Thursday, June 3, 2010

More on the machine vision business environment

Vision(s) of the Future,” on the Inspect-online blog (posted May 31st, 2010) discusses the direction of the machine vision business over the next ten years. There are some interesting thoughts, most of which I agree with, but the part that really makes me smile is where they discuss growth forecasts for 2010.

The blog notes wryly that while the EMVA anticipates double digit growth this year, the AIA is predicting 3%. As I’ve observed before, the data would suggest double-digit growth, meaning that the AIA are being extremely cautious.

Does this matter?

Well yes, I think it does. If manufacturers and distributors buy-in to the AIA numbers they are going to find themselves out of inventory. That’s going to create additional business for better stocked companies dealing in products for which customers have the ability to switch to vendor. However, when customers are locked in to a single supply it’s just going to mean extended delivery quotes – something we’re seeing already.

The danger then is that a cautious forecast will become a self-fulfilling prophecy (as well as an opportunity to ramp up prices.) Hopefully the AIA will look again at its forecast. If not, I think we could talk ourselves out of recovery.

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