IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 20, 2012) -  Sage North America announced today the results of a snapshot survey of small and midsized business (SMB) manufacturers on the general health of their businesses and use of their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The snapshot revealed that SMB manufacturers have added jobs, are more optimistic than not about the economy, and their ERP systems have helped serve their customers' needs while contributing to the success of their businesses. Sage, a leading provider of business management software and services to more than 6 million small and midsized businesses worldwide, conducted the survey among 134 executives of SMB manufacturers with fewer than 100 employees.

The snapshot revealed that hiring in the SMB manufacturing sector ticked up, as 73 percent of respondents reported hiring staff within the last six months. In a possible indication of future growth in the SMB manufacturing segment, a third of respondents plan to add staff within the next six months, while 53 percent intend to maintain the same level of employment over the next six months.

When asked about the specific conditions of their own manufacturing business over the next six months:

  • 49 percent believed that new orders would increase. 
  • 47 percent felt that production would increase.
  • 23 percent believed that inventories would increase.

When questioned about the role their ERP system has played in the success of their businesses, 67 percent responded that their systems were helping them better serve their customers. Fifty-six percent of respondents felt that their ERP systems have either definitely or somewhat actively contributed to the expansion of their companies.

When asked how their sales personnel are using their ERP system, 63 percent said they use it for quotes, 74 percent for order fulfillment, 59 percent to check for product availability and 44 percent for forecasting.

Two-thirds felt that their accounting or ERP system has helped them better serve their customers in the areas of product delivery efficiencies, open order tracking, raw material forecasts, and shorter lead times.

"Manufacturing continues to play an important role in the American economy, and for this reason, we wanted to gauge the health and stability of this sector. While the findings show slightly different outcomes than recent national reports, we're glad that our results seem to indicate that SMB manufacturers are hiring -- and will continue to hire in the coming months -- and that generally they're optimistic about their businesses," said Joe Langner, executive vice president -- mid-market solutions for Sage North America. "We're also pleased that Sage ERP appears to be playing a major role in helping manufacturers deliver great customer experiences, which, in turn, have contributed to their success."

While respondents showed optimism about their own business prospects, they were not as optimistic about the overall economy. Only 27 percent believe that the economy will grow over the next six months, while 57 percent believe that the economy will stay the same. The remaining 16 percent believe that the economy will contract over the next six months.

The snapshot survey was conducted by email invitation to a panel of U.S. manufacturing executives between July 11 and August 1, 2012. Seventy percent of respondents had between 10 and 100 employees, and two-thirds of them manufactured durable goods. This survey of manufacturers reflects a target population with a margin of error of plus or minus 7%, nine times out of ten.

The full findings can be found here.

About Sage
Sage is a leading global supplier of business management software and services for small and midsized businesses. The Sage Group plc, formed in 1981, was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1989 and now employs more than 12,600 people and supports more than 6 million customers worldwide. For more information about Sage in North America, please visit the company website at Follow Sage North America on Facebook,, and Twitter,

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