Manufacturing sector maintains growth trajectory, according to Epicor’s 2019 Global Growth Index

Manufacturing business growth has continued to rise over the past year, but at a much slower rate than the previous 12 months. Despite political uncertainty and the difficulty in recruiting and retaining skilled staff, there has been a marginal one percent rise in the number of businesses reporting growth. 

These findings are survey results unveiled today from the annual Global Growth Index by Epicor Software Corporation—a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth.

Political volatility and uncertainty continue to be a common cause for concern across the globe. Nearly three quarters of UK businesses (72 percent) stated that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is also still a big threat, with the percentage across all EMEA-based respondents totaling 46 percent. Despite this, business growth over the last 12 months has been stable, but respondents admit it hasn’t been easy. Forty-four percent found it challenging and 18 percent feel that staff skills and experience have played a detrimental part in maintaining growth.

“The manufacturing industry plays an integral role in our global economy and people forget that it is responsible for delivering important products we use every day,” said Epicor CEO, Steve Murphy. “As such, the health of the manufacturing industry is something we should all be concerned about. While it’s good news to see that growth in this industry is still taking place, we need to keep a close eye on what factors are contributing to this growth and what factors are causing a lag. The information in the Global Growth Index empowers businesses so they can make strategic plans that will best position them for the future.” 

Now in its third year, the Epicor Global Growth Index is designed to measure the state of worldwide business growth within the manufacturing industry. The Index tracks the performance of businesses – year on year – within 13 territories across a number of key indicators, including turnover, profits, headcount, and product range. Compared to last year’s results, the Growth Index rose by one percent, compared to 3.7 percent in the previous 12-month period. 

The table below shows the Global Growth Index results for 2019 across six key indicators, compared with figures from 2018 and 2017. Percentages represent the median average number of businesses that have reported growth in each of the key growth metrics.

Growth performance indicator % reporting growth UK
  2017 2018 2019 2019
Sales/turnover 65 70 65 64
Profits 64 68 67 63
Product range 61 65 63 61
Exports and overseas sales 49 50 52 51
Workforce/headcount 48 48 54 46
Geographic coverage 51 49 53 48
Average % recorded across all six attributes 56 58 59 55.5
Index (year one=base 100) 100.0 103.7 104.7  

“Investing in the right technology, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, can help businesses better plan for change by improving visibility and insights into current operational workflows. This can help alleviate stress and enable people to deal with challenges more effectively, by providing the flexibility, agility, and adaptability needed to respond to market conditions and customer demands. Technology can also have a positive influence on other factors including work ethic and staff recruitment and retention,” concluded Reid Paquin, research director, IDC.

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