Steel in the News
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Posted by Tasha Weiss on November 15, 2011 at 5:42 PM.
The Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA) unveiled their 2012 Capital Spending Forecast this morning at FABTECH in Chicago — and the good news is that industry purchasing on machinery and equipment is expected to rise next year. However, that’s only if natural disasters and other factors that affected this past year’s downward economy don’t happen again, and manufacturers remain competitive in the global marketplace.
Dr. Chris Kuehl, economic analyst for FMA, explained that the report - based on a survey of 1,212 executives - predicts industry spending will grow in a wide range of categories including equipment type (ranging from cutting machines to welding supplies), plant size and geographic regions. This recovery is mainly due to two positive index factors:
- An increase in credit applications and approvals; and a decrease in the number of bankruptcies
- Growth in the transportation index, with rail transportation leading the comeback
Although the spending outlook is sunny, as it was at the start of 2011 — unpredictable disastrous events that occurred in the past year such as the tsunami in Japan, an increase in oil prices, and the U.S. floods could halt demand if they were repeated.
There are also three trends affecting manufacturing that can’t be ignored:
- Lack of appropriate workers for the industry (the current average age of a welder is 63!)
- Automated equipment is increasing productivity and competitiveness
- Expansion of global business
A key takeaway from the presentation is that manufacturers need to benchmark themselves against industry standard. To remain competitive, firms need to provide fast and accurate services, and for those thinking about investing in equipment, it’s important to know when the timing is right. Suppliers also can use new data to better focus sales efforts.
Learn more about what’s happening at FABTECH at www.fabtechexpo.com and view the full schedule at www.fabtechexpo.com/assets/pdfs/2011/FAB
11_ConfAtGlance.pdf. The show runs until this Thursday, November 17 at McCormick Place.