Indiana manufacturing industry bounces back from pandemic


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana’s manufacturing industry has survived the initial impacts of the pandemic and is expected to end the year strong. An annual survey that tracks the trends of the industry revealed the bounce back.

The Indiana Manufacturing Survey, conducted by Katz, Sapper & Miller, along with Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business at IUPUI and the Indiana Manufactures Association, focused on more than 100 Indiana-based companies. 93% of the companies were poised to survive the year.

“Manufacturing has definitely rebounded,” Zach Sauder of Katz, Sapper & Miller told WANE 15. What I’ve seen working with a lot of businesses, some can’t get it out the door fast enough. They’re just really busy. Their industry hasn’t been impacted. And then there’s others that you talk to and they’re struggling to make it through. It is pretty crazy – the wide range you see – the tale of two economies.”

Nearly half of the businesses that responded to the survey credited the Paycheck Protection Program for helping keep their companies up and running. Another 42% of the companies survey said they were able to survive by changing the way they do business.

“The fact that 42%of the people that responded to this story said that they figured out how to adapt in this new environment and to still be successful, to me that’s a pretty cool story,” Sauder said. “It goes to show how innovated our Indiana companies are and how they’ve been able to manage through this, because nobody’s been through it. It’s the first time in most everybody’s lifetime that this has happened.”

Big changes made include improvements to telecommunications capabilities, flexible work practices, hygienic work environments, digital marketing efforts and supply chain and automation innovations. The changes made in 2020 will be beneficial to 2021.

“I would suspect that you are going to see traditionalists merge back to traditional pre-COVID work lifestyle,” Sauder added. “But I think you’re going to see a lot of businesses that are like ‘you know what, I like this approach. I don’t need Suzie to come in the office every day or I don’t need Tom here every day.'”

The businesses were also asked how well they thought their companies were supported by the government. 74% of Hoosier manufacturers approved of the federal government’s assistance and 87% of the state’s help.

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