In times of dwindling funds, an economical management of innovation has become an absolutely crucial must-have, according to a recent survey. 

Against the background of the financial and car manufacturer crisis a survey by management consulting firm Homburg & Partner asked 201 US companies in the metal-forming and fabricating industry to give a 2009-2010 outlook on market development and to specify key success factors of the industry.

Innovation was pinpointed as the top key success factor for the next three years by more than 25 percent of the surveyed companies. In times of dwindling funds, an economical management of innovation has become an absolutely crucial must-have. For prudential budgeting, innovation more than ever needs to be cost-oriented and driven by the market rather than by intrinsic engineering.

Efficient automation is the imperative goal when dealing with production costs and process management, which considered together form the most important key factors for 30 percent of the participants.

Fueled by the opening of economies such as China, the globalization’s pressure on US companies is more and more seen as a chance rather than a threat. Nearly 15 percent of the surveyed companies see expanding into global markets as the key success factor.

Most of the companies surveyed forecast growing markets: In the United States, the industry’s growth is estimated as 7 percent in 2009 and 10 percent in 2010 and worldwide as 12 percent in 2009 and 15 percent in 2010.

Yet survey participants with upper-management titles generally hold back a bit with the rate. About one third concur that the U.S. financial crisis will not render into a cash-flow problem, yet it is commonly agreed that the financial crisis has a negative effect on growth rates for the metal- forming and fabricating market. While the crisis of the automotive producers is also seen as a threat, management perceives it less critically.

However, Homburg & Partner’s in-depth discussions have shown that top management of market leaders predominantly disagree with the highly positive growth-rates of U.S. markets and instead expect that they stay flat or perhaps increase just slightly positive with up to 2 percent in 2009, depending on the regarded segment. Energy is the only segment that is expected to be growing stronger. The survey reflects the industry’s point of view at the beginning of October and comes at a time where General Motors and Ford are having a very hard 2008, global stock markets have lost value immensely and investment banks cease to exist.

Homburg & Partner Inc. is a Massachusetts-based international management-consulting firm with a highly methodical and practical expertise in consulting, market research and Implementation Support. Its consulting focus is on strategic sales and marketing. While in the field of implementation-oriented market research, Homburg & Partner offers the full range of customer, market and competitor analyses using all established data collection and analysis methods on a worldwide basis.