MONTREAL, May 5, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - STIQ's 8th annual Baromètre industriel québécois shows that 39% of businesses saw significant employee growth (more than 5%) in 2016, the highest proportion since the survey began in 2009. In addition, 59% of the businesses surveyed reported a substantial increase (more than 5%) in sales versus 2015, while only 13% experienced a similar decrease. These are encouraging signs that seem to confirm the stabilization of our manufacturing sector after many years of decline.
Many challenges remain for manufacturers
The Baromètre survey of 500 businesses with 10 to 500 employees also brings to light numerous problems facing Quebec manufacturing SMEs. For example, specialized employee recruitment remains a major drag on growth for 75% of the respondents. Furthermore, SME investments in equipment went back to the same level as in 2014, with 30% of the respondents investing more than 5 % of the revenues in equipment, while investments in R&D were about the same level as the previous year with 16 % investing the same portion in R&D.
Businesses that invest and innovate perform better
Faced with these major challenges, some manufacturers are forging ahead and finding new ways to set themselves apart from the competition. The STIQ survey shows that businesses that invest heavily in equipment, R&D and ICT are more likely to enjoy strong sales growth, sell outside Quebec and hire. It is interesting to note that this indicator contradicts the preconceived notion that investments necessarily translate into staff reduction.
STIQ also surveyed SMEs on innovative initiatives, such as manufacturing new or improved products, developing or improving processes, implementing new organization methods, or developing new marketing techniques. The Baromètre survey shows that the vast majority of businesses (89%) took at least one type of innovative action in the past three years which, if the trend continues, augurs well for the improved competitiveness of our industry. It should be noted as well that businesses that innovated substantially (four types of innovation) clearly stand out in terms of customer renewal, sales and employee growth, and a significantly higher probability of selling abroad.
"The survey findings confirm what we've been recommending to business leaders for years as part of our business analyses: firms that make courageous business decisions, that plan, that make substantial investments and that embrace innovation achieve much better results than those that don't," says Richard Blanchet, President and CEO of STIQ.
"The challenges facing the manufacturing sector, identified by the Baromètre survey, were the key topic of discussion of Investissement Québec's Innovative Manufacturing Initiative. We worked with 60 or so businesses and organizations, including STIQ, to form an action plan to spur the industry. Together, we proposed 10 solutions to push our innovative manufacturers to the next level," explains Pierre Gabriel Côté, President and CEO of Investissement Québec.
To read the complete survey: www.stiq.com
STIQ is a multi-industry association of Quebec-based manufacturers whose mission is to improve the competitiveness of manufacturing supply chains in order to promote the development of Quebec's economy. With the largest manufacturing network in Quebec, STIQ acts as a performance facilitator by creating fruitful networking and managing customized improvement programs.
For further information: Michelle Vyboh, Communications Coordinator, STIQ, Telephone: 514-658-7159, Email: [email protected], Website: www.stiq.com, Twitter: @STIQRéseau