A new survey of manufacturers commissioned by the Manufacturers’ Agents National Association (MANA), Morton Grove, IL, found these companies are feeling good about the economy.
According to the MANA survey, which focused on manufacturers in a broad array of trades that use independent manufacturers’ reps, 83% of the manufacturer-respondents were “very optimistic” or “somewhat optimistic” about their projected revenues over the next 12 months. Seventy-six percent were that optimistic about their own firms’ projected profits. Less than half of manufacturers' sales executives expect increased sales to trigger any increase in capital spending, and reported that their firms continue to have sufficient capacity to meet increased demand without new buildings or equipment. Most expect the momentum gained from several consecutive waves of growth to continue through the end of 2018 and into the first half of 2019.
Outsourced sales firms (manufacturers’ representatives or manufacturers’ agents) echo those corporate sales executives’ forecasts, with 83% optimistic about the economy; 75% optimistic about their own revenue; and 72% optimistic about their own profits. Utilization of manufacturers’ representatives by corporate sales executives will increase over the next 12 months, say 62% of those executives. “With continued pressure on manufacturers to do more with less, replacing costly sales employees with professional outsourced non-employee sales forces is a natural evolution to drive corporate efficiency and increase return on investment,” said MANA CEO Charles Cohon in the press release.
Respondents also found that over the next 12 months MANA agents can expect to hear from more manufacturers looking to drive new sales by partnering with more outsourced sales agents. This should bode well for agencies looking to expand the number of products or lines. An estimated one-third of MANA-member agents have already increased the number of products or lines they represent in the past twelve months.