PwC: U.S. Industrial Manufacturers Optimistic; Cybersecurity Major Focus

29 Jan, 2014

With expectations that economic growth will continue in 2014, U.S. industrial manufacturers expressed optimism about the U.S. economy, and more importantly, toward the broader world economy, which has reached the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the Q4 2013 Manufacturing Barometer, recently released by PwC US. Looking ahead, respondents appear poised for growth as a majority expect positive revenue gains at their own companies; plans for hiring remain steady; international sales regain momentum; and the headwinds to growth begin to level off.

Optimism regarding the prospects of the U.S. economy during the next 12 months rose among U.S. industrial manufacturers to 68 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, from 60 percent in the previous quarter. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, 20 percent more of the executives surveyed are now optimistic about the domestic economy.

According to the latest Manufacturing Barometer, overall sentiment about the world’s economic prospects among U.S. industrial manufacturers who market abroad also increased in the fourth quarter of 2013, rising to 47 percent from 40 percent in the third quarter and 32 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. While nearly half of survey participants expressed optimism, an additional 46 percent remain uncertain about global prospects and seven percent remain pessimistic.

Special Topic: Cybersecurity and IT innovations

Cybersecurity continues to be a major area of focus for industrial manufacturers. The latest Manufacturing Barometer revealed that 75 percent of U.S. industrial products manufacturers claim to have a methodology to detect the effectiveness of their organization’s security programs and 82 percent cited having a formalized plan in place for reporting and responding to cybersecurity events. Over the past 12 months, only a limited number (15 percent) reported an increase in cybersecurity events. When polled, U.S. industrial manufacturers cited hackers as the greatest cybersecurity threat to their business (69 percent), followed by current/former employees (26 percent) and activists/activist organizations (7 percent).

Of survey respondents, 38 percent indicated that their business made use of important IT innovations in the past 12 months, while 51 percent responded that their business had not. The two business sectors leading the way for important IT innovations were manufacturing processes (52 percent) and security/cyber threats (43 percent).

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Illustration by jscreationzs at Free Digital

Source: PwC’s Manufacturing Barometer

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