Manufacturing sector confidence drops, with technology demands playing a part

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Customer demand is shaping the way industrial manufacturers operate

Industrial manufacturing CEOs are adopting a more customer-centric strategy in response to market shocks and the growing skills gap, a PwC global CEO survey has reported.

Changes in the market are also being attributed to the effect technology is having on the sector, with 89 per cent believing clients have an impact on their organisational strategy, making them the industry’s most influential stakeholder group.

“We believe there’s a more fundamental shift going on: from a globalised world to a more divergent and multi-polar one where technology is transforming the expectations of manufacturing customers and stakeholders,” claims Cara Haffey, PwC’s UK industrial manufacturing leader.
“As we’ve seen in the past, the industry has the ability to successfully respond to significant market challenges by taking a longer-term view, embracing new ways of working as well as novel ways of interacting with customers. It’s done so before and can do so again.”

Haffey added that the UK sees much greater awareness of the need for digital and technology innovation than others surveyed.

In the report, manufacturing CEOs rated geopolitical uncertainty (82%), exchange rate volatility (77%), the availability of key skills (76%), and fluctuating commodity prices (64%) among their top business risks over the next 12 months.

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