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One year into pandemic, manufacturers are optimistic but will face challenges: Report

May 3, 2021   Maryam Farag

According to an industry report from Sikich, nearly three-quarters of manufacturers and distributors are optimistic about their business prospects, and over half are looking to expand their workforce in the next six months.

Seventy-two per cent of respondents ranked their level of optimism at a seven or higher, on a scale of one to 10, in Sikich’s Industry Pulse: Manufacturing and Distribution.

The report identified challenges manufacturers and distributors will face in the coming months:

  • While 56 per cent of survey respondents plan to grow their workforces, only 5 per cent are completely confident in their ability to obtain the talent required.
  • Cybersecurity breaches still run rampant. More than half of manufacturers and distributors experienced at least two information security events in the past 12 months. The most common cybersecurity incidents include email phishing scams (81 per cent), unemployment fraud (42 per cent), and ransomware (9 per cent).
  • More than a quarter of survey respondents (28 per cent) are only slightly or somewhat confident in using their existing data to make business decisions, emphasizing a need for improved data quality.

“Even with the high optimism index, there is still work to be done,” said Jerry Murphy, Partner, Manufacturing and Distribution Team, Sikich. “The competition for talent is at an all-time high, and lack of data confidence coupled with data security vulnerabilities persist across the industry. Manufacturers of all sizes must look to proactively address these issues to keep up with consumer demands.”

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Sikich surveyed more than 120 executives from manufacturing and distribution companies across sectors including industrial equipment, wholesale and distribution, metal fabrication, food and beverage, apparel, footwear and textiles, and transportation.