MRO Magazine

North American manufacturers cite high level of supply chain risk, plans to maintain or expand jobs


November 3, 2009
By PEM Magazine

ATLANTA, GA — More than one-third of North American manufacturers say they’ve experienced a significant supply chain disruption in the past three months, and more than 70 percent indicate they plan to increase or maintain current employment at their plants, according to the latest MFGWatch survey by, the largest global sourcing marketplace for the manufacturing industry.

The two-part survey was conducted in October 2009, and represents supply-side manufacturers and buy-side original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) throughout North America. The supply-side survey drew responses from 408 providers of manufacturing parts and services; the buy-side survey drew responses from 197 OEMs. Companies from an array of industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial equipment, consumer products and textiles participated in the MFGWatch survey.

When asked if they or their customers had experienced a significant supply chain disruption in the past three months, 38 percent of both buy-side and supply-side manufactures indicated that they had. While more than 50 percent of each audience said their supply chains had been stable, 38 percent indicates a high level of activity in managing and responding to risk.

In terms of specific supply chain risks, buy-side OEMs cited material costs (47 percent) and supplier stability (39 percent) as the most important to their companies, while supply-side manufacturers identified customer stability as most important by a wide margin (82 percent).


The MFGWatch data also indicate that North American manufacturers are seeing business conditions stabilize. While both audiences say they’ve reduced staff during the past three months (suppliers – 43 percent, buyers – 28 percent), they also expect to maintain or add more employees in the coming three months (suppliers 72 percent, buyers 75 percent).

“As North American manufacturing emerges from recession and continues to become more global, businesses are finding supply chain risk mitigation and management to be top of mind,” said Mitch Free, founder and CEO of “This survey shows that while extended supply chains are presenting manufacturers with immediate challenges, they are also seeing stabilization in business activity, as evidenced by their expectations to hire more employees.”

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