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Manufacturing Insights Predicts Large Manufacturing Firms to Move Toward a Globally Integrated Business Model ; Study Reveals Emerging Business and Technology Initiatives for the Manufacturing Industry in 2008


FRAMINGHAM, MA .- Leading independent research and advisory firm, Manufacturing Insights, an IDC company, today announced the release of its annual Top 10 Predictions report, Worldwide Manufacturing 2008 Top 10 Predictions, which examines macro industry trends, specific key process domains, and emerging business/technology initiatives for manufacturers in 2008. According to this new study, research shows larger manufacturing firms are deriving more than 60% of their profits from outside their home region. This revenue balance will help the industry offset any detrimental effects of an economic slowdown or potential recession within the U.S. market.

“In last year’s predictions report, we discussed how the industry was entering the year with high expectations mitigated by high uncertainty,” said Bob Parker, vice president of Research at Manufacturing Insights. “As we enter 2008, it seems that uncertainty has overtaken expectations as the industry girds against the prospects of a recession.”

Several factors are creating uncertainty, the Manufacturing Insights report reveals. These include the subprime lending crisis, oil prices teasing the $100 per barrel level, and continued geopolitical instability and conflict. However, there are several reasons to believe that the pall of uncertainty will not entirely eclipse expectations for business success in manufacturing. A recession in the United States no longer guarantees worldwide trouble, and many of the largest manufacturing firms in the United States now earn more than half of their revenue and profit from outside the home market. In addition, a weak dollar means that goods manufactured in the United States are price competitive in foreign markets.

“The hope is that continued global growth will lift the performance of large manufacturing firms in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan,” continued Mr. Parker. “This growth will allow these companies, and the smaller ones that depend on them, to expand the employment base and restore consumer confidence and spending. The most likely source of pain in the manufacturing segment will be in the midmarket, especially for those companies in mature economies that depend on local markets. For the larger firms, expectations don’t have to be completely muted as long as management is willing to understand that their business models must match the new economic realities.”

The top 10 predictions presented and analyzed in this study include:
* Large manufacturing firms will move toward a globally integrated business model;
* IT organizations will accelerate spending on collaborative decision environments and incubate multi-enterprise business networks;
* IT spending in the supply chain area will focus on fulfillment execution;
* Product management software investments will be geared to integrating processes, not automating tasks;
* Manufacturing firms will tackle the challenges of aging/emerging workforces with investment in organic knowledge management and;
* Machine to Machine (M2M) technology will emerge as a key enabler to enhanced service delivery.

Manufacturing Insights believes that manufacturers must continue to look for ways to drive down the cost of information and must accelerate investments that will improve the speed of decision making related to product life cycle, supply chain, and demand management. In addition, creating a program office to devise – and later implement – a strategy for hosting and participating in business networks as well as assuring that information technology investments are sufficient to support the organization’s needs are vital strategies for the coming year.

To create the report, Worldwide Manufacturing 2008 Top 10 Predictions (Doc #MI210058), Manufacturing Insights spoke with technology vendors, industry consultants, and corporate buyers about what the coming year will hold for companies in the manufacturing industry. Copies of the report will be made available to qualified members of the media. For more information on obtaining this report, please email To schedule a one-on-one briefing with Mr. Parker, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-794-3214 or

Manufacturing Insights will also present its predictions for 2008 in a complimentary webcast to be held January 8, 2008. For more event and registration information, please visit: .

About Manufacturing Insights, an IDC company
Manufacturing Insights, an IDC company, provides business and information technology (IT) decision makers with fact-based research and analysis to inform and support critical business decisions. The global independent research and advisory firm closely follows processes associated with the design, development, and distribution of goods across markets, including discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, high tech/electronics manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, and retail. Manufacturing Insights’ research and analysis is critical for end users, as well as hardware and software vendors, service providers, and purveyors of IT outsourcing. Manufacturing Insights is headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and event company. For more information, visit .

For more information, please contact:
Deborah Stark

Sarah Murray


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