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McKinsey Machinery Benchmark

Machinery companies are in a difficult situation. Most have successfully increased output and productivity in recent years, but their labor costs have escalated in consequence. The industry also faces other challenges, including pricing issues, high material costs, and greater product complexity, that are decreasing earnings before interest in taxes (EBIT). Moreover, McKinsey research suggests that these players are less resilient than their peers in other industries when responding to a crisis. With COVID-19 presenting the greatest economic challenges in decades, machinery companies that lack resilience have difficulties moving toward the next normal. Despite the current turmoil and financial pressures, companies can still engineer a turnaround—and the McKinsey Machinery Benchmark (MMB) can play an important role in this effort.

Our benchmark

The MMB contains high quality data from over 100 major European machinery companies, covering the years 2013 through 2020. It includes all major income-statement and balance-sheet items, as well as cash-flow elements, and data points, such as head counts and share prices. Each year, McKinsey updates the MMB with the most recent information.

With the MMB, machinery companies can analyze their financial data using dozens of ready-to-use templates. They can then rapidly compare themselves to the industry average. a specific peer group, and best-practice players on a range of performance and resilience KPIs. Upon request, we can create more elaborate, tailored analyses to assess KPIs, and help companies to draw the right conclusions and to work concretely on improvements.

Our Machinery Benchmark delivers quantitative metrics with the option to add modular deep dives for a more granular understanding of your performance relative to peers.

Examples of our work


Through MMB analyses, companies across machinery sectors have conducted rapid diagnostics to identify hidden sources of strength and weakness. For instance, some still have most production and R&D facilities in high-cost countries but their revenues increasingly come from low-cost locations, where margins are thinner. Others have found that their technological lead over competitors has decreased far more than anticipated. Several companies have already used MMB insights to improve their operational and financial KPIs:

  • One company benchmarked the value-add of its technology against competitors and reconfigured its global footprint based.
  • Another company set greater aspirations for productivity improvements—both direct and indirect—after the MMB indicated it lagged behind its peers in these areas.
  • A third machinery company used the MMB to pressure test financial KPIs, such as equity and cash ratios, and the insights were extremely valuable when determining if it was resilient enough to weather the COVID-19 crisis.

featured Insight


Margin pressure builds in the German machinery industry

– Despite rising revenues, profits are plummeting. It’s time to assess the dangers of unprofitable growth.

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