More than half of the respondents expect sales to increase or remain stable despite the ongoing impact of the global pandemic.
One in five said sales are up while 36% indicated sales are stable due to strong pipeline orders and increase in customer demand.
Despite this, 45% of respondents said sales are down as a result of Covid-19, citing reasons such as supply chain disruptions, reduced demand for new products, limited international sales and the inability to meet with dealers and customers.
A ranking of the biggest challenges for 2021 placed the Covid-19 pandemic and employee safety at the top. It is followed by lack of talent/ workforce challenges, regulatory challenges, tariffs and modifications to tax code, internal re-organisations and supply chain disruptions, price of inputs, reduced demand.
More than two thirds said trade shows will be different following the pandemic while a quarter believe these events will remain the same.
Eight out of ten people said the pandemic will have a lasting effect on how work is carried out, citing reasons such as a greater emphasis on remote work, fewer in-person meetings/ more online commerce and new tools and technology to stay connected.
Nearly half the participants indicated their work productivity increased during the pandemic while 36% said their efficiency went down.
One in five revealed the pandemic caused them to consider retiring early, while eight in ten said the global health crisis has not impacted their retirements plans.
AEM president Dennis Slater says: “The equipment manufacturing industry has continued to operate throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has successfully adjusted to challenges to make the equipment that builds, feeds, and powers our country. Equipment manufacturers have begun to turn the corner. We now need Congress and the president to pass long-overdue legislation that will invest in and modernise our nation’s infrastructure.”
The online survey was targeted to employees of AEM member companies and includes results from more than 130 respondents, including CEOs, vice presidents and sales and operations leaders.