At the mid-year point of 2017, it appears that the U.S. economy, and the manufacturing sector in particular, are gradually accelerating, with most markets seeing an upside breakout from the flat or down conditions of 2015 and 2016.
Gear Technology’s annual State-of-
the-Gear-Industry survey polls gear manufacturers about the latest trends and opinions relating to the overall health of the gear industry. As in years
past, the survey was conducted anonymously, with invitations sent by e-mail to gear manufacturing companies
around the world.
If you are like most navigators of the printed page, the first thing you read in this final 2013 issue of Gear Technology was our State of the Gear
Industry Survey. And who would blame you? It’s not Sabermetrics, but once you’ve read it you’ll have a pretty
clear snapshot of last year and a peek
into the next. But if you also like to get a little closer to the bone about things, what follows are the collected opinions of five well-regarded people in the gear industry speaking to a number of issues with relevance.
Trying to figure out what’s going on in this crazy economy of ours seems a bit like reading tea leaves—one part pseudoscience and three parts wild conjecture. Of course some pundits are telling us that this bull market has legs, while others insist that we’re due for a major correction. Some pump us up with positive news, while others remind us about scary stuff like the budget deficit, the European financial crisis and unemployment.
Before we get into projections and prognostications about the future, let’s take a minute to review 2012. For many in the gear industry, the year was better than expected. Some manufacturers
had a very successful year leading up to an even more successful manufacturing trade show (IMTS 2012). Others were searching for more business, hoping that the general
state of the economy wouldn’t make things worse. In some cases, it did.
Over the past several months, many gear manufacturers and industry suppliers have been telling me how busy they
are. Their backlogs are the largest in history, their sales the highest they’ve been in many years. They’ve invested in new capabilities, new machinery and people.
In November, Gear Technology conducted
an anonymous survey of gear manufacturers. Invitations were sent by e-mail to thousands of individuals around the world. More than 300
individuals responded to the online survey, answering questions about their manufacturing operations and current challenges facing their businesses.