Industry Pulse Survey

AMBA has launched periodic Pulse Surveys to give business leaders insight into the state of the mold building industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and what the industry may look like as businesses look further into 2020.

The short, one-minute survey takes the pulse of business operations by asking eight questions over a two-day period. As AMBA continues to collect data, AMBA will also begin to trend past data and forecast industry shifts based on the inputs from leaders in the mold building industry.

AMBA will continue to release periodic versions of this survey. To participate in the future, participants complete the questions via a personalized email link. If you did not participate in this first survey and would like to in the future, please request to be added to the respondent list by clicking here.

Pulse Survey Data

  • Week 1: Wed. Apr. 24 - Fri. Apr. 26
  • Week 2: Wed. May 6 - Fri. May 8
  • Week 3: Wed. May 20 - May 22

This data represents over 318 responses from mold builders over the course of three separate data collection periods (defined above). These companies primarily serve over 15 industry markets. The most common market served reported by respondents was the automotive market (36 percent), followed by the medical market (19 percent). Aerospace and consumer goods were tied for the third most commonly served market (seven percent).

At what level is your plant currently operating?

When compared to week one, plant operation levels have not changed significantly. Just over 61 percent of respondents continue to report that they are in full operations, followed closely by another 26 percent (same as Week 2) who indicate that their operations are between 50 and 75 percent. Approximately 14 percent of respondents continue to report operating below 50 percent levels, only one percent of which remain completely shut down. 

Of those that named automotive as their primary market: 

  • 42 percent report running at full operations (a slight uptick from Weeks 1-2), followed by 37 percent at 50-75 percent operations
  • In week three, six percent (compared to nine percent in Week 1) report that they are at less than 25 percent of operations; only one percent are completely shut down
  • These numbers are a slight improvement from Week 1, but are very similar to Week 2

Of those that named medical as their primary market: 

  • 91 percent report running at full operations (up 5 percent from Week 2), followed by 8 percent at 50-75 percent operations
  • Only two percent are running at 25-50 percent of operations; none are under 25 percent or completely shut down
  • These numbers are a slight improvement from Week 1 but similar to Week 2

What percent of your customers are shut down?

Many mold builders must understand the landscape of their business, which includes recognizing the current status of operations of their customers. Due to the number of mold manufacturers specializing in the medical industry, it's unsurprising that 23 percent (a slight increase over Weeks 1 and 2) report that none of their customers are shut down, followed by another 29 percent who indicate that 50 percent or less of their customers are shut down (a small percentage drop from Weeks 1 and 2).

Despite the positive numbers above, there are some mold manufacturers whose customers are suffering in the current climate. Of the 16 percent reporting in Week 2 that over 50 percent of their customers are shut down, seven percent continue to indicate that 80-100 percent of their customers are shut down. 

At what level are you currently staffed?

When compared to Weeks 1 and 2 data, staffing considerations for mold builders experienced a slight uptick. Three-quarters of this survey's respondents report that they are 90-100 percent staffed, followed by 13 percent who are about 75 percent staffed. When looking at the other end of the data, the data is the same - less than one percent indicate they are fully shut down, while just under seven percent report that they are less than 50 percent staffed. 

Of those that named automotive as their primary market: 

  • Sixty-one percent report running at full operations (four percent increase from Week 2), followed by 17 percent who are at 50-75 percent operations (five percent increase over Week 2)
  • In Week 1, over 25 percent of those specializing in the automotive market reported that they were over 50 percent staffed or less; in Week 3, that number dropped significantly to 12 percent, with only one percent in full shutdown (the same as Weeks 1 and 2)

Of those that named medical as their primary market: 

  • In a complete reversal for those in the automotive market, 91 percent of companies that specialize in the medical market report that they are 90-100 percent staffed (an uptick of three percent from Week 2)
  • Only 9 percent are about 75 percent staffed; none continue to be below 75 percent staffed 

Have you received Payroll Protection Funds?

Of the 90 respondents represented in Week 2, 60 percent have now applied for and received Payroll Protection Funds, followed by nine percent who have applied, are approved and are waiting for funds to arrive. 

When broken down by the primary markets served named by respondents - automotive, medical, aerospace and consumer goods - the percentage of companies that applied for funds and were approved is as follows: 

  • Aerospace: 29 percent received funds (up 12 percent from Week 2); 24 percent are approved and waiting for funds 
  • Automotive: 74 percent received funds (up four percent from Week 2); 18 percent are approved and waiting for funds 
  • Consumer goods: 71 percent received funds (up 12 percent from Week 2); 18 percent are approved and waiting for funds
  • Medical: 44 percent received funds (up eight percent from Week 2); eight percent are approved and waiting for funds

Are you experiencing supply chain issues that impact your ability to produce?

The majority of respondents - 59 percent - continue to report experiencing minimal issues and/or only minor disruptions in their supply chain. Nearly a third report no issues at all with their supply chain; only one percent are experiencing major issues and/or large and serious disruptions. Week-to-week, these percentages have remained very similar.

In terms of future staff planning (next 6-12 months), we are...

Around 55 percent of Week 3 respondents are simply looking to maintain staff levels (a four percent drop over the previous collection period); however, the percentage of those looking to add staff has risen four percent over the last collection period to 33 percent. Approximately 11 percent report some permanent or semi-permanent staff reductions while only one percent anticipate large permanent or semi-permanent staff reductions.

Of the primary industry markets served, 56 percent of companies serving the aerospace market and 55 percent of companies serving the medical market are looking to add staff (very similar to Weeks 1 and 2), while 66 percent of companies that primarily serve the automotive market and 46 percent of those serving the consumer goods market report that they are simply looking to maintain staff levels. 

How are you forecasting revenue through 2020?

While overall, around 58 percent of respondents forecast approximately 75 percent of their 2020 forecast, these percentages vary sharply when broken down by primary markets served.

When broken down by the primary markets served named by respondents - automotive, medical, aerospace and consumer goods - reported anticipated forecast percentages included: 

  • Aerospace: 35 percent anticipate 95 percent or above (a slight drop from Week 1), followed by 65 percent who anticipate 75 percent of their 2020 forecast; these numbers have decreased slightly in optimism since the beginning of this data collection, but no respondent in any period has reported anticipating below 75 percent of their 2020 forecast
  • Automotive: Sixteen percent anticipate 95 percent or above in Week 2 (an uptick of two percent), followed by 75 percent who anticipate 75 percent of their 2020 forecast. Approximately eight percent report anticipating 50 percent of their 2020 forecast; only one percent report anticipating below 50 percent
  • Consumer goods: Optimism decreased in Week 3's collection period. Eighteen percent anticipate 95 percent or above of their 2020 forecast (a five percent drop from Week 2 and a 16 percent drop from Week 1), followed by 61 percent who anticipate 75 percent (a sixteen percent drop from Week 1); while none reported anticipating below 75 percent of their 2020 forecast in Week 1, that percentage remains at 18 percent in Weeks 2 and 3
  • Medical: Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicate anticipating 95 percent or above of the 2020 forecast. Despite the bright outlook for those primarily serving the medical market, 28 percent still anticipate only 75 percent of their 2020 forecast, followed by five percent who now anticipate only 50 percent of their 2020 forecast

(Asked only in Weeks 2 and 3) At this time, with the information available to you and your team, when are you anticipating production levels to return to "normal"?

When asked at what point production levels would return to "normal", respondents' answered varied widely. Twenty-eight percent report that production levels have not been impacted, while another quarter continue to anticipate that levels will not return to "normal" this year.

Of the individual months identified, the highest percentage of the remaining respondents continued to indicate that June would be the most likely month for production levels to return to what they considered normal; approximately 38 percent of respondents have identified summertime as a potential time period to focus on.

  • Aerospace: One-quarter (down from one-third) of respondents report that production levels have not been impacted, while another quarter still anticipate they will not return to normal this year
  • Automotive: Eight percent report this week that production levels have not been impacted (down from 11 percent); 27 percent anticipate they will not return to normal this year; thirty percent hope for normal conditions to resume by May or June
  • Consumer Goods: Twenty-eight percent report that production levels have not been impacted (a 14 percent increase over last week), while 39 percent believe production levels will not return to normal in 2020; 23 percent are looking to June for normal conditions to resume (a drop of seven percent)
  • Medical: Seventy-five percent (up eight percent) report that production levels have not been impacted; 8 percent anticipate they will not return to normal this year (three percent fewer than Week 2 data)