To that end, Arthur D. Little has conducted a global survey among senior executives from companies of many different sizes and across all industries (please see insert for more about how the survey was conducted). This report provides a summary of the findings. In short, our conclusions are:
- A large majority of executives (71 percent) expect business will return to pre-crisis levels by the end of 2011, at the latest. This is a more prudent outlook compared to last year, when 84 percent of executives predicted such a result.
- The notion of “new normal” has few adherents. Only a minority of executives (25 percent) estimates that future growth will be structurally lower than it was before the outbreak of the crisis.
- In-crisis measures related to a company’s core operations are expected to have the most enduring benefits: lower working capital, higher productivity through lay-offs, re-engineered processes, higher capacity utilization through cutbacks, and a rationalized manufacturing and logistics footprint.
- By far the most important factor holding back growth is hesitant consumer demand. Another major concern is the negative impact of government budget deficits on demand generated through public investments.
- Executives clearly see innovation as the most important tool for outperforming competitors. Benefiting from a structurally stronger footing, the battlefront is once again where it should be — concentrating on customers.