Sage Snapshot Findings Reveal SMBs Are Hiring and Using Technology to Succeed

A majority of SMB manufacturers indicate that their ERP system contributed to their business success

Irvine, Calif.Sept. 20, 2012Sage North America released results of a snapshot survey of small and midsized business (SMB) manufacturers on the general health of their businesses and use of their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The snapshot revealed that SMB manufacturers added jobs; are more optimistic than not about the economy; and have ERP systems that have helped serve their customers’ needs while contributing to the success of their businesses.

A provider of business management software and services to more than 6 million small and midsized businesses worldwide, Sage conducted the survey among 134 executives of SMB manufacturers with fewer than 100 employees.

The snapshot revealed that hiring in the SMB manufacturing sector increased as 73 percent of respondents reported hiring staff within the last six months. In a possible indication of future growth in the SMB manufacturing segment, one third of respondents plan to add staff within the next six months, while 53 percent intend to maintain the same level of employment over the next six months.

When asked about the specific conditions of their own manufacturing business over the next six months:

  • 49 percent believed that new orders would increase
  • 47 percent felt that production would increase
  • 23 percent believed that inventories would increase


When questioned about how the role of their ERP system played in the success of their businesses, 67 percent responded that their systems were helping them better serve their customers. And 56 percent of respondents felt that their ERP systems have either definitely or somewhat actively contributed to the expansion of their companies.  

When asked how their sales personnel are using their ERP system, 63 percent said they use it for quotes; 74 percent for order fulfillment; 59 percent to check for product availability; and 44 percent for forecasting.

About two-thirds felt that their accounting or ERP system helped them better serve their customers in the areas of product delivery efficiencies, open order tracking, raw material forecasts and shorter lead times.

“Manufacturing continues to play an important role in the American economy, and for this reason, we wanted to gauge the health and stability of this sector,” said Joe Langner, Executive Vice President, Mid-Market Solutions for Sage North America. “While the findings show slightly different outcomes than recent national reports, we’re glad that our results seem to indicate that SMB manufacturers are hiring—and will continue to hire in the coming months—and that generally they’re optimistic about their businesses. We’re also pleased that Sage ERP appears to be playing a major role in helping manufacturers deliver great customer experiences, which, in turn, have contributed to their success.”

While respondents showed optimism about their own business prospects, they were not as optimistic about the overall economy. Only 27 percent believe that the economy will grow over the next six months, while 57 percent believe that the economy will stay the same. The remaining 16 percent believe that the economy will contract over the next six months.  

Survey demographics

The snapshot survey was conducted by email invitation to a panel of U.S. manufacturing executives between July 11 and August 1, 2012. About 70 percent of respondents had between 10 and 100 employees while two-thirds of them manufactured durable goods. This survey of manufacturers reflects a target population with a margin of error of plus or minus seven percent, nine times out of 10.