Companies in this industry manufacture a wide variety of goods; major product groups include food and beverages, chemicals, 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 percent of US manufacturing revenues; chemicals, for 14 percent, transportation equipment (automobiles, planes, and railroad equipment), 14 percent; and computers and electronics 6 percent. Other major segments include machinery and products made of metal, plastic, and paper.