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Canadian manufacturers optimistic about business growth: SME

Canadian manufacturers are expecting business activity to increase in 2013 despite some uncertainty in the economy, reports a recent survey by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).
Two-thirds (66.6 per cent) of manufacturers surveyed by SME are optimistic about business growth over the next 12 to 18 months, with most anticipating a moderate to significant rise. At the same time, they are expecting to face some pressing challenges as they move forward, including a shortage of skilled workers (41 per cent), rising production costs (38 per cent) and the need to invest in new equipment and technology (32 per cent).
“We are extremely encouraged by our findings,” said CMTS event manager Julie Pike, noting that the positive outlook is echoed by a Statistics Canada report from February 2013 indicating a rise in manufacturing sales in eight provinces, led by Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
“It’s not surprising that a skilled workforce shortage came out as the number one concern,” she added. “The industry is talking about what Canada needs to do to address this pending crisis and CMTS will make this issue a priority during the four-day event by offering constructive solutions, resources and activities to help manufacturers respond to the challenge.”
Pike explained that the SME survey results – gathered from 431 respondents representing a broad cross-section of industries led by the automotive, energy, aerospace, fabricated metal and machinery sectors – are being used to plan special events and educational programs at CMTS 2013, Canada’s most significant manufacturing event. Other noteworthy findings include:
• 74 per cent of respondents expect to purchase equipment in the coming year, with budgets ranging from less than $50,000 to more than $5 million.
• A high Canadian dollar continues to be a concern for roughly one-quarter of those surveyed.
• Slightly more than 30 per cent cited improving workforce productivity as a significant business challenge.
• 84 per cent of manufacturing purchasing budgets will be either the same or greater in 2013 compared to 2012.
“The most important reason for our survey is to obtain a pulse check on the Canadian manufacturing landscape and respondents offered plenty of optimism around the continued improvement of the economy, growth and expansion,” said Pike. “They also told us that they value the work we do, with an overwhelming 94 per cent of respondents indicating that trade shows play an important role in their buying strategies.”