Industrial manufacturing CEOs wary but still looking to new markets says PricewaterhouseCoopers

Published at 09:59 AM on 03 February 2009

This time last year 86% of respondents to PricewaterhouseCoopers Global CEO Survey were confident or very confident about the prospects for increasing their companies’ revenues. This year, 64% expressed the same level of optimism. Despite the current economic crisis however, industrial manufacturing CEOs are positive about the longer term with 93% being confident about the potential for revenue growth over the next three years. The top three rated opportunities for contributing to this growth are geographic expansion, penetration of existing markets and new product development.


Graeme Billings, global industrial manufacturing leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers, commented:


“Last year CEOs accorded these three opportunities equal weight however, this year new product development ranks much lower on the boardroom agenda. Despite the downturn, industrial manufacturing CEOs are also still looking for suitable deal-making opportunities.”


The above are just some of the findings of the 12th Global CEO Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers which included the input from 109 global industrial manufacturing CEOs. Mergers and acquisitions remain high on the agenda with 35% of respondents intending to complete a deal over the next 12 months. High on the agenda is also technical improvement with 60% saying innovation is critical.


Graeme Billings, global industrial manufacturing leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers, commented:


“Many companies have been forced to scale back their research and development (R&D) budgets meaning management will have to look for creative ways in which to support innovation such as collaborating with supply chain partners, customers and clients.”


Industrial manufacturing CEOs feel their R&D could be more effective with access to better information and 83% say this is critical, 57% would like more information and 13% currently feel the information they receive is inadequate.


Lack of natural resources is one of the issues that most concerns industrial manufacturing CEOs and the survey has revealed that 46% believe the world’s dependence on carbon based energy will have a negative impact on their business with many already taking steps to alleviate the situation. 88% are seeking operational improvements to reduce energy consumption with 59% investing in energy efficient technologies and 51% turning to renewable sources of energy.

Talent and skills were high on the agenda in last year’s results however, the downturn has helped to push the people factor lower down this year with 47% concerned about a shortage of talent this year compared to 62% last year. This seems surprising given that 38% of CEOs anticipate increasing their headcount over the next 12 months and that they experience many of the same problems finding good people.

Graeme Billings, global industrial manufacturing leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers, commented:

“CEOs will have to ensure they do not focus on short-term risks to the exclusion of long-term risks like climate change, shrinking natural resources and the impact of demographic shifts on the talent pool. They recognise the need for new business models to address the challenges being faced currently.”

Notes to Editors:

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Elaine Bailey
Consumer and Industrial Products & Services PR Senior Manager 
Tel:020 7212 5133 
Mobile:07834 318 350 


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