SYSPRO Unveils New Manufacturing Survey on Priorities

87 percent see ability to compete tied to IT infrastructure and 48 percent expect U.S. better positioned in five years

ChicagoJune 17, 2014SYSPRO, a provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for on-premise and cloud-based utilization, unveiled the results of the company’s twice yearly SNAP survey of the mid-market U.S. manufacturing and distribution industry. The short SYSPRO Needs Answers Please (SNAP) pulse survey is designed to identify key trends and opinions from a random sample of 100 respondents.

Survey respondents say that the impact of technology on the ability of U.S. manufacturing companies to compete in the market is nothing short of game changing: 87 percent say information technology (IT) has a moderate to substantial impact on their operation’s competitiveness. When it comes to being offered a choice between making a more basic or recurring technology investment improvement (like an ERP release upgrade, new computers or mobile devices, etc.) vs. purchasing a key new piece of manufacturing equipment, SYSPRO’s initial assumptions had an interesting outcome.

“We initially rejected placing this question in the SNAP survey since we believed zero manufacturers would admit they’d add to the burden of bringing on expensive new shop machinery plus undertake a new ERP release or new computer equipment purchases,” said Joey Benadretti, SYSPRO U.S. president. “But we left the question in and we were surprised by the answers: 9 percent of the respondents say they fairly regularly choose to undertake both projects at the same time and almost half (48 percent) say that this is a decision they undertook a least once or twice.”

Some industry analysts were not surprised that mid-market U.S. manufacturers are electing to undertake both equipment purchases and technology upgrades simultaneously or in tandem. “This is less about liquidity and funding than it is about the pragmatic fact that equipment expenditures and technology improvements—like mobile devices or new ERP capabilities—go hand in hand,” said Cindy Jutras, CEO of Mint Jutras. “Today, even smaller companies must marry their IT spend and equipment spend so that the two work together, particularly in fast growth situations where new capacity drives new operating requirements.”

SYSPRO U.S. management also wondered about its buyers’ perception of the general direction of the U.S. manufacturing industry, specifically, where they believed their industry would be five years from now:

  • 48 percent said it would be marginally to significantly better.
  • 13 percent expected no change from present.
  • 39 percent said “it all depends on the next election.”

“Now, more than ever, we see that economic confidence of manufacturers is tied to their perception of the political landscape and any accompanying regulatory changes,” Benadretti said. “We look forward to measuring this five-year projection after the next presidential race to see if expectations have change.”

Since ERP solutions are the operational IT backbone of organizations large and small, respondents were asked to rank their customers on what they perceived to be the “truth of SYSPRO ERP’s impact” on their business across four variables. The results by ranking of perceived importance were:

  1. They became more profitable based on their SYSPRO ERP capabilities.
  2. They substantially grew their sales based on SYSPRO ERP capabilities.
  3. They were able to expand their product sets based on SYSPRO ERP capabilities.
  4. They extended their geographic reach of their products based on SYSPRO ERP capabilities.

“In essence, this SNAP survey once again reflects the continued importance of ERP and technology to the future of U.S. manufacturers,” noted Benadretti.