A recent survey of small to midsized manufacturers found that the majority have added jobs, are more optimistic than not about the economy, and their ERP systems have helped serve their customers’ needs while contributing to the success of their businesses.

The survey was conducted among 134 executives of SMB manufacturers with fewer than 100 employees.

The snapshot revealed that hiring in the SMB manufacturing sector ticked up, as 73 percent of respondents reported hiring staff within the last six months. In a possible indication of future growth in the SMB manufacturing segment, a third of respondents said they plan to add staff within the next six months, while 53 percent intend to maintain the same level of employment over the next six months.When questioned about the role their ERP system has played in the success of their businesses, 67 percent responded that their systems were helping them better serve their customer, while 56  percent of respondents felt that their ERP systems have either definitely or somewhat actively contributed to the expansion of their companies.

In addition, two-thirds of those surveyed felt that their accounting or ERP system has helped them better serve their customers in the areas of product delivery efficiencies, open order tracking, raw material forecasts, and shorter lead times.

“Manufacturing continues to play an important role in the American economy, and for this reason, we wanted to gauge the health and stability of this sector. While the findings show slightly different outcomes than recent national reports, we’re glad that our results seem to indicate that SMB manufacturers are hiring — and will continue to hire in the coming months — and that generally they’re optimistic about their businesses,” said Joe Langner, executive vice president – mid-market solutions for Sage North America. “We’re also pleased that Sage ERP appears to be playing a major role in helping manufacturers deliver great customer experiences, which, in turn, have contributed to their success.”

The snapshot survey was conducted by email invitation to a panel of U.S. manufacturing executives between July 11 and August 1, 2012. Off all respondands, 70 percent had between 10 and 100 employees and two-thirds of them manufactured durable goods.

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