By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager
While manufacturers are finding plenty of business, their current challenges are supply chain and staffing issues, says one industry pro.“It's really just a perfect storm,” said Jason Tuma, CPA, partner at Sikich. “Usually, businesses are stressed out about growing, but now the business is there. And their hands are tied behind their back with the people and supply chain issues.”
In the Sikich Industry Pulse report, 81% of manufacturing and distribution executives in 2021 rated their optimism at a seven or higher on a scale of one to 10. A year later, only 58% of that same group rate their optimism at a seven or higher.
“They can't find engineers, they can't find mechanics, they can't find truck drivers, they can't find a controller,” he said. “This problem is not going away.”
The report lists the top three reasons for the lowered optimism are inflation and economic decline, supply chain obstacles and talent acquisition obstacles.
Manufacturers need to continue to be creative with how they attract people, Tuma said, and reimagine pay structures, benefits packages, recruiting strategies and more. Until they’re able to hire more staff, innovation is crucial.
“People think robots are a huge dollar investment, but there are little things you can do in robotics to chip away and make smaller investments to bring innovation into your process,” he said. “Innovation is going to continue to be a priority to try to get the work done with less people.”
It’s a crucial time for CPAs to act as trusted advisers with their manufacturing clients, Tuma said, and be bold about bringing their expertise to these conversations. Inflation, inventory and more are all areas where CPAs can help guide clients in the right direction.
“CPAs now more than ever really need to just have constant contact with their clients,” he said. “They need to have these types of conversations to help out however they can.”
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