The CFO'S Perspective

Syncing Product Development and Finance in Manufacturing

Without products to sell a manufacturer cannot exist. But without products that sell profitably, it will not stay in business. This is where product development and finance intersect.

Strong financial leadership will ensure that the products being developed are right for the market, priced correctly, and attracting key customers. In an ideal scenario, it looks something like this:

  1. Finance will provide the data required to make product decisions
  2. Product development will use that information to shape product features and functionality
  3. Finance will close the loop by analyzing company performance across the current product mix

This process should be cyclical, with a steady flow of communication between both groups to ensure that the company is constantly evaluating profitability to make strategic revenue decisions. As the head of finance, the CFO should spearhead these efforts.

Topics: Manufacturing

What will Manufacturing Pay Increases Look like in 2023?

According to CFO Dive, next year US employers are planning the highest pay raises in 15 years. Overwhelmingly, the executives surveyed cited a tight labor market as their main driver, with 73% indicating that they would be increasing wages to attract and retain their labor force. However, with national wages expected to rise by an average of 4.1%, these pay raises still would not offset the recent drop in real earnings due to rising inflation.

While the national average for wage increases is expected to be around 4% next year, manufacturing is one vertical where pay increases have historically lagged behind the rest of the market’s growth due to stringent control over wages by management and pushback against rising wage trends. So, how much will manufacturers increase wages next year?

Topics: Manufacturing

The Habits of Highly Effective Manufacturing CFOs

Manufacturing CFOs are a unique breed. These financial leaders must not only encompass the typical traits of highly successful CFOs but also thrive in a quickly changing environment. The fast-paced, innovation-centric nature of manufacturing requires a distinct skillset from its leadership. As a result, even CFOs that thrive in other industries can find the role at a manufacturer more challenging because manufacturing has its own financial nuances and requires a commitment to continuous learning.

So, how do you find a CFO that will succeed in the role? Look for the following characteristics:

Topics: Manufacturing

How are Inflationary Pressures Affecting Manufacturers?

With US inflation rates rising rapidly small and large manufacturers alike are being affected by inflationary pressures in much the same way, although small manufacturers will undoubtedly feel the sting of rising inflation more deeply than their larger counterparts. These pressures are being further exacerbated by:

Knowing that a recession may be coming does not tell us when, why, or how it may occur. However, paired with dropping small business and consumer confidence, a looming recession is only going to worsen the effects of rising inflation rates on US manufacturers.

Topics: Economic Trends Manufacturing COVID-19

Evaluating Supply Chain Options – Offshoring vs. Reshoring

Should we pursue foreign manufacturing operations?

The last two years have shown the fragility of foreign supply chains. What were once relatively stable supply chains are now fraught with problems ranging from logistics/shipping delays, government lockdowns, material shortages, labor shortages, and changing political environments leading to increased duties and tariffs.

How do we proceed from here?

To alleviate some global supply chain problems, do we onshore our foreign manufacturing operations back to the United States?

Or are we still interested in foreign markets with low labor costs?

Topics: Manufacturing Supply Chain

How Your CFO Can Manage Supply Chain Disruptions

Import shipping from Asia has become a nightmare. According to McKinsey & Company, shipping costs for a 40-foot container have increased over five-fold in 2021, from $2,000 per container to $13,000. Container ships that finally arrive on the West Coast often have to wait offshore for a dock to open to offload their cargo. Once unloaded, containers can spend days or weeks in the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, or Port of Seattle until rescued by a truck or intermodal train.

Topics: Trends Planning Manufacturing

The Risk of Increased Sales Growth in Manufacturing

This article is specifically focused on the issues and problems that a significant sales increase (30% plus increase due to activities such as a new product line, a new distribution channel, or a major new customer) can have on the existing organization that could potentially offset the gains from the increased sales if not properly addressed or anticipated.

When there is such a profound change in an organization due to significant growth, there are many ways this anticipated windfall can turn into an albatross and bring a company to its knees or reduce the anticipated benefit of profit.

I am taking an accountant’s approach to understand the impact of a significant increase in sales can have on an organization. I will take you through the components of an income statement and balance sheet to discuss how each line item can be adversely impacted by a seemingly windfall in sales and profits.

Topics: Planning Manufacturing

CAMPS Recognizes Achievements in Manufacturing - We Were There

On November 15, 2018 CAMPS (Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound) celebrated the successes and achievements in manufacturing in the Puget Sound region.  Regence, Capital Benefit Services and Shannon & Associates sponsored the fabulous event. The emcee for the evening was Randy Gardiner, President of CAMPS Board of Directors.

Members of the CFO Selections team were in attendance. We were again impressed by the character and expertise of the attendees and those recognized with awards (both past and present). CAMPS continues to stand out as a valuable organization we recommend.

This is an important event because it recognizes companies and people who are remarkable and often go unnoticed. Their commitment is not a headline in a tweet or newsfeed. 

Topics: Events Awards Manufacturing