Travelers reported that nearly three-quarters of leaders in the manufacturing industry are expanding product and service offerings and 88 percent are hiring, based on results of a recent survey conducted by the insurer.

Travelers said the IndustryEdge survey of 200 professionals in the manufacturing industry included general managers, directors, owners and partners from metals, food, and plastics manufacturers. The survey results are in line with forecasts issued by the Business Survey Committee of the Institute for Supply Management in December 2012, Travelers noted, also referring to the positive expectations for 2013 revealed in the ISM forecast.

The results of the both reports also point to opportunities for insurers, according to Jim Mandes, Manufacturing Industry Manager for Travelers Commercial Accounts, who pointed to a host of new hazards throughout the complex, interconnected global supply chain. “Hazards may include less skilled workers, fewer suppliers to choose from and an increased potential for business interruptions,” he said in a statement.

The Travelers survey also reveals that 71 percent of companies are conducting sales outside of the United States and that 67 percent receive a quarter or more of their supplies from a single supplier. “If a manufacturer is relying on a small number of suppliers, and those suppliers are faced with a temporary situation where they are unable to provide the materials— the manufacturer can suffer a significant decline in revenues,” Mandes said.

Eighty-eight percent of manufacturing leaders surveyed have hired or plan to hire new employees

To manage the risks associated with these sales and supply chains, Travelers said it offers insurance coverage options that include worldwide dependent property coverage, along with global insurance protection and specialized risk control and claim services in more than 100 countries worldwide.

With respect to hiring, Travelers noted that the 88 percent figure represents the proportion of manufacturing decision-makers survey who said their companies either hired new employees or made plans to hire in the next year.

The insurer said it offers an online pre-employment screening tool called JCP, or Job Candidate Profile, to help employers identify employees who may exhibit desirable traits for a particular job. Used together with other due diligence processes, the tool assists employers in hiring individuals who tend to exhibit reliable and safety-conscious behavior, Travelers said.

The earlier ISM report, based on the expectations of U.S. purchasing and supply management executives, found those executives less bullish about employment than other growth metrics, with a forecast that the manufacturing employment base would grow by less than 1 percent.

Summarizing positive expectations for 2013, ISM said the purchasing and supply management executives forecasted that capital expenditures would increase by 7.6 percent in the manufacturing sector, and that manufacturing revenues grow 4.6 percent in 2013 over 2012.

Sources: Travelers Companies, Inc.; Institute For Supply Management

Travelers' surveyed 200 professionals in the manufacturing industry.
Travelers’ surveyed 200 professionals in the manufacturing industry.

For more manufacturing sector forecasts, see related CM article: Construction Sector On The Mend; Private Projects Leading The Way