Each week, company executives outline challenges, opportunities, and needs in interviews with CompanyWeek writers. Here’s a summary of data from profiles published the final quarter of 2018.

In Q4 2018, we published 48 in-depth profiles:

Primary Industry: Oct.-Dec. 2018

Bioscience and Medical 4
Brewing and Distilling 7
Built Environment 3
Cannabis 1
Consumer and Lifestyle 11
Contract Manufacturing 2
Electronics and Aerospace 2
Energy and Environment 1
Food and Beverage 6
Industrial and Equipment 5
Supply Chain 6

Total 48

The top challenge for manufacturing companies continues to be managing growth. However, workforce has jumped back up to the #2 spot (as it was in the first half of the year). In Q3, competition had secured the #2 ranking.

Challenges: Oct.-Dec. 2018

Managing Growth 40%

Workforce 25%

Government Regs 17%

Market Awareness 13%

Competition 10%

Location 10%

Workforce/Labor/New Employees, real estate/space and finance/funding continue to be the top three needs for companies profiled (same order as Q3). Efficiency had made an appearance in the top five in the first half of 2018, and new suppliers/service partners ranked in the top five in Q3, neither of which appeared in the Q4 top five.

Business Needs
Workforce/Labor/New Employees 40%
Real Estate/Space 23%
Finance/Funding 19%
Marketing 17%
Equipment 10%
New Customers 10%

In two CEO roundtables I hosted late in the year, executives also expressed concerns about promises made by incoming Governors Polis and Newsom during the campaign. A fear is that business may be asked to carry an additional regulatory or financial burden to fund new social programs.

And tariffs continue to be a topic of conversation. Manufacturers I asked last year seemed to be evenly split on the issue. We’ll be convening more CEO roundtables to discuss this and other issues throughout the year. More on the topic later.

Bart Taylor is publisher of CompanyWeek. Email him at btaylor@companyweek.com.

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