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U.S. Manufacturing CEOs More Confident Than Global Peers About Their Innovation Journeys: KPMG Study

Manufacturing CEO’s Confident About Innovation Journey

Operational risks seen as greatest threat to growth


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Operational risks seen as greatest threat to growth

More than 9 in 10 U.S. manufacturing CEOs are confident their companies are keeping pace with technology disruption and innovation, according to the 2018 KPMG Global Manufacturing Outlook. Conversely, only-two thirds of global manufacturing CEOs express that same level of confidence in their innovation journeys, and 34 percent admit they are struggling to keep pace.

The KPMG research features results from an in depth survey of 73 U.S. manufacturing CEOs and 299 global manufacturing CEOs. Follow the conversation on @KPMGUS_News using the hashtag: #GMOoutlook

  • Only 23 percent of U.S. CEOs feel lead times to achieve significant progress on transformation seems overwhelming compared to a staggering 71 percent of global CEOs
  • Eighty-five percent of U.S. CEOs said rather than waiting to be disrupted by competitors, their organizations are actively disrupting the sector in which they operate compared to just 53 percent of global CEOs

“Manufacturers are facing an unprecedented convergence of tech-driven change,” said Doug Gates, KPMG’s Global Chair of Manufacturing. “While some CEOs are expressing greater confidence in their innovation journey, it’s clear all CEOs recognize a failure to adopt and implement new technologies will leave their organizations at a competitive disadvantage.”

Confronting Risks to Organizational Growth
When asked what the greatest risk was facing their organizations’ growth, U.S CEOs most frequently cited operational risks (63 percent), while global CEOs most frequently cited a return to territorialism (i.e. U.S renegotiating NAFTA, U.K. leaving EU) (55 percent). Cyber security concerns ranked highly for both U.S. and global CEOs at 47 percent and 37 percent respectively.

“Beyond the challenges of keeping pace with the various ‘clockspeeds’ of innovation, uncertainty abounds - whether that be regulatory, political or economic in nature,” said Brian Heckler, KPMG’s National Sector Leader for Industrial Manufacturing. “To succeed in this i4.0 manufacturing environment, CEOs must remain agile and determined in a landscape where the rules governing the industry are evolving.”

Other findings:

  • Thirty-four percent of U.S. CEOs expect it will take between 3-5 years to see a significant return on their investment in artificial intelligence systems compared to 56 percent of global CEOs 
  • Fifty-nine percent of global CEOs expect it will take between 1-3 years to see a significant return on their investment in digital transformation compared to just 40 percent of U.S. CEOs 
  • When it comes to being the victim of a cyber-attack, 63 percent of U.S. CEOs feel it’s a case of ‘when’, not ‘if’ compared to just 45 percent of global CEOs


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About GMO Report

The 2018 Global Manufacturing Outlook report is based on data from 300 manufacturing industry CEOs. This data was part of the 2018 CEO Outlook, a survey of 1,300 CEOs in 11 countries, conducted in early 2018 by Forbes Insights on behalf of KPMG International. To support the data, KPMG International conducted a series of interviews with executives at manufacturers around the world. Their experience, combined with the views of KPMG professionals and sector leaders, provide valuable insights for today’s manufacturers. Additional supply chain research was sourced from “Supply Chain Predictions for 2018 from Gartner” published February 8, 2018 in the Supply Chain Digest.


Matt Weiss
Twitter: @MatthewMWeiss

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