Three areas impacting Minnesota manufacturers today

Samantha Erkkila, Digital Media Specialist

April 11, 2022

On March 30, the Entrepreneur Fund sponsored the State of Manufacturing event hosted by Enterprise Minnesota. The event’s purpose was to share the results of its 2021 survey.

Northland manufacturers and business professionals at the event held at Lake Superior College learned about the challenges and opportunities impacting the manufacturing industry in Minnesota.  

Here were the main takeaways from the event.

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly had an impact on the manufacturing industry last year. And while revenue and profits aren’t at pre-pandemic levels, Minnesota manufactures are seeing signs that business is improving.

According to the survey, 87% of manufacturers in the state said they remain confident that their companies will continue to succeed.

Supply chain woes

For the first time, supply chain issues topped the list across the state with 67% of manufacturers saying it was their biggest concern of 2021. During the event, a manufacturing business owner from Hibbing shared that his biggest challenge lately has been high steel prices.

Manufactures said the supply chain issues and rising costs of materials most directly impacted their capacity to grow their business. As did attracting and retaining a qualified workforce. 

Attracting and retaining workers

Issues pertaining to workforce hit their highest level in 2021, with 50% of companies saying it was one of their top two challenges that might negatively impact their growth. This was especially pertinent to larger companies with over 50 employees and over $5 million in revenue.

Many manufactures in attendance said they are having a more difficult time finding qualified and skilled workers and are instead doing most of the employee onboarding and training themselves. Many reported that they have open positions are being more flexible to the needs of their employees and creating a better workplace environment.  

Stacy Johnston, Entrepreneur Fund Expert and founder of Audacity HR, recently provided tips on how to hire in this environment. She said, “Northland employers that build relationships, align recruiting efforts with their values, and attract a diverse pool of talent and will enhance their ability to hire in this competitive environment.”

Future of cybersecurity

While cybersecurity wasn’t considered a top-tier concern in the 2021 survey, manufacturers in Minnesota are keeping their eye on it and see it as an area to improve upon. Survey results showed that only 15% of manufacturing companies said they’ve been hacked or experienced a breach of some kind.

Similarly, 84% feel their company is secure from hacking, data breaches or other technological threats. That level of confidence falls to 74% among companies that have experienced a breach.

At the Entrepreneur Fund we are a dedicated partner to growing manufacturers across the region. As a flexible lender, we will work with you to find the best loan to meet your needs and goals. Contact us to get the conversation started.  

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