A new study of nearly 650 Georgia manufacturing companies underscores the importance of innovation as a competitive strategy – at a time when international outsourcing continues to impact Georgias manufacturing community.
The 2005 Georgia Manufacturing Survey shows that companies basing their competitive strategies on the development of innovative products or processes enjoy higher returns on sales, pay better wages and have less to fear from outsourcing than do manufacturers relying on other competitive strategies.
Totals add to more than 100 percent because some respondents indicated more than one top competitive strategy).
The percentage of companies competing on the basis of low cost declined from 27 in 2002 to 20 percent in 2004. Youtie and Shapira speculate thats because many companies using that strategy have simply gone out of business. "Low price will bring in more sales for a while, but its hard to keep that up," Youtie noted. "You have to compete with companies in countries with even lower cost structures."
For decision-makers, the studys implications are clear. "Firms, industry associations, universities and state and local policymakers all need to be involved in new efforts to stimulate many more of our small, mid-sized and larger industrial enterprises to invest in the innovative strategies that will help them not only to survive, but also to grow," Shapira said.
Other findings of the 2005 Georgia Manufacturing Survey included:
The survey was sent to approximately 4,000 Georgia manufacturers that had 10 or more employees. Completed surveys from 648 manufacturers were weighted to reflect employment and industry distributions.
The Georgia Manufacturing Survey is conducted periodically to assess the condition of Georgias manufacturing industry. In addition to the authors already named, Georgia Tech School of Public Policy Graduate Students John Slanina, Jue Wang and Jingjang Zhang provided research assistance for the 2005 study.
The project was supported by the U.S. Department of Commerces NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Center for Paper and Business and Industry Studies at Georgia Tech, the Georgia Department of Labor, and the QuickStart Program of the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education.
Technical Contacts: Jan Youtie (404-894-6111); E-mail: (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Phil Shapira (404-894-7735); E-mail: (email@example.com)
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