Holland, MI - Michael A. Dunlap & Associates, LLC unveils the results of the 35th edition of its quarterly MADA / OFI Trends Survey, a unique tool that designed to measure the current business activity of the office furniture industry and its suppliers. This survey was completed during the month of January 2013.
The survey focuses upon ten key business activities, with respondents rating each area on a scale of TEN (the highest) to ONE (the lowest). The business activities are Gross Shipments, Order Backlog / Incoming Orders, Employment Levels, Manufacturing Hours (Overtime vs. Reduced Hours), Capital Investment, Tooling Expenditures, New Product Development Activity, Raw Material Costs, Employee Costs, and the respondents’ Personal Outlook on the industry.
The unique element of this survey is the establishment of an Industry Index Number to quantify where the industry is currently performing. For example, an index of 100 means that things “couldn’t be better”, an index of ONE is “absolutely the worst” it can be, and an index of 50 means it is neutral; no change “up” or “down”.
The January 2013 Overall Survey Index is (54.30), which is down slightly from October 2012, which was (54.68). The highest recorded Index was 59.72 in July 2005; the lowest was 41.45 in April 2009. The average overall index is 54.32 since the survey started in August 2004.
“The industry remains on a very steady, albeit flat, trend line. Given current economic conditions, I think this is good news. The Overall Index continues to remain well above “50” and is definitely in line with the 35 Survey average. It indicates that the industry is on solid ground and on a positive track.” Mike Dunlap commented.
The January 2013 survey highlights are:
• Gross Shipments measured 59.00, significantly higher than the 35 Survey Average of 57.80 and Order Backlog recorded 52.65, which is significantly lower than the 35 Survey Average of 57.81.
• The Employment Index rose to 51.60 nearly even with the 35 Survey Average of 51.69. The Hours Worked Index declined to 53.48 and is below the 35 Survey Average of 55.53.
• The Capital Expenditures rose to 57.45 and Tooling Expenditures also rose to 53.33. These compare to their 35 Survey Averages of 55.34 and 55.55.
• New Product Development rose to 62.45 but is just below the 35 Survey Average of 63.34.
• Raw Material Costs rose slightly to 46.17, but is much better than the 35 Survey Average is 43.74. Employee Costs dipped to 47.00. The 35 Survey Average is 46.97.
• The Personal Outlook Index jumped from 54.59 to 55.20 and is well above the 35 Survey averages of 54.52.
Dunlap stated, further “The declines in Gross Sales and Order Backlog index values are somewhat surprising, as both had improved during the previous quarter I think that “Sandy” had more impact on this industry in the 4th quarter than we originally thought. Employment Levels and Hours Worked index values also fell for the same reason. Both manufacturers and suppliers appear to be equally affected..
“The modest improvements in Capital Expenditures, Tooling Expenditures and New Product Development are mixed when compared to their 35 survey averages, which is disconcerting. The decline in New Product Development – although solidly in the 60’s - is puzzling.
“The changes in Raw Material Cost and Employee Cost index values are always a concern and rarely show much improvement. They remain above the 35 survey averages, which is good news!
“I am very happy to see the increase of the index in Personal Outlook.”
The most frequently cited perceived threats to the industry’s success are healthcare costs, transport costs, energy costs, exchange rates, and the costs of materials (steel and wood), the costs of materials and healthcare are the most commonly cited concerns from respondents since this survey process was started in August 2004.
Dunlap again thanked the respondents with this comment. “Over 56% of the responses came from executives who are the Chairman, CEO, COO or President of their organizations. I am always extremely grateful for their participation and support. Their suggestions and recommendations are crucial to the performance and improvement to this unique survey.”
Dunlap continued, “This is the 35th MADA / OFI Trends Survey. We started conducting it in August 2004. The continued flatness in the Overall Index confirms that the industry remains on slow, but solid ground. Although 5 out of 10 Index values have improved and 5 out of 10 declined, eight of them remain above the ‘50’ level. I maintain the opinion that the industry will continue on its slow growth period into early 2013, then see a modest acceleration during mid to late 2013.”
The January 2013 MADA / OFI Trends survey was sent to more than 750 individuals involved with office furniture manufacturing and suppliers from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America and from companies ranging from more than $1 Billion in sales to less than $10 Million in sales. The survey repeats in April 2013.
Michael A. Dunlap & Associates, LLC, is a consulting firm that focuses upon issues involving the working, learning, healing, and hospitality environments and furniture industries. These include strategic business and market planning, furniture industry trends, Market Entry, Global Partnerships, & Collaboration, Author, Presenter, & Speaker, Mergers, Acquisitions, & License Agreements, Expert Witness Services in Products Liability, and Independent Rep Sales Team.
For further information, please contact:
Mike Dunlap at
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