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Manufacturing Leading the Way to Recovery

The market for manufacturing technology is blooming as we head into the spring of 2021 with projections of significant double-digit growth. Still, there are risks to that rosy scenario.
by Patrick McGibbon
Apr 08, 2021

The market for manufacturing technology is blooming as we head into the spring of 2021 with projections of significant double-digit growth. Still, there are risks to that rosy scenario. The CDC has concerns about another surge in COVID-19 cases. Supply chains are drawn tight, and there’s pressure from the slowdown or closing of production lines. Ports are jamming. In California alone, there are 18 times the number of ships at anchor waiting to unload than in the spring of 2019.

Growth and timing your moves

Growth in our market has not been evenly dispersed across our customer base over the past 10 months. Throughout 2020, the medical equipment and firearms industries’ demand for manufacturing technology was off the charts – multiples of historical typical order levels. In December, long dormant commercial aerospace orders for manufacturing technology jumped dramatically with the FAA’s announcement that the 737 MAX was recertified. Automotive industry orders for new production equipment and retooling of existing lines were unusually strong in the past three months. Most believe that the strength in auto industry investment reflects the combined placement of planned orders for both 2020 and 2021.

It is a tenuous time strategically. As one industry executive noted, “You don’t know whether to keep gunning the engine in second gear at 5,000 rpm or go ahead and shift into third.” Do you grind it out a while longer with the resources you have now? Alternatively, do you take the risk of expanding your capacity or book more machines from your builders for the future market? Remember: Timely, reliable information is essential to developing strategic decisions, and AMT is your key partner in this play. We will keep the best, most accurate information in front of you as the industry moves through this economic transition.

Stay updated on the latest

Don’t miss Oxford Economics U.S. Services Director Mark Killion on May 20 at 11:00 a.m. EDT as part of AMT’s new webinar series. Killion will present an economic update on U.S. manufacturing, including sharing what has happened since his last forecast on manufacturing technology orders. He will also delve into specific customer industries with market movements significantly below or above the average for all manufacturing. More information on the webinar will be forthcoming.

Follow me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/pat-mcgibbon-91150410/ and Twitter at @pmcgibbon for the latest market information. I appreciate both platforms, but I don’t live on them, so I keep messages focused. My LinkedIn posts, with the rare exception, are pointed to news, links, and opportunities directly related to manufacturing technology. With respect to my tweets, they are much less frequent and usually address time-sensitive news and opportunities.

Please check out AMT’s new website. You’ll notice some awesome improvements by AMT’s in-house web development team. It is clean, easy to navigate, and has a tab specifically for Intelligence! Now, not every bit of intelligence is on the webpage. There are members-only and survey participants-only data and reports available on MTInsight or by emailing me at pmcgibbon@AMTonline.org or Chris Chidzik at cchidzik@AMTonline.org. The information available through Chris’ research and surveys group is too vast to describe. If you have a need, send me or Chris an email.

Fluid power sector

Finally, if you have any customers or business activity in the fluid power area, whether it is hose fittings, cylinders, or the end-use equipment built with those components, you might want to look at two opportunities to gather more information on that industry segment. Eric Lanke, president of the National Fluid Power Association, is building a technology roadmap of industry needs. The first report is available, and you can access the summary at https://nfpahub.com/events/fluid-power-industrial-consortium-fpic/. Inside the article is a link to participate in the survey. If you complete the survey, you will receive a copy of the results. Eric also has extended an invitation to AMT members to attend the NFPA’s next quarterly technical roadmap report on June 3rd at no cost. If you are interested, you can email Eric at elanke@nfpa.com, and he will send you a promo code for the free registration. Information on the virtual conference can be found on their website. 

If you have any questions about domestic or foreign markets, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at pmcgibbon@AMTonline.org.

Patrick McGibbon
Chief Knowledge Officer
Patrick McGibbon was promoted to Chief Knowledge Officer for AMT in early 2019. As CKO, Pat is the association’s chief economist, ombudsman, and a mem ...
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