The 2023 version of our annual State of Manufacturing (SOM) survey promises the same insightful data that manufacturers and those who support them have come to crave each year.

At the same time, in this 15th year of conducting the survey, we’re making some changes to the way we present the findings to make the results even more useful to manufacturers. You’ll also see a surge in the number of post-secondary institutions sponsoring this year’s survey — an indication of a healthy and growing relationship with community and technical colleges across the state.

Our pollster is conducting the survey as this issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine is going to print, and soon we’ll have another trove of data revealing manufacturer sentiment surrounding the economy, inflation, supply chains, the labor market, and any sleeper issues on the minds of executives who participate in the poll.

This year’s survey will again be conducted by Rob Autry, founder of Meeting Street Insights and one of the top pollsters in America. Rob and his team will contact 400-500 small- and medium-sized manufacturing executives around the state, with an over-sample in Greater Minnesota in each of the Initiative Foundation regions to provide specific data for those areas.

As always, we will supplement the survey findings with focus groups — a key component of the SOM. While the survey shows what is happening in manufacturing, the focus groups offer insight on why.

About the only thing that can match the excitement of that first look at the SOM data is gathering at the annual survey release event to share it with hundreds of Minnesota manufacturers and their supporters.

And that’s where you’ll see some changes. In previous years, we asked Rob to go through the findings question by question. This year, we’ll break the results into the top themes that emerge from the survey and clients and our consultants will offer insights on how they are addressing challenges surrounding those concerns. Rob will still be on hand at the event to share and comment on the data. We’re confident that this panel format will enhance the value of the information gathered in the survey.

Readers and event participants will also see some notable additions to our sponsor list. Since the first survey in 2008, which had just a couple of sponsors, we’ve added steadily to our list of financial supporters, with law firms, banks, accounting firms, investment companies, marketing agencies and human resource consultants backing the project over the years.

This year we have seven of Minnesota’s M State technical and community colleges joining us as sponsors. These sponsorships indicate more than financial support. They are a tangible demonstration of the growing relationship between manufacturing and community and technical colleges around the state, which work tirelessly to assess and meet the workforce needs of the future. It’s great to have them on board.

Return to the Fall 2023 issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine.