Key takeaways

  • Most U.S. manufacturers agree that increased growth and investment opportunities are on the horizon, despite some of the uncertainties related to global trade.

  • Four out of five U.S. manufacturers are preparing for an increase in automation technology.

  • However, a major issue looms: a lack of skilled workers to support the digital factories of the future.

  • Workforce investments, not downsizing, are a priority for manufacturers as they prepare for automation advances.

  • Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled products are piquing the interest of manufacturers, but most are still caught in early development stages.


L.E.K. Consulting recently surveyed approximately 200 decision-makers across seven manufacturing industries to gain their perspectives on the near-term outlook for U.S.-based manufacturing. In this Executive Insights, we delve into the key findings from this proprietary research, including:

  • Manufacturers’ overall bullish outlook on investment and opportunities
  • Strategic imperatives that consist of continued investment in automation, Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled products and the evolution of customer-centricity 
  • Increasing concerns about continued access to skilled labor