U.S. Manufacturers Respond to Regulatory Plans

Tags: Distribution, Manufacturing, Supply Chain

Manufacturers and wholesale distributors are optimistic about the perceived impact of the Trump administration’s plans for trade deregulation on their businesses, according to new research commissioned by business software provider Exact. Sixty-three percent of respondents anticipate that the plans will be beneficial to their businesses.

Fifty percent of manufacturing respondents anticipate that the plans will be beneficial to their businesses. In response to pending changes such as border tariffs, revoking existing trade agreements and a focus on “buying American,” about one-third of respondents from both industries have already increased investments in technology and hired more U.S.-based employees.

Additionally, the survey shows that emerging technology and IT innovations are significantly disrupting business models in the eyes of 72 percent of wholesale distributors and manufacturers. Notably, respondents are embracing the “fourth industrial revolution,” already finding value in applying 3D printing, the Industrial Internet of Things, wearables, virtual reality and other tools to their operations.

The research also proves that business process automation is a strong value and revenue driver for both distributors and manufacturers; respondents cite reduced costs, fewer errors, enhanced visibility, and improved customer service as top benefits to automating core business processes.

Key findings include:

  • Manufacturers who automate their core business processes with software77 percent of respondentshad stronger revenue gains on average in 2016 compared to those who do not automate.
  • 70 percent of respondents are currently using wearables, citing production efficiency, cost savings, and worker safety as the areas positively affected by implementation.
  • 81 percent of respondents note that automation has improved employee productivity.
  • 91 percent of manufacturers are currently using ERP systems and find it extremely valuable across operations.
  • 92 percent of wholesale distributors either strongly agree or somewhat agree that Amazon is currently one of their biggest competitors.
  • 74 percent of distributor respondents view the impact of Amazon as resulting in customers demanding faster delivery times for orders.
  • 58 percent of wholesale distributors are currently using connected machinery (Internet of Things), while 55 percent use tablets with voice recognition to place orders.
  • 97 percent of wholesale distributors either strongly agree or somewhat agree that business process automation has allowed them to better service customers.