Companies in this industry manufacture a wide variety of goods; major product groups include food and beverages, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, and computers and electronics. Major companies include Boeing, Caterpillar, DuPont, Ford, GE, GM, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, and Tyson Foods (all based in the US); Nestlé (Switzerland), Sanofi (France), Siemens (Germany), and Toyota Motor (Japan).
Demand ultimately depends on consumer spending. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient production and distribution. Large companies often have large economies of scale in purchasing, production, and marketing. Small companies can compete effectively by producing specialized products. The US manufacturing sector is fragmented: the largest 50 companies account for less than half of overall sales.
Food, beverages, and tobacco products account for about 15% of US manufacturing revenues; chemicals, for 14%; transportation equipment (automobiles, planes, and railroad equipment), 14%; machinery, 7%; computers and electronics, 6%; and fabricated metal products, 6%. Other major segments include primary metals, plastic and rubber products, and paper.