Manufacturing in 2010 ended on a high note, according to the article “U.S. Manufacturing Continues to Expand.” The Manufacturers Alliance does a MAPI Survey each quarter to measure whether the manufacturing industry is growing or shrinking. It has grown for the past five quarters.
The survey’s results are reported as a percentage. Anything over 50 percent means manufacturing increased in that quarter, and anything below 50 percent means it decreased. In the fourth quarter, it was 75 percent, which is a little lower than the third quarter’s 77 percent. But it’s still a big improvement over 2009 when manufacturing hit rock bottom.
One potential problem on the horizon is that inventory levels are increasing, so demand for manufacturing might decrease a little unless customer purchases increase. Manufacturers can’t boost production if the products they make just sit on their shelves. To maximize efficiency, they’ll need to slow down at some point to a sustainable level of production.
Right now, though, one-third of manufacturers are working at 85-percent capacity or higher. That’s pretty impressive because the historical average number of manufacturers working at that high a capacity is 32 percent.
How can manufacturers know when to speed up or slow down their production lines? It’s not easy, especially when they’re growing and must deal with orders from many different customers. It’s easy to get caught up in the little details and fail to see the big picture.
A good way to plan ahead for production changes is to use manufacturing inventory software. Manufacturing inventory software gives you quick access to data about sales, costs, in-stock materials and more. It also makes big and small inventory management tasks easier. These include inventory tracking, work order creation and part reordering.
Hopefully the manufacturing recovery is here to stay. To keep your manufacturing company healthy and at the forefront of the recovery, make manufacturing inventory software a part of your business strategy. Try an inventory software demo today.