OESA/HRI Automotive Tooling Barometer: Skilled Labor Remains Lead Issue Facing Manufacturing

OESA/HRI Automotive Tooling Barometer: Skilled Labor Remains Lead Issue Facing Manufacturing

The Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) and Harbour Results, Inc., (HRI) recently released the results of their Q3 2017 Automotive Tooling Barometer. The survey results show that the tooling industry experienced a strong third quarter, with die shops in particular experiencing a spike in capacity utilization (88 percent) and mold shops reaching 81 percent capacity. Shops with revenue ranges of $10 to $20M are experiencing peak capacity utilization rates of 87 percent.

“Even though mold shops are slightly less utilized than die shops, average profitability numbers across the industry are still very close,” said Laurie Harbour, president and CEO of HRI. “That being said, the top performing tool shops average eight points more profit compared to the averages.”

The cyclical nature of work-on-hold continues, as it falls to 8.6 percent, the lowest it has been since this study started in 2014. Despite record low work-on-hold numbers, overall sentiment (a tool shop’s general outlook for the next three months) dropped two percentage points, but still remains in the overwhelmingly positive range.

The slight decrease in sentiment is likely due to the continued hurdles the tooling industry is facing. Overall, skilled labor (38 percent) stands out as the foremost issue in the industry, followed by on-time delivery (18 percent) and profitability (14 percent). These key issues vary considerably depending on factors such as a shop’s profitability, type and geography.

“The shortage of skilled labor is a major concern for both U.S. and Canadian shops in multiple processes – mold, die and plastic molding,” said Julie A. Fream, president and CEO, OESA. “In order to combat this issue, it’s necessary that these companies implement a talent acquisition program to educate, attract and hire young people with the aptitude to work in the tool and die industry.”

The survey population was comprised of mold shops (77 percent) and die shops (23 percent), both in the U.S. (70 percent) and Canada (30 percent). Shops with revenue ranges less than $5M up to greater than $40M were represented, with the largest percentage of shops coming from the $10-$20M (30 percent) range.

About the OESA/HRI Tooling Barometer
The OESA Automotive Tooling Barometer survey series was created by the OESA Tooling Council with the partnership of Harbour Results, Inc. to provide an indicator of the current state of the automotive tooling industry, and the perception of the near-term prospects for the industry. The OESA Automotive Tooling Barometer captures the sentiment of the major companies in this market. A full copy of the September OESA Automotive Tooling Barometer results is available here.

About HRI, Inc.
Harbour Results, Inc. a leading business and operational consulting firm for the manufacturing industry offers operational and strategic advisory expertise, and proprietary assessment programs to help optimize a business’s performance. Focused on small- to medium-sized manufacturers, many of which are family-owned or privately held, HRI utilizes its knowledge, experience and relationships to build upon the established foundation with sound strategies and operational improvement. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, Harbour Results was founded in 2005 by industry analyst Laurie Harbour. Today, the Harbour Results team is comprised of manufacturing experts, and clients also have exclusive access to Harbour Results’ network of partner companies and worldwide resources.

About OESA
OESA’s mission is to champion the business interests of automotive original equipment (OE) suppliers. Since 1998, the Association has been addressing issues of common concern and advocating on behalf of the supplier community throughout the supply chain and in Washington, D.C.
OESA is one of four divisions of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). All divisions are represented by MEMA’s advocacy and emerging technology expertise. For additional information, visit http://www.oesa.org.

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