2017: The Year of Small to Medium Manufacturing

The Year of 2016 In Review

If your company is in the Manufacturing sector and you have less than 500 employees, current indications are that 2017 will be one of your best years for business growth. Post-election optimism for an improved business climate in the United States has significantly increased. The University of Michigan Final Consumer Sentiment for November came in at 93.8, up from the October Final reading by 6.6 points.

Likewise, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 Index, and the NASDAQ have all risen by between 6% and 7% since November 4, as of the close on Friday, November 25. Perhaps even more indicative of the potential for Small to Medium Manufacturing Companies is the rise of nearly 16% in the Russell 2000 Index during this same time period. Although no one should assume this post-election optimism will continue indefinitely, the stage is set for a great 2017 for Small to Medium Manufacturing Companies.

According to Richard Curtin, director of the Surveys of Consumers at University of Michigan Survey Research Center, “The post-election boost in optimism was widespread, with gains recorded among all income and age subgroups and across all regions of the country… The data indicate that consumer spending will advance by 2.5% in 2017.”

As a means to prepare your business for the potential growth in 2017, I offer my thoughts and suggestions as presented by High Value Manufacturing Consulting over the last year:

As originally published in March of 2016, High Value Manufacturing Consulting (HVMC) indicated that:  “The next 3-5 years promise a substantial uptick for US Manufacturing Companies, with the confluence of 3 Mega manufacturing trends.”

“What changes need to occur today to prepare for the next 3-5 year opportunities? And, more importantly; is your organization ready for these changes?”

“How are we, the academia and the public/private economic development organizations, the Small to Medium Sized Manufacturers, and even financial institutions, going to respond quickly to the opportunities that present themselves?  The answer is that if we understand these mega-trends and implement the correct strategic changes, we will have the opportunity for huge economic rewards.” Author’s Note: Please click on the embedded link for more detail.

Originally published in January of 2016, Top 8 Challenges for Small Manufacturers provides owners and operators of Small Manufacturing Firms some ideas on how to manage the complexity of their companies. Author’s Note: Please click on the embedded link for more detail.

These “Pain Points” can be categorized as follows:

  • Hiring and maintaining capable workers.
  • Technical problem solving capability.
  • Changing customer business requirements.
  • Maximizing physical capital utilization.
  • Mid-term (3 to 5 years) business uncertainty.
  • Financial risks for funding growth.
  • Growth of business complexity.
  • Business ownership/management transition.

As a means to prepare our companies for the potential growth in the coming years, we should be looking for ways to improve our companies. Most of us are always looking for the right method to improve our business. If you’re looking for or have utilized a business improvement methodology, most likely it was inspired by one of these industry thought leaders: Dr. Goldratt, Dr. Deming, or Taiichi Ohno.
Originally published in August of last year “Need to Improve Your Manufacturing Business?”  is a succinct guideline to help you select the tool needed to improve your business. Author’s Note: Please click on the embedded link for more detail.

“…………. you might scratch your head and ask: ‘But which one is the right method to improve MY business?’”

“The answer is a simple…. That NONE of these is the ‘ONE’ perfect approach. We’ve been there and done that and we know there is not just one solution or panacea that will solve all your business challenges. As our clients have realized, the best approach is a customized solution weaving all of these methodologies together. By taking a broad and pragmatic approach, we can get to the root of the issue quickly.”

At High Value Manufacturing Consulting we often turn to a quotation by Abraham Maslow:

“If only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”


Based on the recent growth in business optimism, now may be the time to expand your business not only in terms of domestic (US) growth, but also in regards to export opportunities. Small Manufacturers Seek Revenue Growth via Exporting, originally published in August of 2016, provides some simple guidelines on how to prepare your company for exporting.

“Is your manufacturing company looking to grow revenues? Then it’s time to consider exporting your products. The 2016 Small Business Exporting Survey by the NSBA (National Small Business Association) indicates that 65% of small businesses exported to increase sales and profits, with 21% exporting to meet customers’ requirements. Clearly, the data supports that exporting products can be a huge growth play. But which market/s should you consider? Mexico has experienced the greatest market growth in recent years.”

2017 begins with many indicators that this will be a fantastic year for Small to Medium Manufacturing Companies. Preparation for this potential growth in business is essential. Now is the time to act!

Please click on the embedded links for more detail.






Bill May is the Founder and President of High Value Manufacturing Consulting. HVMC is based in Tennessee with extensive manufacturing consulting experience, helping to serve small to mid-sized manufacturers. The company’s mission is to provide quick response solutions that net high value manufacturing results.  HVMC offers assessment tools and problem resolution services for their clients.



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