Nearly three out of four leaders within the manufacturing industry have either expanded their product or service offerings in the past year, or plan to expand them in the coming year according to a recent Industry Edge®survey conducted by Travelers (NYSE: TRV). This survey of 200 professionals in the manufacturing industry including general managers, directors, owners and partners from metals, food, and plastics manufacturers, confirms recent data stating that 2012 was a record year for manufacturing revenues, and reinforces the view that expectations for 2013 are positive 1. “All of this growth presents tremendous opportunities – and a host of new hazards throughout the complex, interconnected global supply chain,” said Jim Mandes, Manufacturing Industry Manager, Travelers Commercial Accounts. “Hazards may include less skilled workers, fewer suppliers to choose from and an increased potential for business interruptions.” The results also revealed that finding and hiring qualified employees was a prominent issue for manufacturers. In the past year, 88 percent of surveyed decision makers in the manufacturing industry either hired new employees or made plans to hire in the next year. To help employers identify employees who may exhibit desirable traits for a particular job, Travelers provides an online pre-employment screening tool called JCP ®, or Job Candidate Profile™. The assessment tool, used in conjunction with other due diligence processes, assists employers in hiring individuals who tend to exhibit reliable and safety-conscious behavior. The survey also reveals that 71 percent of companies are conducting sales outside of the United States and that 67 percent receive a quarter or more of their supplies from a single supplier. “If a manufacturer is relying on a small number of suppliers, and those suppliers are faced with a temporary situation where they are unable to provide the materials – the manufacturer can suffer a significant decline in revenues,” Mandes added.