An accelerating number of CEOs whose companies depend on manufacturing to produce and deliver their goods are planning or have already successfully re-shored some of their overseas operations, according to the latest survey conducted by Forbes, Xometry and John Zogby Strategies. In fact, 82% of CEOs have or are actively embracing reshoring strategies, up significantly from 55% in the previous survey fielded in January.
“CEOs are optimistic about the future of American manufacturing and business in general, and are increasingly embracing AI and other digital tools to navigate a constantly changing environment,” says Randy Altschuler, CEO of Xometry. “The pandemic, the global supply chain crisis and now the emergence of AI on a wide scale are combining to accelerate manufacturing’s digital transformation and reinject much needed resources into the more than 500,000 small- and medium manufacturers across the country. All of the ingredients are there to make American manufacturing as strong as it has ever been.”
“After three consecutive quarterly surveys measuring how manufacturing CEOs are allocating their capital and resources, it's clear why a vast majority are optimistic despite major headwinds: they are effectively leading industry into the digital age,” says Jeremy Zogby, managing partner of Zogby Strategies.
- The survey finds that more CEOs – 71% now vs. 64% in Q1 – believe there is enough manufacturing capacity in America to address the world’s supply chain concerns.
- While 59% of CEOs saying investing in digital/automated workflows is their No. 1 strategy, a growing majority (51%) are now investing in artificial intelligence (AI), significantly ahead of robotics, at 30%. Nearly all CEOs and decision-makers (97%) said they believe AI will play a large role in their future operations.
- For those companies investing in AI, 68% have seen a significant ROI while just 27% of respondents say more time is required before they see any significant return. Only 5% are still developing AI for their operations.
- Despite the recent banking crisis, 87% are firmly committed to their original 2023 strategic plans and 97% say the future's looking bright or that they see light at the end of the tunnel, up slightly from 95% in the last survey. Still, the vast majority of CEOs and corporate decision-makers – 89% – now say that a recession is likely or very likely to occur this year and more than half – 54% – say the Federal Reserve should lower interest rates.
- 84% of the companies embracing AI are deploying the technology to solve supply chain management/operations; 76% for manufacturing procurement; 58% for digital procurement; 57% for quality control, and 40% for job management/automation.
- When it comes to robotics, 44% are developing autonomous mobile robots; 33% for articulated robots, and 22% for automated guided vehicles.
- 39% of CEOs are expected to hire more, while 56% will maintain their employee current staffing levels. Less than 5% said they are considering a reduction in their workforce.
- 58% of decision-makers said they are increasing wages this year; 38% are maintaining current wage levels, and only 3% said they are decreasing.