Manufacturing Survey: 'Arrow is Pointing Up'

Posted: Updated:
Co-author Mark Frohlich is an associate professor of operations management at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis. Co-author Mark Frohlich is an associate professor of operations management at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS -

Researchers behind the 2017 Indiana Manufacturing Survey say employers facing an ongoing work force shortage are turning their efforts and investment to automation. However, authors say more technically-advanced operations will require more skilled workers, so ongoing education and training programs must continue to be a priority. Overall, the survey suggests "a lot of general optimism" in the state's manufacturing industry, but adds executives are keeping an eye on regulation and tax rates as factors in remaining competitive in the global marketplace.

Survey co-author Steve Jones says the atmosphere is ripe for continued manufacturing growth, but companies "can't wait for workers to show up to make things happen." He says automation allows them to "reduce their reliance on the available labor pool and maintain Indiana's place in the competitive global marketplace."

Co-author Mark Frohlich, an associate professor of operations management at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, says authors added a new question to this year's survey to find out how companies thought increased automation would impact employment.

"The majority of the respondents really do believe that it's going to add to employment," Frohlich says. "Some of the automation like automatic guided vehicles and material handling systems will displace traditional workers, but my perception is, if you have a good employee, you don't literally throw them out on the street, you retrain them."

Despite the overall positive outlook, Frohlich says respondents identified multiple potential hurdles to continued growth. He says uncertainty about health care tops that list, followed by the corporate tax rate and environmental regulations.

Concerning health care and tax rates, Frohlich tells Inside INdiana Business, "If anything, they're actually just looking for some stability so that you can plan for the future in both of those areas."

Another growing priority for Indiana's manufacturing sector is cybersecurity. Frohlich says about 40 percent of respondents identified cybersecurity as a concern. With increasingly "smart" operations and continued reliance on Internet of Things technology, Frohlich says that the survey will probably "go deeper" on the topic next year.

You can see the full 2017 Indiana Manufacturing Survey by clicking here.

Frohlich says, despite the overall positive outlook, respondents identified multiple potential hurdles to continued growth.
  • Perspectives

    • Focused Collaboration Leads to Effective STEM Leadership

      As a woman who has built a career in a STEM field, technology, I have come to realize that collaboration is an essential ingredient for organizational growth and survival. As my year serving as president for Women & Hi Tech comes to an end, one of the most impactful takeaways for me has been how a shared vision and strategic partnerships can help change the landscape for women studying science, technology, engineering or math in Indiana.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Walmart Details Crawfordsville Layoffs

      Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has announced plans to reduce its workforce at the Walmart Optical Lab in Crawfordsville. In a notice to the state, the company did not provide a reason for the reduction, but said 108 employees will be out of work by the end of September.

    • EnCom Polymers Investing in Evansville

      Evansville-based EnCom Polymers Inc. is bringing custom plastic production in-house. The company says it will invest nearly $15 million into acquiring the facility it currently leases, investing in new equipment and adding as many as 56 employees by 2021. EnCom Polymers also plans to add four production lines, a testing laboratory and an injection molder. The company currently employs 14 in Vanderburgh County and says it will add 17 positions immediately.

    • Indy Tech Vet to Lead DePauw Center

      DePauw University has tapped an Indianapolis tech veteran to become a part of its leadership team. Steve Fouty, who most recently served as chief financial officer of ClusterTruck in Indy, has been named director of the McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship on the Greencastle campus.

    • MainGate to Manage Purdue Merchandise

      Purdue University and Indianapolis-based MainGate are teaming up on athletic and school merchandise. The agreement involves sales on the West Lafayette campus, online through PurdueTeamStore.com and as the university's official wholesale products provider. MainGate's other current merchandise partners include...

    • Caesars now owns Indiana Grand in Shelbyville and Hoosier Park in Anderson.

      Acquisition of Indiana Racinos Complete

      Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp. (Nasdaq: CZR) has completed its $1.7 billion acquisition of Centaur Holdings LLC in Indianapolis. The deal adds Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson and Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville to Caesars' portfolio. The company says it will invest $50 million into various property improvements and IT upgrades at both facilities. Caesars says it plans to add table games to both properties, pending necessary approvals.