Survey: Contract Manufacturing Continues to Grow
Jul 31, 2012
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A new Design-2-Part Survey reports that American manufacturing appears to have steadied from a 2011 growth spurt while contract manufacturing continues positive growth.

In the D2P Manufacturing Trends Survey 42% of U.S. OEMs indicated that they expect to have more outsourcing projects/purchases in the next year than they had in the past 12 months. The was up 3% over 2011 and up 11% from the 2010 survey.

Responders indicated a less positive trend for their business in general - 48% saw their business grow in the past 12 months compared to 51% in 2011.

The survey also asked the OEM engineers and buyers that outsource about their most important factor for measuring manufacturing outsourcing vendors. The results:
* quality: 49%
* product cost: 39%
* delivery: 9%
* technical support: 3%

Responses resembled, within two percentage points, the answers given in 2011.

When asked to identify geographically their outsourcers, respondents answered:
* local vendors - up to 100 miles: 42%
* regional vendors - up to 250 miles: 20%
* national vendors: 19%
* overseas/international vendors: 20%

Those who answered "local vendors" were asked about their primary reason for using local vendors. The responses:
* hands-on access/vendor visits: 56%
* delivery time: 21%
* to support local economy: 13%
* cost: 11%

Those who used international vendors were asked about the primary supply chain risks:
* delivery time: 50%
* vendor stability: 31%
* shipping costs: 12%
* natural disaster: 7%

Open-ended survey questions found five common reasons for outsourcing domestically:
* superior quality
* better communication and supervision
* reliable delivery
* shorter production runs
* "Made in America" pride

The biggest challenges faced, from product development through manufacturing, in bringing a product to market.: industry and government regulations, smaller run quantities, and maintaining quality while dealing with price pressures.

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