As 2017 nears, what’s next for manufacturing?

System integrators offers their views on the coming year.

By CFE Media December 16, 2016

The 2016 System Integrator Giants (tallied by system integration revenue by Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, CFE Media) were asked questions about industry trends, including outlook for manufacturing. See responses from some of the integrators, along with their rankings in the tally, below. 

Q: As we face 2017, what’s your overall outlook for manufacturing?

Bill Pollock

President and CEO

Optimation Technology Inc.

Rush, N.Y.

#28 on the 2016 System Integrator Giants List

Manufacturing is strong. It is possible with the world economy that manufacturing in the U.S. will grow faster than other sectors of the U.S. economy. Right now, the system integration business continues to grow in importance to manufacturers looking to upgrade their plant operation. Assess the state of the system integration industry as a whole.

Mark Hoffman


Automation & Control Concepts

St. Louis, MO

#44 on the 2016 System Integrator Giants List


Michael Kershaw


Crossmuller Technology Pty Ltd.

Sydney, Australia

#87 on the 2016 System Integrator Giants List

We are looking at increased growth, driven by investment in helping our customers identify ROI [return on investment] projects in the MES [manufacturing execution system] space.

Mukund Muley

Managing Director

Cotmac Electronics Pvt Ltd

Pune, India

#12 on the 2016 System Integrators Giants List The overall scenario in [the] manufacturing sector is still confusing. We see growth in some areas like food and beverage and pharmaceuticals, while other sectors are continuing to show the sluggish growth. I think world over the capacity utilization is an issue for most of the companies. The real investment in manufacturing sector will come only after the capacity utilization improves. This is expected to happen within one year.

Michael Lindley

Vice President

Concept Systems Inc.

Albany, Ore.

#20 on the 2016 System Integrators Giants List

Excellent! Companies are investing in American manufacturing, robotic use is on the rise, and manufacturing data is soon to be at our fingertips. It is a very exciting [time] to be a system integrator in the manufacturing sector.

Zoran Šoškić

Engineering Manager


Beograd, Serbia

#43 on the 2016 System Integrator Giants List

In our region, the outlook is rather grim. Serbia, where most of our projects are being done, is still suffering the consequences of the recession. But in other countries, manufacturing seems to grow slowly but steadily.

Todd Williams

Vice President


Walled Lake, Mich.

#2 on the 2016 System Integrators Giants List

Based on available industry data, it appears that the manufacturing market will be flat over the next year, but forward-looking manufacturers will likely continue increasing their technology platforms. These investments could give them a production and cost savings advantage over competitors. And if production levels increase, this additional capacity and increased efficiencies will be used to drive larger profit margins.

Rafael Pezzella

IASTECH Automação de Sistemas Ltda

Sales Manager

Sao Paulo, Brazil

#65 on the 2016 System Integrator Giants List

Manufacturing will continue investing money to make their shop floor and overall operations better, safer, and faster.

Matthew Burton, PE

Corporate Director of Automation Technology

Hargrove Controls + Automation

Mobile, Ala.

#46 on the 2016 Systems Integrator Giants List

2016 was slower than expected, and many of the projects scheduled for this year were delayed from 2015. Again, we are seeing large projects pushed into 2017, and without any significant trends in the world or American economy to increase manufacturing, 2017 is expected to be flat as well.

David Ziskind

Automation and System Integration

The Dennis Group LLC

Duluth, Ga.

#62 on the 2016 System Integrator Giants List

The forecast for manufacturing in the United States differs sector to sector with some export markets being hurt by a strong dollar, but the overall outlook for 2017 is strong. In growing sectors, manufacturers are adding capacity. Across the board, there is a continued focus on efficiency gains and most companies are authorizing capital spending for these types of projects.

Nigel James

Director of Business Development & Chief Strategic Officer

Burrow Global LLC

Houston, TX.

#14 on the 2016 System Integrator Giants List

Upstream is still brutal. We’re waiting until the end of 2017 and then we [will be] ready for growth. Downstream is strong but with more competition. The midstream also is very strong, but margins are tight.

Brent McPhail


Brave Control Solutions

Windsor, Ontario

#71 on the 2016 System Integrator Giants List

2017 is going to continue to be a growth year for manufacturing, but that growth will be slower than previous years.

Author Bio: Since its founding in 2010, CFE Media and Technology has provided engineers in manufacturing, commercial and industrial buildings, and manufacturing control systems with the knowledge they need to improve their operational efficiency. CFE delivers the right information at the right time around the world through a variety of platforms.