M&A Trends to Watch in 2016

Merger-and-acquisition activity remains in line with recent averages, but key changes and trends may affect those deals in 2016. An expert covers the five key factors for this year.

Merger-and-acquisition activity remains in line with recent averages, but key changes and trends may affect those deals in 2016. An expert covers the five key factors for this year.AMID ECONOMIC STRESSES AND HEIGHTENED GLOBAL UNCERTAINTY, the manufacturing sector continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate than in
years past. As measured by the Institute of Supply Chain Management’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), the manufacturing sector is experiencing its slowest growth in two years, and production growth in the U.S. is below its 20- year historical average. Deal volume may be down compared to 2014, but it is in line with average M&A activity for the sector since 2010. There is plenty of activity that can be expected in the near future, and in this article we will discuss five key factors that will affect M&A in manufacturing in 2016.

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The Cloud and Lean Management

Companies that change their processes, but not the outdated and nonintegrated applications beneath them, are simply hacking at leaves – expending energy but achieving little.

Companies that change their processes, but not the outdated and nonintegrated applications beneath them, are simply hacking at leaves – expending energy but achieving little.MANUFACTURERS WHO WANT TO IMPROVE THEIR MANUFACTURING practices often find they need to start at the bottom—with the IT systems that support those processes. Streamlined, lean processes won't work without an integrated, cross-enterprise IT platform to support them. Companies that change their processes, but not the outdated and non-integrated applications beneath them, are simply hacking at leaves—expending energy but achieving little.

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The Silver Lining in New Invoicing Rules

The upside of electronic invoicing requirements is automated receiving processes for efficiency in distribution and supply chain management.

The upside of electronic invoicing requirements is automated receiving processes for efficiency in distribution and supply chain management.GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS aren’t typically known for helping businesses streamline processes and increase efficiencies, but that’s exactly what’s happening as governments around the globe have begun requiring businesses to implement electronic invoicing. The standardization required is speeding up the introduction of automated receiving processes and creating efficiencies in distribution and supply chain management.

To understand these hidden benefits of mandated e-invoicing, it’s important to first examine the state of e-invoicing globally. Currently, there are three models for invoicing: 1) Traditional, paper-based invoicing with no government intervention (like the United States), 2) government-influenced e-invoicing, in which legislators regulate public sector transactions (primarily found in the European Union), and 3) government-mandated e-invoicing, when tax authorities require strict pro cess es and formats for all business transactions (most notably found throughout Latin America).

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Innovation’s Golden Opportunity

In a society with an “excess of everything,” a manufacturing or distribution business needs to be able to provide unique and clearly defined value propositions in order to gain that crucial market share.

In a society with an “excess of everything,” a manufacturing or distribution business needs to be able to provide unique and clearly defined value propositions in order to gain that crucial market share.FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, OUR ECONOMY HAS BEEN GROWING AT ROUGHLY a 1 percent annual GDP. This can be considered marginal growth. In order to provide adequate opportunity for business growth, this number really needs to be closer to around 3 percent or better. In the current environment, the ability to innovate and position a business above and beyond the competition is critical. In a society where we have what some would consider to be an “excess of everything,” a manufacturing or distribution business needs to be able to provide unique and clearly defined value propositions in order to gain that crucial market share. For example, a particular company’s product may be third, fourth or fifth choice in the average customer’s mind when making a purchasing decision. If the value proposition for what is provided is not clearly defined and impactful, that specific company will eventually fail. The days when a company can be average and still sustain a healthy bottom line are over. It’s important to understand that the landscape of the world economy is shifting, and that innovation is a necessity for sustaining business growth.

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Cloud Considerations for the Industry

As enticing as the benefits may be, shifting to the cloud is not necessarily a “no-brainer” for manufacturers and distributors. The issue has to be broken down by application.

As enticing as the benefits may be, shifting to the cloud is not necessarily a “no-brainer” for manufacturers and distributors. The issue has to be broken down by application.FOUR YEARS AGO, THE HYPE ABOUT THE CLOUD WAS REACHING FEVER pitch and with good reason. The cloud promised consumers a way to store massive amounts of data in a safe, easy-to-access, and cost-effective manner. It offered business users the promise of cheap access to computing services accessible from anywhere without any setup. Today, the hype has become reality and the cloud is part of everyday life. By the end of 2015, end-user spending on cloud services is expected to surpass $180 billion. Four out of five cloud adopters report process improvements within six months of moving to the cloud, while 82% indicate significant cost savings.

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