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Report: Manufacturers not doing enough to protect against cyber threats

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"Innovative technology can reduce manual tasks and help manufacturers improve customer service and achieve overall efficiency and profitability gains," Wagner said. "This, in turn, impacts the bottom line. Manufacturers should take full advantage of technology such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to improve operational processes. Those companies that commit to leveraging technology throughout their operations will improve response time with customers, ease cost pressures and enjoy a competitive advantage."

Amid economic doubts, R&D investment low

The Sikich report found that more than half of manufacturers and distributors do not expect the industry to expand in the next 12 months. Further, only 29% say they are more optimistic about the US economy compared to the last 12 months, and 31% say they believe the world economy will grow over the next 12 months.

At the same time, the findings suggest that many manufacturers and distributors are not doing enough to put themselves in a position to innovate and grow. The report found that more than 80% invest less than 5% of sales in research and development.

"In today's rapidly changing and hyper-competitive economy, manufacturers who neglect R&D will lose a competitive edge," Wagner said. "The good news is there are opportunities in the tax code that can help manufacturers boost R&D activities. Companies should leverage all available tax credits and look to expand R&D spending to ensure long-term growth."



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