Editor's Message: The Industry Is About to Expand

Editor's Message

Editor's Message: The Industry Is About to Expand

A LARGE PORTION of this issue is devoted to BCMC 2019, and for good reason. This promises to be the biggest show our industry has hosted since the downturn, and a lot is being planned to bring significant value to every attendee. A big part of the show is the exhibit floor, where component manufacturers (CMs) will have an opportunity to take an in-depth look at the latest innovations in equipment, software, manufacturing processes and support services.

Heading into the show, we wanted to get a sense for the collective industry’s plans for expansion over the next 18 months. Fortunately, we had strong participation in a recent online poll that gave us a glimpse into what CMs across the country are planning. What immediately stood out was that 83 percent of respondents indicate they plan to add production capacity over that timeframe.

For those who plan to increase capacity, we asked them to rank the various methods they will use (1 being not at all and 7 being their primary method). Using a weighted average of all the responses, a few dominant methods emerged. The most popular was simply upgrading current equipment to increase efficiency on their current lines. This represents the smallest capital investment and will likely yield the largest return on investment (ROI).

Beyond this approach, respondents indicated they plan to automate some part of their current production flow (4.34) and/or improve their material handling capabilities (4.31). In addition to investing in new equipment, many respondents indicated they plan to extend overtime hours (3.68), add a second shift (3.38), and add production lines (3.35) to increase throughput. It’s important to note that these three options will rely heavily on workforce development efforts that will take time to implement. For ideas on how to bolster your efforts to assess, hire, train, and retain quality employees, make sure to check out the industry specific resources SBCA has compiled at sbcindustry.com/wfd.

For those looking to add equipment, we asked CMs to indicate all of the types of equipment they anticipate purchasing. Almost half indicated they were looking to buy an automated saw, and nearly the same number said they plan on adding an automated jig system. A little over one-third plan on adding a truck, a trailer, or both. Roughly one-fifth plan to add a gantry roller press, a laser system, or a conveyor system.

The bottom line is that these results suggest the BCMC exhibit floor will be very productive this year. If you haven’t already, there’s still time to register to either attend or exhibit. Check out the show guide on page 40 and visit bcmcshow.com for more details. If you contributed to this poll, or any of the others we’ve put out through our weekly SBC Industry News, thank you for your participation and insight!