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Supply Chain & Labor Top List of Risks in Manufacturing Industry - BDO USA Report

Companies mentioned in this article: BDO

The manufacturing industry is poised for growth in 2014. Still, the second annual BDO USA, LLP analysis of risk factors listed in the most recent 10-K filings of the largest 100 publicly traded U.S. manufacturers found that they will contend with a number of challenges as they work to capitalize on an improving economy and increased capital spending. Chief among them is working to achieve a secure and efficient supply chain, a risk cited by 100 percent of manufacturers this year, up from 83 percent in 2013. Manufacturers are increasingly concerned about forecasting errors which could lead to backlogs or shortages, as well as quality issues they may encounter with suppliers. Moreover, 88 percent of manufacturers note risks related to natural disasters, which could cause transportation breakdowns and significant delays.

CHICAGO -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Significant concerns over additional exposures caused by the global nature of supply chains are fueling the reshoring trend in the manufacturing industry. But according to the 2014 BDO Manufacturing RiskFactor Report, manufacturers are contending with a number of U.S. labor challenges. In fact, labor was cited by 97 percent of manufacturers as a risk this year, up notably from 2013 (75 percent). The manufacturing workforce is being squeezed as growth fuels more demand for workers and a greater number of baby boomers are retiring. Moreover, the skills gap among prospective workers is leaving available jobs unfilled.

“Growth in the economy and an increase in capital spending is excellent news for the manufacturing industry,” said Howard Sosoff, Manufacturing & Distribution practice leader at BDO USA, LLP. “But with greater opportunity comes greater challenges. Manufacturers will face intense competition this year as they work to attract new orders and workers and expand their capabilities.”

The following chart highlights the top 20 risk factors cited by the 100 largest U.S. manufacturing companies:



              2014     2013

U.S. and Foreign Supplier/Vendor Concerns

and Distribution Disruptions

      100%     83%
#2       Federal, State and/or Local Regulations       99%     96%
#3       Labor Concerns; Underfunded Pensions       97%     75%
#4       General Economic Conditions       96%     98%
#4t       Commodity/Raw Material Prices       96%     86%
#6       Competition & Consolidation in Manufacturing       94%     92%
#7       Threats to International Operations       91%     87%
#8       Management of Mergers & Acquisitions       89%     80%
#8t       Access to Capital       89%     78%
#10       Currency/Foreign Exchange Fluctuation       88%     73%
#10t       Natural Disasters, Terrorism and Geo-Political Events       88%     68%
#12       Environmental Laws, Regulations & Liability       87%     86%
#12t       Changes to Accounting Standards and Regulations       87%     66%
#14       Less Demand for Products       86%     91%
#15       Failure to Properly Execute Business Strategy       82%     74%
#16       Maintaining IT Systems & Operational Infrastructure       80%     75%
#17       Legal Proceedings       79%     57%
#18       Ability to Innovate to Meet Changing Customer Needs       78%     69%
#18t       Privacy Concerns Related to Security Breach       78%     64%
#20       Restrictive International Trade Policies       77%     66%

t indicates a tie in the risk factor ranking


Further findings in the 2014 BDO Manufacturing RiskFactor Report:

Conflict Mineral Disclosure Drives Regulatory Risks. Manufacturers also report significant challenges when it comes to regulation. Nearly all (99 percent) cite federal state or local regulation as a risk factor and 87 percent note concern over accounting standards and regulations, up from 66 percent in 2013. Manufacturers point to the June 2nd deadline to file disclosures about the use of conflict minerals as a key compliance challenge which could prove costly to their business. In addition, an increased focus on internal controls by auditors and regulators is putting added pressure on manufacturers.

M&A Risks Rise Amid Increased Competition. Growth in the manufacturing industry is also leading to fierce competition for resources, workers and speed to market. Ninety-four percent of manufacturers cite competition and consolidation as a risk this year, and as seen by the recent Hillshire Farms and Pinnacle deal in the food processing industry, many are turning to acquisitions to gain an edge. More manufacturers (89 percent, up from 80 percent in 2013) cite risks related to mergers and acquisitions, a sign that many are looking outside their company to gain access to new technologies, IP, products and distribution channels to improve their market position.

IP Protection Heightens Data Security Risks. High profile data breaches have businesses in all industries on edge. According to Verizon, the manufacturing industry accounted for less than one percent of security incidents in 2013, but nearly one-in-four of those incidents involved data loss. While manufacturers store less consumer data than their customers in the retail industry, the protection of intellectual property is crucial, and any loss could threaten manufacturers’ ability to compete effectively. As a result, 78 percent of manufacturers cite risks related to data security this year, up from 64 percent in 2013. Moreover, the protection of intellectual property and rising concerns over security are also likely contributing to the increase in manufacturers citing litigation risks (79 percent, up from 57 percent in 2013).

The 2014 BDO Manufacturing RiskFactor Report examines the risk factors in the most recent 10-K filings of the largest 100 publicly traded U.S. manufacturers across five sectors including fabricated metal, food processing, machinery, plastics and rubbers, and transportation equipment. The factors were analyzed and ranked by order of frequency cited.

About BDO

BDO is the brand name for BDO USA, LLP, a U.S. professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. For more than 100 years, BDO has provided quality service through the active involvement of experienced and committed professionals. The firm serves clients through 52 offices and more than 400 independent alliance firm locations nationwide. As an independent Member Firm of BDO International Limited, BDO serves multi-national clients through a global network of 1,264 offices in 144 countries.

BDO USA, LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership, is the U.S. member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. For more information please visit:

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