-five percent of respondents cite sales growth as a top priority and 41 percent say they are focused on reducing the cost structure. Almost 40 percent say that their biggest challenge stems from intense competition and pressure on prices.
Looking into supply chains, almost half of all KPMG GMO survey respondents cite lowering costs and working capital levels as one of their top three strategic supply chain priorities. And, when asked to rate their top supply chain challenges, respondents say that a lack of flexibility and responsiveness to changes in demand or product mix is the most frequent issue; this is followed by concerns relating to supplier performance (in terms of risk, reliability and quality) and ensuring sufficient supplier capacity to meet demand and best support new product launches. Yet just 14 percent of respondents claim to have complete supplier visibility into Tier 1, 2, and beyond.
The full version of the survey can be downloaded here.
About the Global Manufacturing Outlook
The Global Manufacturing Outlook (GMO) 2015 is based on a survey of 386 senior executives, conducted by Forbes on behalf of KPMG International, and was completed in early 2015. Respondents represented six industries: Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Conglomerates, Medical Devices, Engineering and Industrial Products, and Metals.
All respondents included in our survey held Director-level or C-Suite roles within their organization and 63 percent represented organizations with more than USD5 billion in annual revenue. Respondents were distributed fairly evenly between the Americas, Europe and Asia.