Automation buyers dissatisfied with suppliers' online responses


Sep 01, 2005

RESULTS OF a July 2005 study revealed problems in the way many industrial suppliers respond to product and service-related inquiries from prospective buyers, particularly when requesting information by e-mail. Only 20% of respondents say they receive data requested from suppliers consistently (which was defined as 95% of the time), while 43% report waiting three to seven days to receive a response to their e-mail inquiries.

Fourth Annual Industrial Indicator Survey Results — Summer 2005

Ninety-one percent of the survey participants say they have used the Internet to find components and suppliers. Forty-one percent spend six or more hours weekly on the Internet for work-related purposes. Seventy-five percent use at least two search engines when searching the Internet for work-related purposes, and 41% prefer suppliers’ web sites for contacting suppliers. 

These views were expressed in surveys conducted by GlobalSpec, a specialized search engine for the engineering community.

Other results paint a mixed landscape for the manufacturing economy. The U.S. industrial sector is less optimistic about increases in component and services spending during the second half of 2005 than it was at this time in 2004, according to a new survey of industrial organizations on U.S. economic conditions. 

The good news: a significant portion of respondents (92%) expect their firms’ overall 2005 revenue will be ahead of or the same as their year-ending 2004 revenue. At mid-year, 83% said revenue is running ahead of or on target for 2005. 

These results suggest a steady improvement in the industrial sector over the past few years. GlobalSpec's comparable mid-year 2002 survey found just 64% saying revenues were ahead of or on target for that year. Companies reporting headcount reductions at mid-year 2005 also are far fewer than in previous years. Eighteen percent of respondents report headcount reductions this year, compared to 42% at the same point in 2002.

Additional findings from GlobalSpec's mid-year 2005 surveys:
  • Twenty-two percent say their companies increased prices in 2005, compared to 16% in 2004
  • Fifty-five percent say that improving production efficiencies is the top operating issue facing their company, followed closely by improving quality (52%), lowering raw material costs (51%), and speeding new product development (49%). Only 34% cited rising energy costs as a source of worry, while just 20% say offshore competition is a key concern.
  • Forty-seven percent say they expect to see a shortage of newly-licensed engineers entering the field over the next five years.

Results from the surveys can be accessed at